Author: Runaway materialism stunts our spiritual growth

Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann will speak against "military consumerism" at Georgetown College on Thursday.
Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann will speak against "military consumerism" at Georgetown College on Thursday.

It's time for people to put down the latest electronic gadget and tend to their spirit, Walter Brueggemann says.

The world, Brueggemann says, has become "all about buying and getting and eating and having our consumerism." The author and Old Testament scholar, who will be speaking at Georgetown College on Thursday, said it's time for people to imagine a future that isn't based on what he calls "military consumerism."

Brueggemann is taking part in a two-day conference, "Reimagining Faith for America and the World." He will be offering a free sermon open to the community at 7 p.m. Thursday at the John L. Hill Chapel

Brueggemann said that America's military ambitions throughout the world have destabilized society, yet Americans continue to live in an insulated bubble where those problems aren't apparent or are ignored.

"The military," he said, "helps us control markets and resources."

And, he said, the idea that people need more things is constantly reinforced in the media, especially social media.

While the United States knows unparalleled prosperity, much of the rest of the world suffers, he said, and people are content with that.

"We don't want the pot stirred," he said.

But that kind of isolation isn't what God wants for us, he said.

"It's all kind of make-believe," he said.

People need to stay connected to the greater world and stay educated about what is happening outside of the comfort of their lives, he said. Churches do that through mission work, he said, but more needs to be done.

Without emotional connection, he said, "our notion of what it is to be human just withers away."

He said it is the job of the church and the faithful to raise the questions about the ever-growing materialism in the world. It is a way that no longer works, he said. Such upheavals are recorded over and over again in the Bible.

But for this generation, he said, it is time to "unplug and begin to re-imagine their lives."

If you go

Walter Brueggemann

What: Talk, The Prophetic Possibility of Re-Imagining, by the Old Testament scholar and author.

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 9.

Where: John L. Hill Chapel, East Jackson Street, Georgetown College.

Admission: Free.

Conference: $75 full conference, $40 for one day general admission; $40 full conference, $25 one day for students. Visit to register.