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Tag Archives: consumerism

it has dawned on me that’s this pic tragi-comically seems to succinctly capture the full essence of the individual voter…

…let’s face it (you can laugh or cry about it, it’s your call/vote), … individually we’re no more than simply a fancy dressed clown lookalike, oblivious to how stupid we actually look from the outside, yet still faithful to the cause, …so beaten into submission by media bombardment, herded into a conformist, myopic concentration on only that which lies directly in front of our own eyes…

…but boy, oh boy, do we get stirred and passionate about it even though we know not where we are, who we are, nor what on earth we are doing

… and to add insult to injury we are stalked and published on the internet without our  knowledge nor consent, to be ridiculed by all and sundry…
(P.S. see you at the Mall, …we can just hang, you know… walk around aimlessly like good consumers and watch others also just hanging, and then maybe even take a few selfies as we go cast our votes at the polling station conveniently situated directly across from the Mall fast food hall)


The account recorded was of a wealthy man approaching Jesus with a personal yet public question.

“What must I do to be righteous” he said.

“What does it say and how do you understand it?” was Jesus’ response.

The wealthy man had amassed a good understanding of the requirements of the religious life and had even excelled in his adherence and application of it all.

Jesus never criticized him but continued the discussion by suggesting that as commendable as this was there was one main thing that he lacked … that he take all his worldly possessions and wealth, sell it all, and give the money away to the poor and then after having done this to return to follow the practical ways of the Christ.

The man was very wealthy and turned away at this suggestion and never followed Jesus – however, I’m fairly sure that he continued in his religious fervour as clearly it had acquired him great wealth and social favour.

We live in a modern world that is profoundly dominated by a western culture of superficial sensationalism and even rampant materialistic consumerism.

I wonder what my response to Jesus would be if he suggested the one main thing I personally lacked in my spiritual walk? I wonder how much of what I presently allow and conveniently justify in my life would severely challenge the very nature of the relationship we have and the way forward from that point onwards?

It wasn’t that long ago when we were all up in arms about the POIB (Protection of Information Bill) and the need to protect the freedom of the press and their responsible democratic role in informing the public about…

…me too, I also was mobilised. … the ANC governments diabolical attempts to cover up their rampant corruption and sinister underhand goings on are despicable to say the least …. (still ongoing … perhaps quietly gathering momentum under cover of the frenzied press maelstrom of Malema’s expulsion from the ANC – who knows?)

BUT, is this the press we were/are trying to protect..? … the press liberated, mobilized… and telling us … what? …

…what we want to hear? … definitely… or maybe what we want to hear voraciously piggy-backed on the revenues such repugnant and seductively sensationalized “press” will generate for their own greedy little coffers…

… or maybe it’s the press – that gaggle of educated, sophisticated intelligentsia hooked and dangling with hungry mouths agape as they are led along and played ruthlessly by a cunning master to provide the exact sensationalistic, diverting cover for other more sinister covert operations…?

so, is it about truth and objective journalism in the quest to inform and protect our floundering fledgling democratic society … or is it all about the money? … all about the “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me)?

… and now, here I am … mobilized and once more up in arms about a leg…

… and the way it’s all seemingly such incredibly “Big Press” in a sick society perhaps gone to hell and back way before the end has even come…

We go to a very reputable restaurant and order the master or head chef’s speciality.  We so enjoy the meal that we simply can not stop celebrating the culinary experience we had just had, so when the waiter comes to clear the dishes we express our delight … but just telling the waiter is clearly not adequate praise for the meal.  So we ask for the manager or even the chef himself to be summonsed that we might tell them directly.

I wonder what would happen if when the manager and/or the head chef arrived at our table we all stood to our feet and shouted,

“Bravo!” “Well done!!” “Excellent!” “Encore!”

… and then one of us started a slow hand clap whilst the whole table began to bang their hands on the table top shouting out louder and louder,

…“more!” “more!” “moRE!” “mORE!” “MORE!” “MORE!”… in a deafening crescendo and did not stop until the chef had scuttled back to the kitchen to quickly improvise a delectable extra helping for the whole table?

Perhaps the most appropriate way to celebrate the decades of culinary skill and expertise as well as the intricate planning and preparation for the evenings delightful entertainment might be to tip the artiste generously – at least in keeping with our great pleasure, to appropriately express our appreciation and indeed honour for the excellence of the occasion.  Thereafter perhaps we could even tell as many as we see fit of our wonderful experience and encourage them to also go and experience it for themselves first hand.  Perhaps we could even go repeatedly ourselves to relive the amazing cultural experience…

The meal cost the chef a specified amount, in terms of the practical costs of the foodstuffs and all other supplies needed but also in terms of years training and personal preparation and skill.

I wonder what the encore would cost him?

I am a professional musician and…

Imagine watching a National Geographic type program where multitudes of Wildebeest are trekking across the savannah in their great annual migration. The high drama unfolds as predators stalk and attack the seemingly defenseless prey at key points along their perilous journey. We sit and watch with mouths agape as the life and death struggle unfolds before our eyes.

However, can we imagine that on this occasion something unexpected and strange occurs. Right in front of our eyes amidst the terrible life and death struggle the Wildebeest suddenly start turning on each other at the same time as the fierce predators are picking them off one by one? As the predators are ripping into the herd the Wildebeest masses start biting each other and tearing strips of flesh from each others bodies as they run frantically attempting to avoid being devoured by the predators themselves? Living hide is ripped off the living of their own kind. Blood sprays out like cheap Hollywood special effects as one Wildebeest with huge gaping jaws snarls and grips another Wildebeests flesh and with once herbivorous grinding molars now flays and devours the flesh of their own kind.

Maybe this might seem like a Stephen King novel or a little Freddy Kruger happening to you? However, to me this looks almost exactly like a regular day on my Facebook wall.

Strangely we, the multitudes, whilst suffering under the unrelenting pounding force of a gluttonous industrial predatory monster that herds us and sets us up for ambush and which is clearly hell-bent on extracting every micro particle of life, specifically in the shape and form of revenue are in the same movie.  Relentlessly they bombard us with more and more maliciously manipulated and strategically packaged, useless consumer items that never really better our lives or ever make us well but instead makes us sick and even kill us.  And now, we the hapless prey are confronted by our own fellow victims who tear at us with equal ferocity.  The prey has turned predator.

I am a musician and in my little circle of influence on the ‘social’ network I see ‘friends’ and colleagues, fellow sufferers and even the walking wounded turning on each other like ravenous predators.  Most of the time I’m quite overwhelmed by so many advertising their gigs, new CD’s, projects, products.

“Come support me”, “buy my CD”, “come to my show…”

Not only the musicians mind you.  All manner of product movers stalk (perhaps unwittingly) like predators trying to sell themselves, their products, anything… to anyone they can, anyone whose attention they can grab for a fleeting second…

They say from social research findings that the vast majority of children who have been sexually molested or physically or emotionally abused in some way end up being sexual molesters or abusive parents or adults themselves when they grow up.

Happy Xmas?


Today is the day of reconciliation in my country

It’s a joke

Also on this same day the people cry, “Merry Xmas”

It’s a joke


We preach a materialist gospel

To the glory of ourselves

shameless neocolonialism


We live in captivity and celebrate liberty

Like the blind admiring the sunrise


Who are the real fools?

Those who say there is no God

Or those who say they worship a God

who is no God at all?


By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy. …….

psalm 137:1-6

In South Africa a secrecy bill (the “Protection of Information Bill”) has been shoved through in what clearly appears to be a sneaky, underhand and sinister fashion.  If it gets past any constitutional court appeals and hearings it stands to give the government unimaginable power to control who says and does what … and exclusively at their (the ruling party’s) own discretion and for their own personal benefit and ultimately, protection (from exposure and prosecution for corruption and any other deviance or malpractice).

A thought from another planet perhaps: – the bill, what it stands for and the way it was forced through as well as the alleged reasons for this action is to my mind somewhat extremely unethical to say the least. The fact that it comes through the ANC is nothing less than shocking.

However, in terms of the direct implications of the bill on the “free press” what to my mind does perhaps need to be thought through is the extent to which the press really is “free” and objectively “journalistic.”
Let’s face it, sensationalism sells and revenues from advertising in publications that generate sensationalistic response is what makes the world go round for the press industry.
The press feel like their freedom to inform is being taken away, as well as their freedom to bring an ‘objective’, factual perspective (and before I am branded as a neo-Nazi, totalitarian despot sympathizer, I do believe that strong debate and passionate opposition is essential and very healthy for any community).

But for many decades now I personally battle to read the newspapers, or watch TV, TV news, or read current news editorials as they are to my mind so overwhelmingly manipulatively inflammatory and one sided in terms of the sensationalistic negative spin they seem to take (take the whole recent Rupert Murdoch debacle for example).
Could it be argued that the cries of the “free” press are the same as the cries of the record industry against piracy (who even mobilise the artistes themselves to campaign against piracy) when they themselves, to my mind at least, are the biggest pirates, raping and pillaging creativity, the arts, culture, artistes and the coffers of the artistes themselves for their own gain and dictating to the masses what, when, and who to listen to in order to extract exorbitant profits for themselves?

(and as a personal footnote jab, the Gospel Worship/”Contemporary Music” industry as well as the Christian/Gospel Book Publishing Industries do exactly the same thing – selling manipulatively marketed, sensually “popular” merchandise for exorbitant profits and in so doing dictating to a thoughtless and naive church what the “prophetic” voice and message and culture of God is…  – which in the present Christian scene is merely a very weak, attempted copy of what is perceived to be popular and trendy in the ‘secular’ marketplace. –  A bit extremely blasphemous to my mind … …  .. .   don’t you think?)

now I am aware that this is merely a local fellowships sincere attempt at spreading the gospel as best they know how and that clearly not much thought other than the urgent need to perform the task at hand was entered into

however,very often in our unguarded moments our real nature is clearly revealed and who we are leaks out for all but ourselves to see

could this be the tragicomic reality and state of where the present church has got itself to?

“refreshments and boerwors rolls on SALE” shares equal billing prominence to being reconciled with, and the worship of God

we are clearly admonished to not be conformed to the patterns of this world but instead to be transformed by the renewing of our minds

has it perhaps got to the stage where we could even be setting the pace and giving the systems of the world a lesson in priorities and product marketing?

I have begun to notice more and more how many people make quotes for their status updates on Facebook.  On Twitter it has reached a level of almost total quotation mania.  In my experience well over 90% of all tweets are links to some article on the web.

It’s almost like a new currency has sprung into existence.  We love trying to impress others by the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the company we keep …  Are we now trying to convince people we are well read and educated?  Are we trying to make a show for the watching world that we are well connected and at the cutting edge of technology, intelligence, art, culture, politics?

Have we lost our ability to think for ourselves?  Could this be the effects of social/cognitive/intellectual/moral consumerism setting in?  Fast food ethics and morality?  No mess, no fuss, just collect it off the shelf.  And it’s all colour coded and wrapped in plastic rap for our hygienic convenience.  God help us!

Yet still the increasing outcry is for individualism and personal significance.  We all desire independence and self determination but could this be a self inflicted form of ‘group think’?  Has the human race given up?

Group·think is the act or practice of reasoning or decision-making by a group, especially when characterized by uncritical acceptance or conformity to prevailing points of view.  It is the tendency within organizations or society to promote or establish the view of the predominant group.

Our beloved democracy is the same only it is far more decisive and demonstratively unforgiving towards those who think independently.  Democracy forces the opinion of the masses into modern doctrine and legislated culture.

Being a follower of Christ myself I have also noticed that Christians seem to spend a majority of time and much effort quoting often extensive passages of biblical text not only in their social networking status publications but also in their interpersonal communication.  Whether offering personal advice or counsel or even simply commenting on a news article even in informal social settings.  It also seems apparent to me that we seem to regard the accuracy of the literal quotation of any given text as weightier than any truth or sensibility that may be present in it in a given situation.  This too appears to me like a form of social and political currency.   Who might we be trying to impress?   Are we really trying to help and engage or market ourselves?  And who do we think we are fooling?

“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” – this is what Jesus said as a key part in his teaching on prayer.

So I ask myself, is this what we are doing happening in heaven?  Is this what heaven is going to be all about for ever and ever?  quoting scriptural texts at each other?  Will we reference everything we experience and participate with there?  When we cross over into the heavenly spiritual realm will we hear God quoting back biblical text to every question we have?  Is this the way God speaks?  Does God even speak human language?  Is what we are doing now the language and culture of heaven?   I mean, when one travels to France they speak French and especially in France, … English doesn’t really cut it  …

Will God’s communication to us be tagged with the topographical grid reference of each statement?  Is God at all interested in what we have to say or think?  Is this what we are created and even redeemed for?  To be a silent audience without opinion?  Is this more important that the people God created, redeemed?  Yet in modern Christian culture it seems to me that the content of the passage of scriptural text quoted battles to hold any water unless it is tagged with a “John 3:16” or a “Matthew 28:19-20”.  People are important, yes, but not nearly as important than the accuracy and fluency of the text quoted.  Is this the Gospel?   “Hand me my sledgehammer, .. I want to go tell someone how much God loves them.”

Does God want a mass of “believers” who chant the same thing over and over in unison?  “Oooo, say that again … that part about me being great and almighty and magnificent … ”  Is this a true reflection of the nature and character of God?

I was always under the impression that in Christ God was setting us free to be an extension of his presence and a free flow of his life in the present world and in the realm to come.  Will heaven be filled to the ceiling with scrolls and books (now “Kindle’s and iPads too perhaps)?  or will it be filled with liberated beings who have reached their full potential and optimum effectiveness not in word or deed, but in their full spiritual essence?  … in who they are and not in what they managed to make the fig leaves look like in the setting sun.

My God, maybe Roger Waters was correct all along?


Could an argument be made that the ‘legal’ corporate music industry companies are the biggest pirates and ‘bootleggers’ of the arts and culture?

Can it be said that they are ‘legally’ raping the artistes, their dignity, income, even their ‘prophetic’ voice (as artistes depart from the integrity and honesty of their own style/voice/art form to follow the dictates of what a superficial and essentially greedy and exploitative group dictate as being ‘marketable’ and artistically ‘acceptable’?)  … and in so doing siphoning exorbitant, unethical percentages of profit for ‘administrating’ the creativity and integrity of gifted people –  simply put: ‘legal’ exploitation.

Could the same argument be made of the so called “Christian” book, music and “worship” industry?   Are they not doing the self same thing? Exploiting the creative gift for a profit?  … reducing the creative prophetic to a commercialized popularity, catering towards mediocrity and popular culture rather than on giving wings to creative integrity, honesty and the voice of the Spirit of God?

Jesus cleansed the temple violently and what seemed to offend him was the peddling, the “market place” that the temple had become.

I wonder what ‘tables’ he would over turn if he came into our churches or “Christian” book and CD stores today?  I also wonder whose backs would feel the bite of his meticulously platted whip?