the four horsemen of the apocalypse

My teen years were full of metal. I thought I liked heavy metal, but now at my wisened age, I realize I liked thrash. Why am I telling you this? Metallica has a great song, The Four Horsemen, and it got me thinking about these figures. In Revelation 6 John paints a vivid picture of the spiritual powers that will be unleashed on earth and I wondered what the horsemen would look like today, so I've decided to trot them out on occasion and measure their coming. There were four, Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death by tradition, and as a theological exercise, it seems profitable to consider where they are already at work. I thought about an alternative Rapture Ready Index, but I figure considering them one at a time will make it look like I'm a diligent blogger carefully considering my goes nothin'

#1. Pestilence : Consumerism
Pestilence is the devourer, the consumptive disease that rots us. And if there is one thing that may destroy us, it's our consumption: the commodification of just about, everything. Just watch T.V. – we sell success, love, belonging and joy -it just looks like shampoo, cars, bathing suits and beer. We devour everything without pity and the church has swallowed this agenda, hook, line and sinker. We spiritualize it, calling it evangelism. Faith has become another product that we are in control of, not a relationship. We measure success by what we own, not what we give away.

You can see it in our obsession with trends and "the new." I recently came across this egregious example by a Christian consultant:
"I'll be leading a discussion on what it means to authentically live out your brand on Friday, in addition to participating in two Q&A panels [both on Saturday]."
mmmm. Authentic Brand Lifestyles (TM).

Of course it's unfair to quote like this, so I'll keep it anonymous to protect the identity of all of us, but it is illustrative of how we think about our faith in church. I don't mean to single any person out, just the picture of our beliefs. Successful churches run a good business and market an appealing product. We consume more resources than we offer back to the world, on average, and we evaluate the productivity of a faith that claims "the seed grows and sprouts - how he does not know." (Mark 4:27) Now I’m not against advertising or getting the word out, and I'm certainly not against accountability, but neither do I believe Jesus was hoping to inspire a designer brand of clothing. ...certainly not Precious Moments figurines. I'm against that. With a 5lb sledge.

Perhaps seeing the effect on our consumptive lust on the environment is a last sign: environmental disaster is a global, generalized symptom that happens after things we should have seen more directly: pornography consumption, human traffiking, injustice, haves and have-nots. By the time the environmental issues become apparent, we’ve already sold off most of our souls.

So that's the new post series- If all goes well, I would like to proceed with some more constructive thoughts as well. Be sure to check back! If you have a moment, I have a short program that can help your faith succeed, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited...


  1. Ok, one more comment on the not worrying/not being affected angle. You mention that we measure what we have and not what we give away.

    I once told my friend (who is very generous during prosperous times in his life, but ultimately ends with nothing in his hand) about two types of luxury goods: ones you possess and ones you consume.

    Which one is a better sign of wealth? I think the consumable goods are a better sign. Things you have can easily be faked (you can be good at saving money, borrow, or get a knock-off). The consumable good is here and then gone. It is a better sign of wealth because you don't care about it's passing (because you don't care about money. You feel secure that you can be unaffected without it).

    Money is probably a bad example for people to get in the context of this conversation, but you can easily get my point: if you're afraid of losing something, then you're less likely to give it up.


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