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The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  55 reviews
The challenge facing Christianity today is not a lack of motivation or resources, but a failure of imagination. A growing number of people are disturbed by the values exhibited by the contemporary church. Worship has become entertainment, the church has become a shopping mall, and God has become a consumable product. Many sense that something is wrong, but they cannot imag ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published February 23rd 2009 by Zondervan (first published 2009)
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  374 ratings  ·  55 reviews


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Paul
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I should probably actually note how I rate books here because though I only rated this *** I really enjoyed it for me my ratings are:

* Didn't finish and wouldn't recommend (probably will never see this here)
** Finished and didn't enjoy, would not recommend
*** Finished and enjoyed mostly, would probably recommend to others with certain reservations
**** Finished and highly enjoyed, would recommend with no reservations
***** Finished, enjoyed, would recommend and will likely read again myself within
...more
Mark
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
An easy read book that will make you think about how our current pop culture and economic system have impacted our relationships and worship. Although you have an occasional hyperbole (Nike making profits from the death of a young man), Jethani's insights and logic paint a convincing argument for working to make the Church counter-cultural rather than going along with the culture.
Jenna
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book...written to be easily understood by a non-theologian like myself...engaging writing that kept me reading...thought-provoking, critical look at today's church without being judgmental...solid foundation in Christ...I've recommended it to all of our church leaders.
Matt
I knew this book would be good, Skye is an excellent analyst and writer. but I did not expect this to be beatiful. This is the best and most constructive response to christianity and consumerism that I have read.
Joe
Jun 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: faith
When I started reading this book, I was convinced that I'd love every word, however, by the time it was finished, I found myself largely unsatisfied with the author's conclusions.

On the positive, the book itself is a very enjoyable read. Jethani does a beautiful job blending together stories alongside the art and life of Vincent van Gogh. He also does an excellent job identifying the problem of our consumer culture and the damage that it's done to individual Christians as well as popular Christi
...more
Levi
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this book in the bibliography of "The Prodigal Church" by Jared C. Wilson. Now having read it, I firmly believe that Wilson's book shamelessly raided "The Divine Commodity" for its best points and reasoning and repackaged it for its own use.

Written by Skye Jethani, "The Divine Commodity" is an eloquent, literate, readable manifesto in which the author writes against trend of churching being treated as a business venture rather than as a religious fellowship.

Jethani presents evidence that
...more
Melody
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought this book had some fresh insights. There were a few areas where I thought he was a little critical. He talked about theater and other artistic licenses that are used in church which he saw as commercialism. However, he uses Van Gogh's art to paint beautiful imagery. It seemed like a contradiction to be able to use one medium of art and frown upon another in attempting to connect with God authentically.

He also cast living in the suburbs as a product of being a consumer and that it caus
...more
Greg Reimer
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A sobering book that doesn't necessarily give clear application and solution, but instead calls out the problem that has slithered into the garden of the church. Through a creative cycle of anecdotes, art, and scriptural principals, Skye manages to reveal the consumeristic tendencies the church has fallen into. Along with showing us our trappings, he points us to the beauty of the freedom we can experience in letting go of the consumer drive in our churches. The beauty of community, prayer, and ...more
Tommy Grooms
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up The Divine Commodity after being impressed with Skye Jethani's With and with his frequent insights as a co-host on the Phil Vischer Show. I found Jethani's self-described "impressionist" structure of each chapter - seemingly unassociated vignettes that make up a larger theme - to have its intended effect of quickening the imagination and provoking reflection. His unexpected conclusion ("Here is my secret - I am a Consumer Christian") was so much more refreshing, honest, and helpful t ...more
Rebekah
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jethani offers a compelling look at how the modern Western church has adopted a consumerist approach to Christianity. Using Vincent Van Gogh’s life as a vehicle, he examines today’s 501c3 church, it’s priorities and values, and it’s audience’s expectations in light of historic and biblical realities. Ultimately, he challenges readers to re-evaluate their assumptions of how the body of Christ should approach ministry. Engaging, well-written, and worth the read.
John
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jethani has an excellent WORD for today's church. We are so consumer driven and he exposes it, even claiming that he, himself, is consumer oriented. His ability in expressing his deep thoughts on the matter is engaging and probing. In the epilogue he calls he church to disciplines like silence, prayer, fasting, love, hospitality, and friendship. This is a great wake-up call for those who seek to be followers of Jesus.
Dave
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, on many levels. A wonderfully written book exposing how our current consumer culture has affected our relationships with each other, God, and our collective paradigm of Christianity. With a bonus parallel story woven in of Vincent Van Goghs spiritual journey and divine inspiration behind his works. Which certainly resonates with me, and I'm sure will with a lot of others. Great book!
Nick Woodall
Skye did an outstanding job in this book. He takes Scripture, weaves it with a story about the painter Van Gogh, and delineates for us how the Church is really missing the boat in today's society. He "paints his picture" and then brings his book to a very simple, eloquent conclusion. This is a must-read for Christians.
Peter Swenson
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Easy to read, insightful look at the invasion of consumerism & marketing strategies into the modern American church. Skye Jethani is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers on modern Christianity.
Charlotte
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Skye J is a wonderful writer and thinker and it certainly shows in this book
JD Eddins
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book

This was one of the first books I downloaded on Kindle when they first came out. This is a great book, I should not have waited so long to read it again.
Joshua D.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book shortly after it came out, and then read it again over the last few months with some guys from my church. Below is a review from when I first read the book:

In 'The Divine Commodity,' Skye Jethani analyzes the way that consumerism has creeped (and sometimes shoved) its way into the church. Rather than standing as a kingdom witness against the age, the church all too often has simply reflected the culture, accomodating Christian faith with commercialism and consumerism. This syncr
...more
Adam
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Jethani has a way of making you think, of really challenging your conceived notions of church and God. I read With earlier in the year (on the recommendation of a friend) which introduced me to his work. I was looking forward to reading The Divine Commodity because of it. I found it engaging, and meaningful, and oddly similar to Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son (his use of Van Gogh reminded me of Nouwen's use of Rembrandt.)

Interestingly, I've read a few other books that focus on how
...more
Phil Whittall
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Before you even read the book you have to say it’s pretty encouraging that it even exists. Not long ago a book on consumerism from a mainstream American publisher was a rare thing indeed, there still aren’t many in existence and this one deserves to be near the top of the pile.

In nine chapters Jethani unpacks how consumerism has leaked into the church. American is at the forefront of a consumer society, its leading edges are all in America and American Christianity is at the forefront of consume
...more
Matt
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I just finished Skye Jethani's book The Divine Commodity and found it to be both fresh and convicting in diagnosing much of the state of contemporary Christianity. One of the main characters in his book is the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. Jethani does an excellent job telling the story of the modern church through the works and life van Gogh. Here are a few excerpts from the book that really struck me.

On the church's idolatrous focus of creating a consumer experience:

"Ministries that focus on
...more
Jason
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Using his words, "My secret is that I want to be relevant and popular. I want my desires fulfilled and pain minimized. I want a manageable relationship with an institution rather than messy relationships with real people. I want to be transformed into the image of Christ by showing up at entertaining events rather than throguh the hard work of discipline. I want to wear my faith on my sleeve and not look at the darkness in my heart. And above all, I want a controllable god. I want a divine commo ...more
Kathy
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book has kept me thinking for weeks, and I have shared its basic tenets with friends, sparking some lively discussions.
It is the first book I have read dealing with the issue of the "consumer" mentality of post-modern America and how it has infiltrated our churches. Do you remember the old Burger King T.V. commercial that jingled about having your hamburger "your way?" Many churches cater to the mentality that we are consumers, and "church" is something to be sold. They lure its members b
...more
Jerod
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There is something wrong with the American Church. Many authors in recent years have tried to identify the issue and offer a solution, but all too often their assessments seem to be found wanting. Jethani shows us here why this is so. He identifies these "problems" for what they really are, symptoms. By recognizing that many of the various issues that are currently crippling the American church are in fact tied together by a common source problem, he provides with a much more robust and compelli ...more
Bob
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“The Divine Commodity” opens with the author walking out of a mammoth church auditorium equipped with all of the latest technology, “I remembered that uncomfortable feeling I had with my cousin. All the audio/visual equipment makes for a spectacular production, but how much of it is really necessary for discipleship? What have we created by staying up to date with our culture's entertainment norms? Are we truly relevant or do we look like every other weekend concert? Are we distinguishable from ...more
Tracy
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-on-kindle
This book is really less about Faith and more about the history of Vincent VanGoh. The first two or three chapters does connect with the theme of faith beyond consumer christianity, after that it just became repetitive and boring. It was a very interesting read and did force me to stop and think several times about the message intended. I had to put this book down several times and walk away just to absorb the message. I learned a lot about Vincent VanGoh and his life, and can even see the conne ...more
Trevor
Aug 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, 2009
An interesting, enjoyable blend of biography (of Vincent van Gogh) and critique (of contemporary church strategies). Jethani's observation of consumerism's grip on the church is accurate (bigger = better, branding the church, felt needs over missional service, customization versus community, etc), but his proposed remedies (silence, prayer, fasting, love, hospitality, and friendship) - though good and needed in their own right - don't seem to match the magnitude of the problem.

If you've read any
...more
David
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church
Jethani approaches the topic of consumerism in the church from an insider. His judgment is tempered by his own realization of he own shortcomings and his own consumerist desires. This is refreshing and challenging. Refreshing, because Jethani doesn't presume to have this all figured out and perfect; challenging because I am compelled to look beyond the speck of consumerism in the eye of the church and look at the log of consumerism in my own eye.

Jethani identifies the issues of consumerism in th
...more
Seth
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
While at points his book felt a bit rigid, Jethani's humble appraisal of his own struggle against being a part of the problem while still seeking a solution, and the very interesting and parallel struggle of van Gogh, gained my full attention.
What solves the problem of the "commodified" church culture? Jethani provides multiple examples of individuals, including Christ, whose lives are "counter-commodity" and whose examples serve to remind me that ministry is life-on-life, one person at a time.
...more
Jill
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church
As a pastor, I can't help but see what Skye is talking about on a daily basis. The mentality of most churchgoers is based on what meets their needs. It has little to do with meeting God's intentions. The genius of this book is it makes us think--whether or not we agree with it, we think. We struggle with it, and a book that makes one struggle is rare. He gives history and meaning to a reality many of us have felt uneasily but not been able to name. However, refusing to give in to complete pessim ...more
Dave
May 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
I recommend the book. I'll give it one more star than John Wilson gave it in his Book Notes column for Christianity Today. My feeling on it is that it is either a great introduction to the problems of "consumer Christianity" (Jethani's term) or an excellent refresher with some new insights. Especially helpful is that Jethan has been so close to issues of consumer Christianity, as a pastor and as managing editor of Leadership Journal. If you have at all an interest in the health of evangelical Ch ...more
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fueling the imagination 1 5 Dec 23, 2009 10:43AM  
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SKYE JETHANI is an author, speaker, consultant and ordained pastor. He also serves as the co-host of the popular Phil Vischer Podcast, a weekly show that blends astute cultural and theological insights with comical conversation. He has been a sought after consultant for groups facing challenges at the intersection of faith and culture like The Lausanne Movement, The White House Office of Faith-Bas ...more
“Silence is the beginning of all worship.” 6 likes
“If imitation is the highest form of flattery, than Christians have become pop culture’s most devoted admirers.” 3 likes
More quotes…