Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic

by John de Graaf, Thomas H. Naylor, and others. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2001.

While Americans of all creeds have become consummate consumers, the feeling that life is empty and meaningless has accompanied increases in material wealth. 'Affluenza' shows how our lives demonstrate the truth of such sayings as "it does no good to gain the world but lose your soul." For instance, we often hear about the importance of
"family values." But as more adults work harder and longer to meet their families' and their own swelling material expectations, they and their families ultimately suffer. Calling affluenza a "disease," the authors discuss the diseases three facets (symptoms, causes, and treatment), and provide a strong vehicle for dialogue about our values, our consumer decisions, and our future. They compile information from a wide range of sources, all of which point to the connections between our personal, social, environmental, and spiritual problems. Congregations ready to explore the central tenet that ideologies and practices based on greed run counter to scriptural ideals, and seeking to bring their corporate and individual lives in line with their core spiritual values, will find this book provocative and instructive.