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Theological Heroin

I just got my new copy of William Cavanaugh’s new book, Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire.  It looks like another great, but brief book, not unlike his previous Theopolitical Imagination, though this book is clearly designed more for laypeople seeking to work out the shape of their lives on a microeconomic scale.

For me, ever since reading his Torture and Eucharist years ago, I have come to view Cavanaugh’s writings as a form of theological narcotics.  They literally make me high.  There are a few other authors that share this status, but Cavanaugh is near the top.  It’s pretty much like what they all say about heroin.  When you’re on it everything is wonderful.  That’s why you should never touch the stuff unless you want to be addicted for the rest of your life.


  1. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    I got my copy a couple weeks ago and devoured it. I totally share the feeling man. Just think about how it feels to see him in the hall everyday.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  2. michael wrote:

    I read it about a month ago, and I must say it did not excite me as much as Torture and Eucharist or Theopolitical Imagination.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  3. Hill wrote:

    I definitely need to get my hands on this.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:32 am | Permalink
  4. Ben George wrote:

    This is an excellent introductory article Cavanaugh wrote about consumerism.

    A question: Do you all ever feel like consumers of theology? I have a giant stack of unread books, and yet I get excited about getting a new one. My Amazon wishlist is a mile long.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  5. Heroin, perhaps, or it may be a theological man-crush. Whatever it is, I heartily concur.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  6. BLDavis wrote:

    I’m reading it right now. Well, not right now, for you literalists out there, but you know what I mean. ;-)

    I specifically thought his opening comments in ch 1 about the ‘free’ market were very basic yet insightful, and yet I had never thought about it in the way that he frames it.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  7. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Michael, I got excited reading it. He did tone it down quite a bit to appeal to a wider audience. But I’m actually happy about that. I do think for the most part he made it accessible to a popular audience without tempering the thrust of his argument too much, which is quite a feat. The nice thing about this new book is that it makes a perfect gift to pretty much anyone. It is inexpensive, short, entertaining, compelling, and persuasive.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:52 am | Permalink
  8. R.O. – Yes, I think maybe part of it was that he did “tone it down,” both in terms of its accessibility, as well as his usual radical suggestions. But I’m not sure he had to do the latter in order to do the former. As far as accessibility goes, though, I wonder about his chapter on von Balthasar….

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 11:59 am | Permalink
  9. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Yeah, that was definitely the most difficult chapter. I did enjoy his critique of the John Hicks of the world, but in terms of accessibility there may be some problems on this front as well. Overall, I do think it is accessible. In the end, von Balthasar is not so easy to make accessible.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  10. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    In a conversation I had with him, he actually mentioned Eugene McCarraher’s comment about how Christians should stop complaining about consumerism and just condemn capitalism, but he thought that doing that would probably just shut people off. I sensed a bit of uncertainty from him though.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 12:12 pm | Permalink
  11. Ben Myers wrote:

    Just one difference: Cavanaugh’s first book cost me 40 bucks. Whereas with heroin, the first one’s always free.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 1:54 am | Permalink

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