September 2011: All adrift in a world of change?

The modern world can be a confusing place, with change occurring so fast. And sometimes we make it intentionally more confusing! According to Wikipedia, “In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer is the moment when a consumer enters a shopping mall and, surrounded by an intentionally confusing layout, loses track of their original intentions. It is named for Austrian architect Victor Gruen (who disavowed such manipulative techniques).” The popular TV program about advertising is well named!

It is no wonder we struggle to maintain control, when shopping malls are designed to make us spend more money wilfully - and this is just one example of the ways in which consumers are manipulated today. The consumer society defines us by what we own, where we live and go on holiday, and the work we do; but these are not the only ways of defining ourselves in this world. It’s just as well, because in many ways these things are beyond our control - and so we feel as if we are adrift, out of control.

The life of faith is less prone to this kind of feeling, because faith defines life in a different way, doing away with the need for things and experiences to prove who we are. Instead of being engrossed in our own lives, those of faith become more concerned for others, and paradoxically, more satisfied. The life of faith is never complete, never done, for there is always more to discover, about oneself, about others and about God. If you’re adrift in this world, perhaps it is time for you to spot the manipulation that keeps you that way and do something about it!


Parkdale Church of Christ 2012-18 —A community of faith, hope and compassion.