Swimming Upstream: Reflections on Consumerism and Culture

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By Christine Roush, Design Group International, 2009, ISBN: 978-160844-020-7

Christine Roush asks if the Christians we know are different than non-Christians with regard to their perspectives on things such as clothes, cars, housing, saving, credit use, entertainment, divorce, and concern for the environment.

She then proceeds to show through her own experience as well as through the stories of others how easily we are all enticed to practice materialistic and high-consumption behaviors. Each of twelve brief chapters guides the reader to understand how these behaviors have been adopted.

Roush offers questions for reflection, options for action, referrals to further information, and an illustrative story. This approach makes the book a good resource for small-group discussions and for conversations around the dinner table at home.

Roush concludes by naming the church’s role to teach and mentor people, and encourages readers to start a “Romans 12 movement” in local churches. Good idea.

Review by David Coatsworth, executive for financial development with the Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ.

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