Miller challenges us to consider, how does “consumer culture change our relationship with religious beliefs, narratives, and symbols.” Concurrently, in a purely free market what influences our desires that drive our choices? I ask myself; do we need a renewed or restored idea of what the telos, God’s influence ought to be in our communities?
Contemporary theology, argues Miller, is silent on what is unquestionably one of the most important cultural issues it faces: consumerism or “consumer culture.” While there is no shortage of expressions concerning the corrosive effects of consumerism from the standpoint of economic justice or justice for self and one’s rights, Miller argues that there is a vast distinction between real and false needs: behavioral “excesses.” One’s culture and pervasive worldview affect what motivates them, how we relate to others, to culture, and to religion.
A perceived yet misconstrued God standard, so to speak offers, that God does not care about our desires or how we treat each other is a vast discrepancy between what we have experienced. Frankly, there are plenty of rich idiots and poor saints. And, anything or anyone can become an idol if we allow it. This view, though extreme, presents a cultural shift in theological discussion, doctrine, belief systems, and our communities.
Freedom does not depend purely on the autonomy of the will, but from the inputs, we ignorantly receive and what rewards we deem best in this life. For Augustine, we need to be liberated from the tyranny of our own wills. Such change comes from without, from the grace of God. Choice itself is inherently good and all that is necessary whatever the circumstances. Conversely, if all our actions are dictated by an Omniscient, predetermined God, then it is incredibly unfair to hold us to the consequences of our personal sins. Augustine’s solution to this seems to draw a distinction between something that occurs unavoidably and something that occurs voluntarily. God does not predestine us to harm ourselves. That would be a ridiculous conclusion. We have the personal power to quit smoking. However, if it was predestined that someone would be a smoker and die from emphysema, he essentially denies the premise claiming mankind is not able to be free from this habit. 
If God is “love” then my doctrine of free will would include doctrines of sin, free will, grace, salvation, means of grace, and grace by God’s love to choose what is good and right. Joshua 24:15, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of [a]the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
If my God is “love” then my doctrine of “free will” would be that God is Sovereign and can make choices to work with or to not work with those whom He chooses. And, since He is creator of us all, partnering with creation in creation (Genesis 1), then this partnership ethos would say that we have the opportunity to live more like we were created to live: in partnership with God.
I can say that the preachers have an array of different interpretations on the spectrum of predestination. In a sense, the question leads one to need to provide an answer to how sovereign is God? Sure, we do not have the grace to save ourselves from the eternal consequences of sin against God. And, with the vast array of interpretations, we must then answer this argument, “It is clear that desires, shaped, encouraged, and manipulated” and how we can present truth in the contexts we disciple.
My brief church-world experience it is often viewed that the one with the best programs and events wins the game of church attendance. One hand, how do we blame the attendees. Work and family life are often difficult to manage so a place of comfort, peace, and community is a worthy goal for a family. On the other hand, can we do what we are called generally to do, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” and live in a consumer culture without being consumed.
Therefore, my question is must we be consumed by culture? I have nothing new, profound, or worthy of being analyzed on this because I have not critically studied this notion. My attempt is to remind us that there is likely no getting away from the influences, but we do have grace available, because of God’s victorious love to choose how much these influences recreate us to becoming what influencers, trendsetters, and world systems intend for us. I’m asking this question in my research: what in the vast array of standards regarding what a pastor looks like and how they function will stand up to God’s view of a true shepherd.