by Andrew McQuitty

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The Myth of Madison Avenue (10 of 10)
Andrew McQuitty
Exodus 20:17

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. Those nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency to bondage (Alexander Tytler, 1748-1813).

Introduction: The myth of Madison Avenue

We are the Baskin-Robbins society. Although we may only be able to eat one or two flavors at a time, we want all thirty-one to choose from. There are more "things" in our world today than ever before. 1,200 to 1,500 new commodities appear each. You can buy 11 brands of toilet tissue in one, four, six, and eight packs and in various colors and patterns, five brands of dried spaghetti, 13 colas, 31 cat foods, and 20 barbecue sauces. Let's not even talk about restaurants, running shoes, cable TV channels and magazines!

The myth of Madison Avenue is that your happiness depends on getting a share of all this new loot. Ad agencies hire very clever people and pay them six-figure salaries to think of ways to make you think you need all these "things"! As the old Michelob ad says, "Who says you can't have it all?" Reality says it, but people aren't listening.

"We now live in a world of. . . constantly-appearing new things. . . that promise to fulfill our dreams for freedom and meaning. Consumer goods and the entire culture of consumption have become the focal points for human desire" (Lendol Calder in Critique, Issue #8-1990, p. 7).

God's response to the myth of Madison Avenue is unequivocal--"Don't swallow it!" "You shall not covet. . . anything that belongs to your neighbor" (Exodus 20:17). The word covet means to grasp, grab, or pant after. It is an excessive desire for what you don't have. Maybe you're not into oxen and donkeys, bu ...

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