Commodified Communion

Eucharist, Consumer Culture, and the Practice of Everyday Life

Commodified Communion
Antonio Eduardo Alonso
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Resist! This exhortation animates a remarkable range of theological reflection on consumer culture in the United States. And for many theologians, the source and summit of Christian cultural resistance is the Eucharist. In Commodified Communion, Antonio Eduardo Alonso calls into question this dominant mode of theological reflection on contemporary consumerism. Reducing the work of theology to resistance and centering Christian hope in a Eucharist that might better support it, he argues, undermines our ability to talk about the activity of God within a consumer culture. By reframing the question in terms of God' s activity in and in spite of consumer culture, this book offers a lived theological account of consumer culture that recognizes not only its deceptions but also traces of truth in its broken promises and fallen hopes.
This is a fascinating, lucid, and engaging account of the problems with attempts to resist capitalist consumerism with an idealized logic of the Eucharist. It makes important contributions to liturgical and ritual studies and Eucharistic theologies, as well as to theological and ethical critiques of consumption and capitalism more broadly. Antonio Eduardo Alonso provides a nuanced assessment of the Eucharist that accords both with lived experience and theological tradition, taking the reality of sin and persistent injustice seriously and also recalling a divine grace that can be invoked not just in spite of but together with such human and material brokenness. -- Devin Singh, Dartmouth College Commodified Communion is an extraordinary book. It is also extraordinarily important. Antonio Alonso offers a fresh and compelling reading of the Eucharist by attending to its celebration in a deeply commodified world. Most importantly, Commodified Communion offers a vision of hope beyond the trope of Eucharist as resistance, rooting hope instead in God' s own sovereign power to redeem. A fascinating and powerful read. -- Teresa Berger, Yale Divinity School & Yale Institute of Sacred Music
Antonio (Tony) Eduardo Alonso is Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture and Director of Catholic Studies at Emory University' s Candler School of Theology. He is also a widely published composer of sacred music.