Achievable Satiation

Walter Brueggemann in his book The Prophetic Imagination talks about the paradigm of “Achievable Satiation.”

Let’s define terms.

satiate: to satisfy desire to excess

We live in a age committed to the idea of achievable satiation.

Proverbs says…

There are three things that are never satisfied,
Yea, four that never say “Enough!”
The grave
The barren womb
The thirsty desert
The blazing fire

I think we can now add a fifth:
Our generation in search of satisfaction.

Seeking to satisfy desire to excess. That’s our age in a nutshell!

The present paradigm of achievable satiation has redefined our notion of what it is to be human, and it has done so to all of us. It has created a culture concerned only with self-satisfaction.

And the church has not been exempt. We have been affected in many ways. For example: The practical denial of history and community.

We have denied our own history to the point that we are a generation of the church suffering from collective amnesia. And in denying our history we also deny our future. We have so enthroned the present in the idolatrous “NOW” that a promised future, delayed but certain, is unthinkable.

And we have denied our community. The radical emphasis on self within the corrupt paradigm of achievable satiation (Babylon!) has so fostered individualism that it has denied the very concept of community that calls us to care.

Achievable satiation is fed by a management mentality that believes there are no mysteries to honor, only problems to be solved. There are no heroic battles to be won, only systems to be managed.

Achievable satiation is endorsed by a consumer Christianity which believes God has no business other than maintaining our standard of living and in every way making our lives as comfortable as possible.

Achievable satiation. It really is the religion of the day. The official religion of the empire.

But here’s the kicker. Satiation is derived from a Latin word that means…get this…sad! Satiation comes from the word meaning sad. That’s sad! We are a culture committed to a paradigm of satisfaction that is designed to inevitably make us sad.

And I can’t help but be reminded of the hook line from Sheryl Crow’s song, If It Makes You Happy. (Pardon the mild expletive, but it helps make the point.)

If it makes you happy
It can’t be that bad
If it makes you happy
Then why the hell are you so sad?

Good question, Sheryl.

The generation committed to the paradigm of achievable satiation is not going to find achievable satisfaction but achievable sadness.

(And of course you can all quote Mick Jagger at this point.)

So Sheryl observes that it just makes you sad and Mick confesses he can’t get no satisfaction. Perhaps we should look beyond the observations and confessions of rock stars and consider what Jesus said:

“If anyone wants to be my follower you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and the sake of the Good News, you will find your true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world [achievable satiation] but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Mark 8:34-37, NLT)

Achievable Satiation?


Take up the cross.

Achievable Crucifixion.

Achievable Resurrection!

Lead on O King Eternal!