On Monday I was tooling around Best Buy, enjoying a second-rate worship experience with lots of plastic false gods. (I do like the prelude music they play. Just lovely.) It was Labor Day; the place was packed. I strolled over to the cell phone section, just for kicks, only to stumble upon a first-rate consumer smack down. Two women, arms full of smartphone accessories, one of them supported by her mother, were in a battle royal for a spot in the protracted line. A crowd had formed around them, like inmates watching a prison yard scuffle. The yelling was shrill. “You got out of line!” “We were here first!” “You only care about yourself!” “You are a horrible person!” And on and on it went. I felt for the wiry 20-something BB employee, dressed in bright blue and deep distress.
Pittsburgh’s own Andy Warhol once quipped, “Buying is much more American than thinking, and I'm as American as they come.” He might be on to something. I confess I’d much rather stroll around the brightly lit aisles of an electronic wonderland, struggling with this size flatscreen or that, than think about who exactly is my neighbor and how can I love them. Bring on the gadgets!
But as I watched my Best Buy neighbors throw down over a coveted place in the cell phone queue, I thought to myself: “On balance, I think I’m grateful to be baptized, and grateful for the crisis the gospel of Jesus usually prompts in my otherwise mundane life. Not that I’m any better than these three in the brawl. (I'm thinking: Hey, while they are distracted, you could jump in line!) But I do give thanks for gospel commands that call me to love, gospel freedom that makes that possible, and gospel thinking on why it even matters.
What Jesus-thoughts are you thinking this week?
Where is the Holy Spirit calling you, above the consumerist fray?