Jen and I went shopping today. All the way to the Tri-Cities, which sound much more sophisticated than they are.
Now that Black Friday has become such a major part of our Thanksgiving milieu, I take pride in not participating. There's just a little to much gross materialism and/or trampling others to death for a new LCD TV for my taste. And besides, I'm above such rampant consumerism. I tell my church regularly that getting invested in a consumerist culture is a shallow, unfulfilling and, ultimately, dangerous trap. Shopping as spiritual practice is opposed to living the Gospel.
And since I'm so very clear on the tension between shopping and living the Gospel, what I do is nothing like all those unwashed, spirit-less masses do on Black Friday. I don't allow myself to be brainwashed by the evil geniuses working on Madison Ave. (Do ad people still work on Madison Ave.?)
I buy things that I need: well-considered purchases, bought out of necessity and always with full awareness of how the purchase will impact my spiritual life and the spiritual lives of those near and dear.
Unless I happen to go into a REI. Or maybe a Bed, Bath and Beyond. Or sometimes a Home Depot*. Or, rarely, if I stumble into a Petco. (I almost came home with a chameleon today...) When I go into those places, well, it's not as though I buy things on impulse. I just wasn't aware of how badly I needed some of things on offer until I saw them, gleaming and wonderful, on the shelves. Of course I need a new tie rack; you know how often I wear ties**. Or would wear ties if only they were neatly arranged and readily accessible in my closet.
That's the thing. I can always find a justification for my purchases. I'm not like those unwashed, unspiritual masses. They buy stuff because they're shallow and stupid and brainwashed by our consumer culture. I make purchases that will allow me to live the lifestyle to which I aspire - generous, thoughtful, sophisticated, with lots of dinner parties with my witty, urbane friends.
And to get there, what I need is a new bamboo chopping board. (Bed, Bath and Beyond - $30, bamboo nourishing oil sold separately.) Or a few new houseplants in hip containers. Or the aforementioned tie holder. (Non-motorized, owing to my fear of over-technologizing.)
It's so easy to get suckered in. I'm sure there's a lesson here. Maybe several - something about straight and narrow path, or putting faith in the things that will rot and rust, or maybe something about a speck, a log, a brother's eye and mine.
Well, I'll think about it. Right now I have to go open all the cool crap I bought at REI.
much peace, much love, too much stuff,
*or wine.com, or Bi-Mart, or, God forbid, a book store with church-nerdy books....
**Never. Ever. Maybe to wedding and funerals, if I'm not officiating and I really like the person(s) involved.
PS - Inspired by the unholy holiday of Black Friday, there's a posted survey.
5 months ago