Posts Tagged ‘Black Friday’

Getting ready for Christmas on CyberMonday

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Christmas is about the birth of Christ in our lives. Not the arrival of a sacarin sweet baby Jesus, but the arrival of God’s divine interruption into our normal way of life as the Kingdom breaks through in its wonderful power.

And what is that breakthrough?

It is nothing less than a remaking of our minds in the the image and likeness into which they were created by God from the very beginning of time.  And from the re-created mind, comes re-created lives.

The mind we mostly function under concerns itself predominantly with survival.  I love the phrase many authors use to describe this lower mind … the lizard brain.  The lizard brain is content with warmth, food, sex … the creature comforts.  But it holds little concern beyond that and definitely little concern for others outside of warmth, food, and sex.

That lizard brain is ok, as far as it goes. But when its penchant for mere survival becomes the modus operandi of our lives, we  find our lives swinging way out of balance, pulled part by addictions, fear, anxieties, all deeply honed in the lizard brain. , driven by a toxic blend of pleasure seeking and anxiety around survival.  It loves the scarcity mentality that drives Black Friday!

There is however something more, a deeper way of thinking and thus of living, a “peace beyond all understanding” that in turn reshapes our lives into the image and likeness they were created into.

Christmas is about THAT birth.  It is about the very incarnational nature of it all, where God-in-the-form-of-Christ comes to Being.  The gifts of the Three Wisemen?  They were offerings to God not slick purchases to stuff loved ones with.

What do we want for Christmas?   A nice question.  What gifts can we offer God this Christmas?  That could change your life and the lives of those you love.

Our Money Is Our Story: Welcome to Black Friday

Friday, November 29th, 2013

It is easy to bash the rampant consumerism of Black Friday.  Fed by a scarcity mentality that has people lined up outside Walmart at 5:00 AM less than 24 hours after the blessedly slow rhythms of gratitude, connection and Thanksgiving, the day is indeed ripe for the bashing.  (Juxtapose the photograph from Friday morning below to a photograph of gathered families Thursday night)

But if we are to hold to the concept that our intention is what is most important, the bashing abates a bit.  A mom who can only afford a given gift for a beloved daughter if she is first to Walmart in the wee hours of Friday morning may well be more spiritually evolved than the sluggard who plans to shop for her children at CVS sometime Christmas eve.

Where we need awareness I would hold is to understand a simple differentiation between compulsion and intention.  A loving intention to serve those outside of ourselves is far different than the driving compulsion to get more stuff.   On the outside, both may look the same.  However on the inside, each tells a very different story around money and a very different story around spirit.

Why Religion Matters

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Religion matters.  It matters a great deal.  And the questions is “Why?”

I shy away from holding people’s eternal lives hostage to a declaration of certain prescribed religious pronouncements.  But I don’t shy from saying that religion can be one of the most wonderfully disruptive forces we can welcome into our lives.  We need, so badly, those disruptions.

This is a picture of our culture.  It is a photograph from a “Black Friday” checkout line.   It is us largely at our very worse.  We live deeply immersed in a consumer culture and consumer ethos.  The driving force then of cultural advancement then becomes material comfort.  Material comfort creates a bloated, satiated culture, one asleep but always with more tryptophan on the way to keep us in our happy daze.

Religion consistently reminds me …

  1. There is more than me
  2. Sin is actually real.  I am an asshole at times – a lot of the time actually.  I need to forgive when others are the same.
  3. Getting down on my knees in prayer helps me to stand as a man in areas of need
  4. Money is a tool but it is not my God
  5. Courage means “where the heart lives.”  God has more courage than I do – HIs heart is a lot bigger – and has helped me do things I could never do myself.

The consumer culture reaches its end one of two ways.  Either we come to realize, after trying its faltering promises, that is has nothing to offer or we simply run our planet into the ground in the relentless pursuit of stuff.   It does not end because we come to find contentment in consumerism’s arms.  Religion critically wakes us up to the “More” – a different kind of “More” – one that is disruptive, powerful, and ultimately healing.