Friday, November 26, 2010

On Mall Worship

I had to get up a little early this morning to take our daughter to work at Chick-fil-A. The only problem is that this particular restaurant happens to be located in a mall here in Savannah. Arrrgh. We arrived at the mall at about 6:15. The parking lot was already full. My two goals were to drop Caroline off safely and to escape without a fender-bender. Mission accomplished.

Out of morbid curiosity I left that mall and drove the five minutes to Savannah's other mall. This is sort of like stopping to smell rotting milk on a hot day. Anyway, the other mall's parking lot was, predictably, already full as well. So was Best Buy. So was Home Depot. Etc.

We know that America's real god is materialism. This is another way of saying that America's god is self. This false god is alive and well - at least if the parking lots are any evidence of this.

This "Black Friday" phenomenon that increasingly grips our nation each year is a form of worship. People excitedly flock - at all hours of the day - to stores to spend money they probably can't afford on things that most people don't need.

It doesn't shock me when lost people do this. After all, they are slaves to cultural norms. It would be stunning if they did anything else.

Also, I'm sure there are many solid Christians who are shopping this morning. They may be trying to save money by taking advantage of some of the sales today. If you are one of these folks, please don't leave me an angry comment.

This is what concerns me: Many people who claim Christ as Lord never stop to even question "Black Friday." They never step back to ask whether or not we should be involved in this materialistic, gluttonous worship-fest. On a bigger level, they don't seem to ask larger questions about how we spend the money over which God has made us stewards. Simply put, on this issue at least they act just like unbelievers.

Our country is a dangerous place to be a Christian. The reason is that so many people still think and act as if this is a "Christian nation" (whatever that is). They fall into the trap of God-plus-culture. They don't question many cultural norms, but instead accept them as valid because, after all, we live in America!

All I ask is that Christians question all cultural values. If a non-Christian culture pushes hard for us to embrace certain practices like "Black Friday," then we should ask whether or not we should be involved in it. When I look at Christ's teachings on money and wealth, and then I look at what is occurring right now at the malls, I can't see any similarity at all.


We should think about these truths if we are tempted to run past old ladies and pregnant women to grab the last plasma T.V. at Target.

2 comments:

Russell said...

Your post is on target. Unfortunately, "Black Friday" is just an extreme example of what too many Christians do every day: worship at the contemporary altars of the culture's idols. But, since they don't look like the "idols" the Israelites worshiped, we don't recognize them for what they are. God, give us - give ME - the grace to be truly counter to the culture, to be peculiar and set apart.

Eric said...

Russell,

I agree completely. It's easy to see the idols in other's lives but so difficult in our own.