28 November, 2014

Black Friday (in more ways than one)

Black Friday 2014

I made the mistake of going to Target last night. I needed toilet paper. Seriously.

There were no carts. There were tons of people blocking aisles, as if they were the only people in the store. People were concerned with themselves and no one else. I’m not saying people weren’t friendly. Many of them were. But people were there on a mission.

Black Friday kills me.

First, because some people in this nation are so poor that they must save up to shop on the cheapest shopping day of the year.

Second, because many of the people working on this Black Friday are themselves facing the poverty line.

Third, because even with the sales, the great divide between rich and poor, white and black, is evident in full baskets versus spare ones, big purchases of luxury items versus small purchases of necessities, and sense of glee versus a sense of gloom.

Finally, because I believe that those who can afford things on the day after Thanksgiving, who haven’t been saving all year for the big sales, are there because they want to numb out, to disengage from the bad things happening in the world, to assuage their own feelings of helplessness, guilt, and anger.

Shouldn’t our mission, as the church, be different? Shouldn’t it be standing with the poor? Shouldn’t it be staying awake, as Advent calls us to do? Let’s quit disengaging by buying. Let’s start engaging by listening. Let’s stop numbing out by over-eating, over-buying, over-drinking, over-thinking and start staying awake to our habits, feeling our feelings, and pushing to do better. Let’s turn our feelings of helplessness into action for right. Let’s turn our feelings of guilt into repenting from our sins. Let’s turn our anger into compassion.

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