Is Cyber Monday any better than Black Friday? If one is, indeed, going to make purchases during the holiday season, is it more responsible to do so via the world-wide-web when many reduced priced items are available? Is it more theologically and monetarily responsible to buy a specific item online rather than being enticed by all the “deals” that one sees in the store?
Here is an example of cyber Monday:
We all consume. Humanity would cease to exist without consumption. The question is: Do we consume responsibly? Art and music are rich and good for the human heart and mind. We listen. We connect. We consume and it is good. But why overspend for music when you can get it for free? Follow the link to the right to check out some FREE music from Amazon.com.
It’s coming. The day marked for the celebration of the birth of Jesus is nearing. Comments are frequently made about the origination of the holiday being pagan. I would argue that which was pagan and made religious has largely become pagan again. The “celebration” that we now call Christmas has become the commercial exploitation of God coming into the brokenness of humanity.
It’s coming. Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving, millions of people will sacrifice a full night of sleep and either stay up all night or awake very early to drive their vehicles to shopping malls and retail stores across the country. Long lines, crammed traffic grids, and hateful behaviors are no deterents from the “cost savings” for the mass purchasing of items that may or may not be needed. We’ll discuss the idea of a “need” soon (for those of you coming to the Narrative Gathering on Monday nights be thinking about what a need is). Black Friday is an interesting social phenomenon. Why do consumers think they are “saving” money? Do consumers consider what money actually is? Are the majority of purchases on Black Friday for items that would be purchased even if “sales” didn’t exist? Is the purchasing of items encouraging unfair trade or even slavery in other countries? Pick a question or add a question and we’ll kick it around. Of course, my hope is that we all begin to consider the fullness of what it means to consume, buy, worship, purchase, and enslave while imagining what alternative behavior may be more life sustaining as we celebrate the coming of God into human reality.
My number (1) strength as identified by the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment is “Input.” Essentially, I am inquisitive and collect as much information as possible primarily in words or books. Though I am quite aware of the cultural shift from word to image and value input from video, image, and social media resources, I am highly skeptical of propaganda.
Recent propaganda from Verizon Wireless is promoting the “smartphones” that run on the Google Android operating system. Motorola makes the Droid and HTC makes the Droid Eris. Both function somewhat similarly to the Apple iPhone. I would like to use an iPhone (since I have a MacBook Pro and like the simplicity and syncability) but it is only carried by AT&T whose coverage area in the United States is awful. I have also checked out various types of Blackberry phones such as the Storm, Storm2, and Tour. There is also an Apple iTouch that I have that must be factored into the equation. It came with the MacBook Pro and I have yet to open it trying to decide whether or not to use it. It would work great seeing as I live on a college campus with Wi-Fi everywhere but would be a secondary device.
I would like to think that I do not need an iPhone, Blackberry, or Droid, however…
(a) The demands of my new position at MVNU are beginning to necessitate higher mobile technology access.
(b) Social media and their equivalent mobile applications have become standard for communication and marketing.
(c) My current LG Chocolate phone is no longer charging properly.
What should Travis Keller do? What is the most socially and theologically responsible decision and why? What should I purchase or not purchase?
In honor of our most recent Election Day in the U.S. I decided to republish this post from the archives:
I am somewhat frequently interviewed by students here at MVNU for Research Writing projects, Public Speaking presentations, or Christian Life and Ministry papers. Tonight I was interviewed by Daniel Coutz. It was one of the more thoughtful interviews that I have experienced and I appreciated the approach. The conversation went something like this:
Daniel: “Respond to this statement: The United States is a Christian Nation.”
Travis: “No earthly empire is distinctively in keeping with the way of Jesus. Those who claim the United States to be a Christian nation need to enroll in a post-reformation church history course that discusses the period of American colonization. Also helpful would be a study in theology and philosophy to explore the definitions of theism, deism, and idolatry.
Daniel: “Do you feel the American flag should be displayed in churches? Why or why not?”
Travis: “No. The church is laced with a history of symbol and icon for visual engagement in worship and when one considers what the American flag represents I would have to question what one is worshiping. I would have no problem with displaying a flag in a church if it was displayed beside every other flag of every other nation so long as the symbol is understood to represent equality and unity.
Daniel: “Respond to this statement: The loyalty of a person belongs first to his country.”
Travis: “Why would one view an earthly empire as something to which giving loyalty is necessary or a priority? My suggestion is that most would give said loyalty due to an enculturation that promotes a sense of loyalty as nessecary. I would also suggest it has something to do with the supposed ‘safety’ provided by the military branch of a certain country’s government. Fear would be that which fuels loyalty to an earthly empire.”
Daniel: “Respond to this statement. Christians living in the United States should be patriotic about the United States.”
Travis: “One’s definition of patriotism would be primary. I find it problematic for a follower of Jesus to pledge his allegiance to an earthly nation. So in the sense that the recitation of the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ is patriotic, then patriotism may be considered contrary to ‘worshipping no other gods.’”