Tag Archive: Consumer

Have you ever been tired and you don’t have any idea the cause?  That defines me today.  It seems to define me more often these days.  So, I decided to go to the doctor.  Basically, he gave me a clean bill of health .  He said my blood tests looked good, and, after l lost 26 lbs., he was greatly encouraged.  

I’m not diabetic; that’s good news.  According to the good doctor, I’m not pre-diabetic either.  I’m not anemic, of course, that depends on who you ask.  My cholesterol is a little high but nothing to lose any sleep over.  If I’m such a specimen of good health, why am I so tired?  The question of the day.

I meet a lot of tired people.  Lately, when a few counselees have come into the office, my first question is, “Would you like for me to step out for 20 minutes so you can catch a quick nap?”  They laugh.  They laugh because they know it’s not all that bad an idea.  

We all know the look.  No smile.  Bags under the eyes.  No spring in the step.  No emotion in the voice.  Maybe it’s me, but I think the relativistic consumer-driven world philosophies in a post-modern and post-Christian era are possibly imploding our culture, and people simply cannot keep up.

We used to talk about trying to keep up with the “Joneses.”  It’s the mindset that whatever my neighbor has I have to have one and possibly the latest model.  Just last week I was asked if I had an iPhone X.  I said I had the eight.  Without missing a beat, the young lady, with an attitude of disgust, informed me she had the iPhone X and was going to get the next model as soon as it came out.  I have to say, I was not impressed.   

I used to think the pace of life was going berserk.   I don’t think so anymore.  It’s the cultural expectations causing each individual to think they need more.  The instant access to information on the phone feeds the idea that no one should be a step behind.  We submit to the mindset and it doesn’t take long till we are distracted consumers spending time just trying to keep up.  

A few weeks ago, I heard of a family that took all electronics away from their young son.  He was having issues using them.  Eventually, the parents realized things were not going well, including his attitude.  They have been put away with no timetable for their return.  Did I hear a collective gasp?  Yup, no cell phone, tablet, or computer use unless necessary for school.  It was time to break the addiction cycle for a very young child.  Everybody expected withdrawal and anger to dominate.  They were wrong.

The opposite happened.  The young child’s pleasant attitude returned over the next few days.  He began to return to life.  His acceptance of his siblings sweetened.  His parents reported that he said, “It’s amazing, I’m enjoying all of life once again.”  They are not sure if the electronics will ever return.  

I asked another set of parents a few hours ago why they felt it was necessary to give their 11- year-old daughter a cell phone.  No, let me change that.  I asked why they felt it was necessary to give their child a smart phone at such a young age.  They said, “So she can get a hold of us at any time.”  The young child gave the better answer.  She replied, “Well, everyone has them.”  Does anybody realize that the young child is having access to a lot more people (good, bad and evil) than her parents?  Are we blind to the fact that the good does not necessarily outweigh the bad? 

I didn’t even mention that when we put more and more people into our life, including electronically, it eliminates time for family and God.  We don’t live in a vacuum.   Time given to one person takes away from time with another.  The word that replaces God is “I.”  I need a phone.  I need to be just like so and so.  I want it.  I have to be important.   I have to be relevant. 

There is nothing necessarily wrong with any of this stuff.  It’s the user.  The problem is they are all user-friendly.  I am concerned.  Tired people do tired things.  Suicide rates are up, especially among the young.  Evil is only a few seconds away, and we might not even be looking for it at times.   It’s not just the young.  It’s everybody.

My grandkids came over the other day.  I asked them if they wanted to take a ride to the Savannah Wildlife Refuge.  They happily agreed.  We talked the whole way there and back.  We laughed looking for gators and birds.  They are probably the source of my tiredness.  It’s worth it.  No.  They are worth it. 

Sometime I wonder what God thinks?  I know that is quite impossible to figure out what God is thinking.  Isaiah told us His thoughts are not our thoughts.  We are so limited.  However, as my mind wanders the far spaces of time I wonder what God thinks about technology, the current state of the church, my thoughts (how few there are at times), our culture, as well as our lack of culture.  The list could go on.  Maybe I’m going crazy.  

Have you ever wondered what God thinks about the Internet?  It can be such a wonderful means of communication and information processing.  On the other hand, it can lead us down a dark, dark path.  The ability to read this article as a blog post allows readers to never have to go out and get the newspaper in their bare feet.  Amazing if you think about it.  My guess is God gave us the ability to create it.  It remains the heart of the user that is the issue.  

I wonder what God thinks about air conditioning and garage door openers.  Yup, I’m really losing it now.  Before these great technological advances, we sat on the porch in the cool of the evening or left the widows wide open for a little breeze.  Once the night air began to change, the window fan sucked all the fresh air through the house.  In the process, during the open window age, we heard our neighbors.  We spoke with our neighbors.  We knew our neighbors and, probably, a little more than we liked.  Once the air conditioner came along, we no longer heard our neighbors and don’t talk with them either. 

The garage door opener allows us to get in and out of our car without going outside. Actually  I’m not sure that is possible here in the Lowcountry.  Garages have become our basements.  The cars are outside.  But, you get the point.  Our castle became a little more secure and if we want to, we can isolate ourselves a little bit more.  I wonder what God thinks about our isolation from a real neighbor but our tendency to allow a stranger to greatly influence our lives through a computer screen.  My guess is that, it remains the heart of the user once again.  If we care for our neighbor, AC and garage door openers will not separate us.

I wonder that God thinks about our relativistic, consumer driven, critical, narcissistic culture. That one isn’t too hard.  We like to think our culture is unique to Americans and our current place in history.  Wrong!  King Solomon, in all his wisdom, said, “there is nothing new under the sun.”  He was correct.  In the book of Judges it says, “Man did what was right in the sight of his own eyes.”  That fits relativism and the narcissism running the day.  All we did was label things.  Man has always wanted to be God.  That’s the curse.  We should be an extremely thankful people since God loves his man creation and set forth to redeem us.  His thoughts are wrapped in his love and grace.  

So, last of all, I wonder what God thinks about the current state of the church.  There will be many disagreements on this one I’m sure.  When over 50% of American churches hold to some form of health and wealth, prosperity teaching, the state of the church is far from healthy.  When pastors’ and priests’ evil sexual issues are brought to light, the church has serious issues.  It has been said that once the church responds poorly to a major cultural issue, such as sex abuse and harassment, the church has lost it’s ability to be heard due to its image being tarnished.  To quote a famous line, “Houston, we have a problem.”  Actually Apollo 13 had a huge problem.  It was only by the grace of God and men and women who worked overtime that it made it back.  

That is our hope as well.   The hope is not just to survive.  The hope is to see Christ in all His splendor and love.  The hope is to humbly love and express the grace of God to others beyond our computers, air conditioning, garage doors, self-consumed thinking and sin.  That is our hope in Christ.  It’s not what church we go to on Sunday morning.  It’s how we live the rest of the time.  That defines our heart.  It remains the heart of each person that consumes the thoughts of God.