Jelly Beans and Sports Teams
Got a favorite? Licorice. Lemon. Cherry. Panthers. Saints. Da Bears. We all have preferences. If we were to start a list, we probably wouldn't finish in a day. Colors and cars and shoes and flowers and fish and places to sit and restaurants and hobbies and ice cream and whether to fly or take the train and pets and school subjects and authors and pizza toppings. Got more favorites? No doubt you do!
Marketing researchers surely have a field day with us! Which ads do we view? What links do we follow? How often do we purchase that item? And wouldn't we be interested in this one because we've purchased that one? We've been snared and we may not even realize it. At least until we attempt to stop the promotional emails from populating our inboxes. At some point we may wonder how we can ever get free from all the hooks that have caught us ever so subtly over the years!
Barbara Brown Taylor in her book An Altar in the World devotes a chapter to "The Practice of Saying No." She's describing sabbath. Taking a break. Putting things on hold. Resting. Unplugging from all the technology and machinery that drives our lives. And she says bluntly, "There is no talking about the loss of the Sabbath without also talking about the rise of consumerism." She points to the two Sabbath candles that are lit in the traditional Jewish observance, one for rest and the other for freedom. Taylor recommends taking sabbath seriously suggesting, "At least one day in every seven, pull off the road and park the car in the garage. Close the door to the toolshed and turn off the computer. Stay home not because you are sick but because you are well. Test the premise that you are worth more than what you can produce - that even if you spent one whole day being good for nothing you would still be precious in God's sight." Consider too that we are worth more than what we consume!
We who believe in a good and just God may not like to think about God having preferences. Or Jesus having favorites. But the material we find in the Bible would suggest otherwise. The Creator has a deep concern for humans other humans don't care for or attend to. Jesus shows favor to humans bound up in inhumane conditions. Little wonder Taylor is happy to report that those two Sabbath candles announce these two truths: made in God's image you too shall rest and made in God's image you too are free.
What would happen if we ordered less from Amazon because we managed to snip away enough of the snare to realize we really don't need everything we're prodded to think we do? Maybe the delivery trucks wouldn't run seven days a week. And maybe we'd sit on the porch and read a book we checked out of the library. And maybe we'd be more well. Anyone in favor of that?