The Fruit of The Tree Was An Apple?

The buzz is on and I confess, I have a tendency to lust after technology, especially sexy technology. And Steve Jobs’ Apple oozes sexy technology.Today at 1pm EST is an expected announcement of Apple’s updates to the Macbook/Macbook Pro line.

As a converted Mac user after many years of PC use, I have to say that the Mac OS and hardware have really made the computing experience very pleasant for me. The iPod and the iPhone (which I do not own (yet)) have only deepened my affection for the innovative company out of Cupertino, CA.

Lately however, I’ve been wondering how much Kool-aid I have been drinking. This is not a Mac vs. PC issue, it’s the thought that I have so thoroughly immersed myself in consumerism that I don’t know exactly to unravel myself, a la Shane Claiborne. There is that tension between engaging vs. dis-engaging, spending vs. giving, simplifying vs. cluttering, and I’m finding that I’m standing on the wrong side of the fence many a time. So as I watch for the news of the line of Macbooks, I find myself acutely aware of what exactly the hell I am doing.

I live “in tension,” but do I live intentionally? Even as the national economy is sputtering and crumbling (Daniel So provides some resources and reflections on this as well), do I really understand that my propensity to spend money that I cannot see (credit) and the things I spend it on is part and parcel of the problem? Sure, I can objectify it and get angry at the notion that the rich are going to scapegoat the economic woes on minorities, but do I take responsibility in this matter and look at my addiction as characteristic of the rich? I am the rich oppressor. My good friend shared with me at the last election that he has Democratic values, but a Republican lifestyle.

I have Christian values, but do I have a Christian lifestyle? Not just morally, but economically. What does God’s economy look like, and I don’t mean substitutionary atonement or grace, I mean what are God’s economics? What about my plethora of coats or my multiple pairs of shoes?  I am simultaneously in admiration of Shane Claiborne and ashamed by him. I don’t mean to beat myself up or to compare my calling to his or to Mother Teresa or whomever, but all that to say is I realize that I have taken the fruit of Apple and I find myself naked and ashamed.

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Comments

  1. elderj says:

    funny… I just preached about contentment and touched on materialism in my Sunday sermon. I challenged the youth to be intentionally thankful for what they have and also to give some things away this week that they don’t need, but also that they really want.

    I used to be exceedingly consumerist, and on my bad days, I still am. The Lord broke that spirit in me through a fast — one full year when I did not purchase anything other than what was “my necessary food” that is food and shelter. It was so hard to NOT spend money or even to not lust after things that I ended up not going to the mall at all (this was before you could do as much on line consumer-lusting),and I didn’t at the time have a TV. What a hard year that was!

    The Lord really used that year to break me, but like any addict, I’m still mightily tempted from time to time

  2. daniel so says:

    David — You had to go and ruin my enjoyment of the new Macbooks, didn’t you? 🙂 Actually, as a relatively recent Mac convert myself, I’m surprised at how ugly the new designs seem to be. (*gasp* I’m sure Apple security will be busting down my door any minute now…)

    Seriously, though, I really appreciate these thoughts (and the link love!)… How we spend our money is where life actually happens. Rick McKinley has a nice little chapter on money in his book, “This Beautiful Mess.” It’s so tempting to spiritualize everything — I love Jesus in a spiritual way, I love people in a conceptual manner, etc… but not with the actual stuff of my everyday existence.

    I think you might be able to justify getting an iPhone as a “ministry thing” though 😉

  3. L T says:

    Really good thoughts and heart check…
    I battle with technolust. I’m from the church of Apple and Steve Jobs was my pastor…well former employer.

    I don’t think all of us are called to poverty. It’s admirable. In the US many of us are richly blessed. We have to think of our position in life and give thought to God’s money in our hands. For those of us who are in the position of being able to make good money I think the challenge is not to raise our standard of living but our standard of giving. We have to think about excess.

    Apart from the consumeristic attitudes, I think of these things (macs, iphones) as tools and objects to behold. We interact with them and I think it’s ok to enjoy a well made tool. What I’m able to do with the right tool in my hands is create, produce, and bless. That’s grace.

    As an artist I love ceramics as a medium because it reminds me that I can create something beautiful and useful – utterly functional. I use an object of complete beauty to cook, drink, and eat. It’s art within art. Sure a cup can be a cup. But whatever happened to beauty?

    I know the ins and outs of my mac and yes I love it, how it looks and how it feels. At times it is part of my livelihood as a designer. For some buying a mac is about consumerism but what I can do with mine hopefully blesses. Either way it is an extension of my inner life.

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