Recently I went to my first Premium Outlet Mall. I wasn't sure what I'd find but hey, its an Outlet Mall, home of the fabulously low deal on stuff you gotta have. I walk the concrete, glancing from side to side at the brand names... Gucci, Vans, Ralph Lauren, and stores I haven't heard of before.
I walk into some store, either Burberry (spelling?) or Coach (cause I had no idea what they were) and it was a store full of purses, and wallets, and coin purses, and stuff. I look over to my right and on a table was a small coin purse. Now what was impressive about this coin purse was not the design. Nothing special there. It wasn't a fancy color. What was impressive was that this thing cost $103 and some change. And it pissed me off. Instantly. And I wondered why it made me so mad.
I thought about it. Initially because it costs so much and I knew someone would buy it. And I figure that person who bought it would place it inside a much larger overpriced purse and take it to church with them. And yes, that pissed me off as well. So much need in the world, so much good that would do, and someone calling themselves a Christian would spend money on this. And I was angry. I could not even use the biblical story where the girl poured the expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus and the disciples chastised her ... because it was done out of love. An extravagent love.
I probably waste money on stuff as well that could go to help feed hungry people or whatever. But that isn't what really made me angry. It is that we have been sold a huge lie. We are buying into an image that isn't real. The rise of Abercrombie, Tommy Hilfigher, etc. somehow makes us proud to show off how much money we spent on stuff and then advertise it to the world. "look at me - I have 'x' name brand this or that". It is either so show we can afford it, or to keep up with what the world considers hip, or some image we wish to portray.
Or maybe its class warfare. Honda Accords were the thing in the early 80s. When everyone started to afford them, they come up with Acura. Toyotas - Lexus, Isuzu - Infinity. You catch up with a Suburban? Not good enough cause now we have topped that with Escalade. You get my drift - same product, different label to separate the haves from the can't affords.
I have always had an aversion to labels. Whether it be on my clothes or attached to my person. Whether Jew or Gentile or Samaritan. If we as a culture really think that what matters is on the outside, attached to a label or defined by price tag, I can't see where we have made any progress.
And yes. Look around at church. You will see these labels. And its a shame. I think I'll have a chardonay and set in my sauna and think about it before heading out to the golf course.