24 September 2011
Bourbon Chicken is Our Enemy
"Bourbon Chicken!" one yells out.
"Sample, sample - two entree four dollar," cries another.
"Gyro? Gyro?," asks yet another.
These are the sample people at the mall food court. They are at the the mall I go to and the mall you go to, both the one you grew up going to which is now too ghetto for you and the one you go to now that is, admittedly, a bit too pricey for you.
These sample people, poor wretched souls hawking fatty hunks of sugared meat on toothpicks for $7 an hour, may just be one of the defining pictures of our society.
You see, they've figured us out. We can't help ourselves. We have to consume things. Give me a taste and I will almost surely want to own my own corner of the sugared fatty meat commodities trade.
I see this everywhere. And we are getting duped by this all of the time.
Let me smell the cologne. Yes, I'll take four bottles, please. Give me a ride in your car. I would like a car like that. Hear a song I like...then race to "own" that song (you know, just in case the modern world falls apart, I have a copy of the song on my hard drive...and cloud storage drive in case that fails...and in my external hard drive in case the cloud breaks down...and backed up onto CD in case we regress technologically). Get the point?
In leading a mission team to South Africa this May, we had a running joke about the American need to consume. We were feeding starving children, delivering the Gospel to prisoners, and giving 10 days of our lives to see the local church of Johannesburg encouraged. And around every corner, the team was asking me if there were souvenirs for each event in which we took part.
Can we buy a South African prison jumpsuit? Where did those street kids get that scarf? Can we stop there? Can we eat that? Can I own one? We laughed at how pathetic we were. Secretly, though, we cried.
We couldn't escape our American (human?) need to consume. We had traveled all the way around the world, sacrificed so much to do humble ministry, and then succumbed to the siren song of our modern lives.