Holiday musings: Does God like to shop?

On the surface this is an inane question isn’t it? Does God like to shop? Does the supreme creator being, maker and ruler of all, like to buy stuff? Of course not, right?

And Jesus, well we know he couldn’t care less about such things. He tossed coins away, found them in the mouths of passing fish and never knew how much food he and his band of merry followers had. He couldn’t be bothered with “stuff” at all. When he sent seventy followers out on a do-good mission he gave them few rules other than “take nothing.” Leave the stuff behind, he said.

So of course Jesus didn’t like to shop. The problem is Jesus said he doesn’t like stuff. He never said much about shopping. That sucks for me because I don’t like shopping, but I sorta like my stuff.

Buddha didn’t shop, at least we don’t read of it. He sat. Maybe if he lived now he’d be into online shopping since he could both sit and shop, but somehow I doubt it.

I’ve spent the last day or so returning to this question again and again, looking for any form of counter argument that God in any way would like to shop. It’s been a barren search. The best I could do is the passage where Jesus chides us in a sermon saying if we who are basically daft can give good gifts, how much better can the Father do with his gifts.

I liked that because though God has little interest in shopping, She does like to give gifts. God gives the birds a nest and the lilies of the field sun necessary to grow and in fact gives us our daily bread. God is incessantly giving. 

But giving and shopping are very different things, even it turns out when we are shopping to give, which is mostly what the frenetic activity is about this time of year. We even have holidays dedicated solely to the concept of shopping for gifts: Black Friday (which is now Thursday too) and Cyber Monday.

I thought about this when I wandered into Union Square the other day, having completely forgotten what day it was (see photo above): Black Friday. The place a crush of bag toting, money spending humanity. People clearly like to shop. With this many people THIS into shopping it seemed worth wondering what God thought of all that.

Think about it: It didn’t sound quite so silly in my last post when I mused on whether God is a sports fan. With so many people so obsessed about sports, it makes sense to consider the spiritual implications of our time and money focused on shopping and the attendant “stuff” we so badly want (be it to give or to receive).

Of course, I want to go negative here and rail against the materialism and capitalism of our day. I want to point out the hypocrisy of the American church that is so commercial, so material and so often oblivious to the poor, homeless, downtrodden, addicted, and needy among us that without a doubt every major religion touts as extremely important to God.

Who would dare to try to say excessive spending on all the things we adorn ourselves and our homes and our ears and eyes with is little more than Solomon’s vanity?

But I’ll step down off the preacher soap box here because I do like… stuff. I like trinkets and adornments and cool sunglasses and a fashion mix of evolved-thug type style. I like decorating and like making my wife and daughters (all of whom adore shopping) happy by taking them to shopping.

In fact the main reason I’m thinking about all this is because of my own spiritual slump that likely resides in part from my own inner selfishness and vanity that cares a bit too much about all the stuff of this world. The reality is it’s never as easy to know what God likes as we want to believe, or better yet, what WE want God to Like.

So rather than answering the question definitively, a better course of consideration for me in my spiritual slogging is to consider why I like the stuff that shopping brings. I don’t like to shop. But I do like the stuff as much as the next guy or gal, and until I admit that, I have no place wagging a finger at those who do love to shop.

Besides, I don’t much about what God likes, but I do know He isn’t much into the finger wagging business anyway.


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