Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Our Wal-Mart Sins. . .

Maybe it is because I come from a small town where my father's business had to complete with a Wal_Mart 45 miles away or because I live in a community in which Super Wal-Marts (4 of them) dominate the retail landscape, or maybe it is because I hate walking through a couple hundred thousand square feet of retail space to buy a gallon of milk... I dislike Wal-Mart.  More than the store, I dislike the mentality that Wal_mart has come to epitomize in American society and religion.

When it comes to marriage and family, we have adapted the Wal_Mart mentality into justification for cohabitation over marriage, self-centered marriage over sacrifice and service, and the way children are optional.  In other words, our young folks have learned not to commit but to keep their options open and, when forced to choose, to make price the pivotal determiner of your choice.  Co-habitation is (wrongly) seen as keeping your options open and a low-cost alternative to marriage.  Never mind the lie, it is the way we shop -- even for someone with whom to share our lives.

Wal-Mart has taught us that we should be able to get what we want at a cheap price, with friendly service, and with several choices or options to fill the bill.  How can we expect to enter marriage under those constraints but we do -- and the result is that when we fail to get value out of marriage, when friendly service is replaced by sacrifice for the other, and when we grow tired of the same old thing, we divorce and become an unentangled consumer again.

Children should look like the options we find at Wal-Mart -- affordable, easy, and discardable.  Alas the only thing that qualifies under this definition is abortion or birth control.  Kids are nothing if not expensive, never as easy as promised,, and once you have one, you cannot return or exchange him or her for another or for refund or store credit.  So our Wal-Mart mentality has made children definitely optional and mostly no choice at all for the savvy consumer.

When it comes to religion, the Wal-Mart mentality has taught us that bigger is always better, that choice dictated by personal preference rules the day, that entertainment or what we get out of it defines success, and that you can shop all day anonymously with the only commitment being the bill and perhaps a tip at the end of the transaction.  Successful churches in our modern world look like malls and big box stores, have all the amenities we seek in our retail environment, and offer us a splendid affirmation of ourselves at the lowest cost to us.  The mega-churches have helped us cheapen religion and faith by this consumer mentality.  We go for ourselves and we leave to pursue our own desires -- so much for real vocation, sacrifice, holiness, or service...

Sam Walton had us figured out pretty well.  Who knew that Wal-Mart would become an attitude as well as a large retail establishment?  Who knew that putting your pulse on our shopping habits and desires would give birth to attitudes that affect our culture, society, community, and religion as well?  I cannot blame Wal-Mart (well, I shouldn't) for figuring us out so well but I will say I am tired of having my sins mirrored back to me by a retail plan and store chain...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

melting pot of merchandise

melting pot of religion

melting pot of values

i'm okay, you're okay


no, not really, no