Every morning, rain or shine, I see them on my train ride in to work–the line of worshippers. On camp chairs or concrete, covered with plastic if it’s coming down as it often does here in Portland, entire families and groups of teenagers. They’re waiting to be admitted into the giant glass cube that is their temple–the Apple store, with its cheerful priests, ready to dispense technological blessings. The people cluster on the steps in front of the store like lepers hoping for a cure….and I suppose you might as well be a leper if you don’t own a smart phone.

The store opened months ago, so it’s not exactly a novelty anymore, but the faithful continue to show up daily. And this week, the disciples of other churches of consumerism are already lining up and camping outside their doors, as the holiday miracle of Black Friday discounts gets ever closer.

They really do remind me of cult followers awaiting a Second Coming, like Jehovah’s Witnesses or those unfortunate people who listened to what Harold Camping had to say about the end of the world. But the Messiah never arrived in clouds of glory, and you will never get the happiness and fulfillment you’re looking for from that TV you’re wrestling away from the other customers at the Wal-Mart sale.

In fact, you will probably only find that fulfillment if you *stop* shopping…and eating..for a moment…and reflect. There are so many reasons to have a moment of silence this Thanksgiving, from Ferguson–to the insanity that Black Friday has become–to just your own peace of mind. So I will do my best to find that moment today. Have a wonderful holiday, everybody.

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I have to take a moment to give some love to Lorde and her music.  I love that her song lyrics are about ordinary people leading ordinary lives.  I get so tired of all the music about lives of glamour and fame and materialism–lives I can’t relate to and will never experience.  I wonder why those kinds of songs are so popular and why there isn’t more music out there about the everyday life of the regular working person.  Is it because we’re so eager to escape into fantasy?  Wouldn’t we be happier if we stopped dreaming about things we can never have–and if our pop culture stopped selling us those delusions and dreams?

While I would never be silly enough to say that making money is evil or that it makes one a sellout, the past week has reminded me once again that all of the most meaningful stuff I do in life I either do for free or while giving my money away.  Writing this blog, taking my friend out to dinner, hiking.  My work exists as financial structure to support the things I love to do.

This does make me wonder about what we decide to focus on.  Is it a positive thing that we focus our lives on making an income, since that effort supports all the good we can then do?  Or is it sad that most people I know, including me, will spend the vast majority of their time on the less meaningful?  I don’t have a real answer for this question, and will choose to believe in the happier version of the story for now.