What’s your worldview…

February 19, 2013

I was reading something this morning that got me thinking about choice and it got me reminiscing…

When I was a small boy I used to spend some of the summer on my grandparents farm in County Donegal.  Occasionally I would be sent to the local shop to get some item, if it was my grand father William who sent me it would be for “an inch of old warhorse” – hard packed tobacco that he would ritually carve, hand rub in preparation to smoking in his pipe, puffing pale blue clouds of what smelt like… well…  “old warhorse”.

The “shop” was amazing… this is it… found a photo on flicker this afternoon…


The shop was usually unmanned… the key to the door was under a rock where the locals knew it was kept… and inside was truly bizarre.  Rusty farm tools, flour, seed corn, hardware, tins of food in a jumbled mass.  There were bars of chocolate in a glass jar left there from the days of the Pharaohs… everything was old… and simple.

There was one make of soap, big lumps of carbolic soap, flour one type, one type of pre-historic chocolate, one type of tobacco… “old warhorse”… the tobacco was in yard lengths an you cut off the amount required with a wickedly sharp knife left for the purpose… when you completed your purchase you wrote down what you had purchased in the ledger and left the money, or an IOU – such was the retail business in rural Donegal.

How things have changed. I recall chatting with a lady, recently returned from being a missionary in a third world country who had found herself in tears in the shampoo aisle of the local supermarket as she couldn’t decide which of the shampoos to choose… a choice she hadn’t needed to make in the 20 or so years she had been away.

We have become very used to choice, and our choices are becoming minutely subjective… between the merits of one shampoo over another… what ‘conditioner’ to use… and this is causing us to become pick’n’mix people.

And the consumerism of ‘product’ has developed into the consumerism of ‘Service’… in the US Doctors and other health professionals are being faced with ‘informed’ clients who have diagnosed themselves (Googled their symtoms) and all they want is the treatment they have decided was the one for them… and if one provider doesn’t give what was wanted  ‘second’ opinion is sought… and so on until someone caves into the demand.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that we wind the clock back 50 years.  My Grandfather was a subsistence farmer – he worked long, hard hours – scratching an existence from a rough patch of ground to raise his children. Neither am I saying that consumer choice is incorrect, or that being informed about medical treatments is wrong.

Rather it’s just how easily we seem to have been willing to blindly adopt a worldview that says we can choose to pick up just the things we ‘like’ and ignore the things we don’t.

What does our consumer choice worldview do to our values and belief systems?

What do we do with things that are hard – global and local poverty, human trafficking, disease, famine, abuse, persecution…. do we just flip over to the game show on another channel.

And what about faith?  Can I choose a God that loves me unreservedly without any need to change myself… or cause me to care for my fellow man?

“Who am I, my brothers keeper?” asked Cain.

Well… yes we are.  Our choices are not simply our own.  They impact those around us… and influence other choices people make… rippling out… and through our communities, nations and world.

It is my hope that one day I will stand before God and say that I was my brothers keeper. That I made choices for good and unselfish reasons. To show justice and mercy (Misphat and Hesed)…

What about you?



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