I have spent the last 6 years working retail out of a 300,000-square-foot blue box that shall remain nameless. (I’m sure you can figure it out.)
My job is to make the store looks good, to display items in an inspiring way that keeps people coming back for more. One of my daily responsibilities is to spend the morning cleaning up after the horde that visited the previous day. This can easily take up to 3 hours in each department.
I’ve learned something over the years. People are messy, savages really. They grope their way through the store like animals hunting prey. Sometimes I think people walk in with one goal:
Must touch everything. Must move it as far away from where it belongs as possible.
It’s funny really, and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of the same behavior. It’s easy to zone out and assume something exists for you alone, to forget that someone is going to have to clean up after you.
If every customer left the store the way they found it, my team could spend a lot more time inspiring and less time rearranging.
And isn’t that true for all of life? Our decisions, our actions impact other people, and vice versa. We are both cause and effect.
Every decision I make affects someone else, whether directly or indirectly. The Bible illustrates this early on. The decisions of one couple forever altered the course of history, polluting humanity with an innate selfishness known as sin.
We see it everywhere. If you don’t believe me turn on the news. An individual’s choice to drive after a night at the bar results in the deaths of other drivers. Greed in our school systems has led to a breakdown in education, which only fuels poverty and violence.
Just watch the next presidential debate, or listen to coworkers discussing the state of our country. Read More…
“I’m only human” works well as an 80’s pop song (Watch this if you don’t believe me). It also works as the explanation for why I am unable to step off my roof and take flight, or why I can’t outrun, say, a cheetah.
It just doesn’t work the way we normally use it.
Why did you cheat on her?
Hey, man. I’m only human.
Ah yes, it’s the humanity factor. Aliens have no idea what it’s like to deal with these pesky human hormones. Must be nice.
Unfortunately, this argument isn’t sustainable. While human beings lack the capacity to leap tall buildings in a single bound, we are fully capable of keeping pants zipped and buttoned. The problem isn’t physical ability; something else contributes to our moral missteps.
Even from a purely humanist perspective, the “I’m only human” plea is limited. The popular politician may apply this defense to infidelity, and with time and “good” behavior, the people will probably forgive him. But if this politician molests a child the excuse is removed from the table, and rightfully so.
But why is that? Violation of rights aside, the same sex drive that led him to his assistant’s hotel room also put him in the presence of a vulnerable child. Give the guy a break. Right?
If that was as hard to read as it was for me to write, you will agree that something much darker than impulse is at play.
Something evil. Read More…
I recently came across this video from artist/photographer Jeremy Cowart, shot during the creation of his piece, Deep Dark Blackness.
It’s a messy, fantastic portrayal of the darkness of sin and the “beauty of radical grace.” From an artistic standpoint it is remarkable.
The piece is thought-provoking by itself (You can purchase a print here), but you can’t fully appreciate it until you watch the creation process in this time-lapse clip.
To me, this is what [theo]culture is all about.
Check it out! I’d love to know what you think in the comments section below.
For more of his work, head to jeremycowart.com.