(Forgive me, Tommy!) Today, I ran across this post entitled Does Using Apple Products Make You a Better Christian? that was posted by my friend Danny Isom on Facebook. The humorous gist of the article suggests that by having Apple products, you are better equipped to carry out various spiritual disciplines. This piqued my interest because if there is an anti-Apple person out there, it's me. I'm not anti-Apple because I do not like their products. I simply, at this stage in my life, cannot find it in my family's current budget to justify purchasing any of their swanky devices. Oh yes, I love the Macbooks, and would love to have an iPad. But rather than going into more debt, I'm content rocking my XP-outfitted Toshiba Satellite that I got 3.5 years ago when our office upgraded it's computers. By the way, this is an office computer. Thanks to a computer crash at our house last year (I've heard that Apples don't do that...), we don't have a computer at home. So that's $50/mo. we don't spend on internet.
But my aversion to the cost of Apple products is not my only quirk in the trendy world of youth ministry. You see, I don't really care for Starbucks overpriced coffee(yes I know about fair trade). I have never worn a scarf when it's not cold. I prefer Third Day and MercyMe to some of the really modern worship music that's out there. I don't have a pair of Toms shoes (can you imagine vaccinating a herd of cattle in them?). I usually wear cowboy boots or flip flops (anything without shoe laces), but I hardly fit the bill of a cool, hipster youth guy. But I digress...
So while I think owning an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or a Macbook would be grand, there is something that makes me equally as proud not to be among the "chosen." That's the encounters I've had with Apple snobs. Yes, they exist...many do not realize that they are, but they exist. On more than one occasion, I've been made to feel less-than-human by a well-meaning geek because I was not sporting the latest silver-clad, touch-screen interfaced, sleek, light, piece of hardware with an illuminated piece of fruit on it. Someone will see me pull out my 12lb. dinosaur which has been described in the above-linked post as a "behemoth" and "clunky", and immediately go on an unpaid sales pitch about the merits of owning an Apple and how he or she has "seen the light." And while many certainly have comfortable enough lifestyles for me not to question how they acquire such fine pieces of machinery, there are others of whom I can only imagine a $10/month high-interest payment until the device begins to rust (or it is no longer cool enough to display in public).
And maybe I bring some of this harshness on myself. Maybe my annoyance with all things Apple is seeded deeper in some bitter childhood encounter with the throes of rejection. But regardless of what Freudian baggage I bring to the table, the fact remains that some Apple users would consider themselves to be the "upper crust" of the tech-pie (is it an apple pie?). And I know there are plenty of genuine Apple users who could care less about their tech toys being status symbols and are simply pleased with the convenience and functionality. For those of you in that group, this post hardly applies.
But as I pondered what I call the Apple snob phenomenon. I was reminded of a time not too long ago, when I was a bit of a snob myself. Not a tech snob, or a money snob. I was a Christian snob. You see, somewhere in my faith journey, I learned that following Christ was about avoiding all types of objectionable behavior (which is not entirely untrue). And so I began to be really systematic in my attempt to avoid these terrible vices. But one thing I did wasn't in Christ's desire for me. You see, as I became consumed with avoiding sin, I also became consumed with avoiding sinners, as well. I look back on my high school and college years and realize there were so many missed opportunities. There were people I never got to know because I didn't want to participate in all the same stuff they did. And now I regret that. And maybe they didn't want to spend time with me either because we were just into different things. But the point was, I never took the initiative to build those relationships. I was a snob. Self-righteousness personified. And this snobbery was way worse than any holier-than-thou feeling that would come from having a cool gadget with a touch screen. The example Christ set for us was that he abhorred the sin but loved the sinner. For that I'm thankful because that means he loves me.
So as Christians, let us live differently from how we once lived, but let's not forget where we came from. For people I never got to know as well as I should have, I can only ask your forgiveness.