As Americans all across the nation are in a state of frenzy over the year’s most anticipated shopping day, one man believes Christians should be different and not fall prey to the mania of Black Friday.
Aiden Enns, co-founder of Buy Nothing Christmas and guest columnist for The Washington Post, explained his stance in an article titled, “Why Christians Should Resist Black Friday.”
In the piece, Enns, a man of faith and “one inspired by the teachings of Jesus,” cited his own reasons for abstaining from the shops this weekend and also provided seven reasons for believers to resist as well.
“Retail products occupy too much space in our homes and hearts,” he shared on the Post.
“To me, Black Friday is essentially our version of a religious pilgrimage. We worship in mega stores, make schedules around holiday deals, display allegiance to brands and low prices, offer tithes to the cashiers.”
It’s not that there’s something more important than the economy, it’s that the economy needs to be re-fashioned, the founder and editor of Geez magazine continued.
“Jesus acknowledged wealth and power and sought to undermine it. By resisting the impulse to shop for deals on Black Friday we stand at the feet of the retail titans and, with the power of non-cooperation, we challenge the injustices of poor labor conditions, exploitative hiring practices, unfair monopolies, and irresponsible resource extraction.”
Referencing the pioneer of civil disobedience, Enns relayed that Jesus was “like Gandhi before Gandhi was Gandhi.”
“He came alongside the poor masses and gave them hope because he stood up to the enforcers of empire.”
Additionally, the writer also revealed that the hysteria of Black Friday fractured the community.
“Christians resist Black Friday because they want to build community by giving gifts that are hand-made, home-baked, bartered among friends or obtained from a locally-owned, fair-trade retailer who (obviously) can’t afford to (and doesn’t want to) cut prices to keep up with the cut-throat practices of industry.”
By withdrawing from Black Friday, Enns feels that there were “deep rewards” like developing the power to resist temptation, build character, and gain spiritual fulfillment.
He also gave seven incentives for Christians to avoid Black Friday: save money, find inner peace, celebrate non-material joy, practice social justice, teach kids new values, suffer a little and live simply, and be a calming presence and show an alternate way to others through incarnate love.
In response to the article, Tony Woodlief, a columnist for World magazine and author of Raising Wild Boys Into Men and Somewhere More Holy, commented that though there were plenty of reasons for Christians to avoid Black Friday, including long lines and better deals down the line, most of the arguments Enns offered were not valid.
“...There’s a deeper problem here, which is Enns’ tacit assertion that there is nothing more important than the economy,” Woodlief wrote on WORLDmag.com. “This is not uncommon among those in the social justice wing of Christianity, who are at their hearts first and foremost about economics over faith.”
“But the real howler is where Enns writes this: ‘It’s dumb to say it this way, but Jesus was like Gandhi before Gandhi was Gandhi. He came alongside the poor masses and gave them hope because he stood up to the enforcers of empire.’”
“Jesus was no Jewish Caesar Chavez,” the columnist contended. “He didn’t just choose ‘solidarity,’ as Enns asserts, ‘with people of the lowest ranks,’ as at least one centurion and one powerful tax collector can attest. He comes as King, and He overthrows the power of sin and death, not passing economic monopolies and labor injustices. To write about Him otherwise is to cheapen Him, and cheapen Christmas.”
To the author, there was only one true reason for Christians to resist Black Friday – “because Jesus has more important work to do.”
“So fine, fellow Christians, stay home on Black Friday. Heck, abstain from shopping during the entire Christmas season,” Woodlief concluded.
“But do it not because Jesus wants socialism; do it, if you choose, because Jesus has more important work, with you, me, and our neighbors than fussing over whether that new spatula we’re about to buy meets a set of Fair Trade standards.”