Lessons From The Church of St. Apple

Image courtesy of
The Economist Newspaper Limited

I visited the almost holy ground of the Apple Store the other day. It also started with the realisation that my home button on the iPad was occasionally failing, and I was heading towards the end of the warranty period. So I headed off towards the appointment, a little rushed as I had left later then I anticipated. My mood starting taking a dive, as I realised the traffic was heavy and it was unlikely that I would make the appointment on time. Bright idea, lets phone the store and give them a heads up I’ll be late. Ten minutes later still stuck in traffic my mood continued it’s downward spiral, not helped by the fact that the store assistant had politely, but never-the-less firmly explained that if I was late it was unlikely that I would be able to see anyone, as they were fully booked. I finally arrived at the store, thirty minuets late and headed towards a young lady with a, ‘how can I help you smile on her face.’ I explained the situation, ‘I know it not your fault, but, I live a long way away and I wonder if you can help me?’ ‘No.’ OK she said it very apologetically but that was the outcome. Attempt number two, same words but in a different order. Response number two, same word, ‘No.’ Attempt three, same words, different order, exasperated tone. Answer three, ‘No.’ Couched in the terms of, ‘we have no-one who can help and whilst we would like to there is nothing I can do, and why are you being so mean to me?’ I mumbled something to the young lady twenty years my junior, which was less then encouraging and walked away. As I did, I noticed what appeared to be three Apple employees standing around doing nothing, (at least in my eyes), one of who was obviously some type of supervisor. Ah ha, my opportunity I thought. I walked over and explained that, ‘I have just been told that no one can help, but there appears to be three of them having a party, whilst my world ending catastrophe of a broken iPad is not getting the attention it deserves.’ OK the words were very slightly different, but the sentiment was there. The ‘supervisor’ looked at me with eyes that said, ‘we are perfectly in our rights, and we are just following the correct procedure, but I can see you are trouble.’ The growl faded and she said, ‘Please take a seat sir and Ill see what I can do, but it may be a while.’

Thirty minutes later I leave with a refurbished iPad. Triumph I win! Well no, not really. You see during my wait I had the joy of listening to another Apple employee induct a couple, into the purchase of their new MacBook Air. During the time it takes to set up a new computer they discussed many things including travel and software. Also for some reason the employee introduced how, ‘religion causes pain and suffering around the world, and certainly most of the wars.’ As you can imagine it’s an area that I would love to have had some input on, and I was just about to enquiry why he felt that, when it happened. I felt the gentle voice, in my head say, ‘after what has just happened, do you really want anyone here to know you are a Christian?’ My behaviour had disqualified me from witnessing the grace and love of Christ to these three people. It didn’t matter if I had all the arguments down pat, or the desire to show them that what they believed was God wasn’t the God I knew. I simply had not behaved in a way, which allowed me to talk to them as a Christian, with integrity.

Later that night we laughed with family and a friend Adrian, as we eat dinner together. I was able to laugh with Adrian and the family, because they know me from old. They know I have done much worst in the past and they know on the whole I am a better person then my visit to the Church of Apple would suggest. So why discuss this here on the journey of discovery? If I’m honest there probably is a small amount of the confessional about this post, but I think mainly it’s a reminder that we all stuff up. Agnostics stuff up, atheists stuff-up, Christians stuff up, even Apple store employees stuff up, although perhaps not in this case. I am glad that the Bible does not suggest that as a Christian I have arrived, but that we are all on a road to becoming like Jesus. The Message paraphrase of the Bible renders 2 Corinthians 3:18 as; ‘All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.’ I am glad that I am becoming like him, and not that people should judge who Jesus is based upon my actions. I am glad that I get a second chance, to be the person I, and Jesus would want me to be. I am mostly glad that my salvation is not based upon my performance in the world, and particularly in Apple stores.

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