Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The God of Convenience

{an unrelated picture, but I saw it and thought it was lovely and reminded me of some of my book characters}

Convenience is the god of the modern, first-world society.
We sacrifice everything from relationships with our children, parents, family, to our physical and mental health in the name of convenience. What is easiest, quickest, and involves the least amount of effort. In the end, convenience is always the winning card, because nobody wants to give up the comfort and ease it offers. Little do we know, as we sit comfortably in the fluffy embrace of convenience, that our essences are slowly atrophying.
Convenience is our poison, our drug, and it is killing us.
It is a subtle serpent, but its demands are high.
Its offers are never ugly or unattractive, and often they may even seem quite logical.
In fact, everything about convenience seems slick and optimal. Why exert the effort if you don't have to? Is convenience not one and the same with efficiency?
Ah, but what sort of god have we decided to bow down to? In a society where food can be delivered to your doorstep in fifteen minutes, what price have we unintentionally agreed to pay? As we exchange quick, impersonal texts with people instead of calling or meeting in person for a visit, what have we set ourselves up for in return?
What does the god of convenience demand from us, in exchange for the smooth, velvety touch of ease and relaxation?
In the name of convenience, we avoid educating ourselves about subjects that truly matter. It's easier to just do what's always been before, instead of opening one's mind to a paradigm change. Lifestyle changes are uncomfortable, and inconvenient. Learning new things isn't exactly easy, either. Why educate yourself about genetically modified organisms or what creates a healthy economical system, when you feel like it won't have any direct impact on your life, right?
In the name of convenience, we don't reach for the intellectual stimuli our brains truly thirst for. Instead of consuming literature and media that would broaden our knowledge and build our brains, we opt for petty television shows full of content equal to the consistency of marshmallow fluff. We push away the depth and richness of the classics in exchange for that hot-off-the-shelf romance novel or comic book, because it's easier on the brain. Easier on our attention spans. "Oh, it would take too much time to read that huge thick thing by that old Brittish guy in the 1800s. Fifty Shades of Grey, on the other hand..."
In the name of convenience, we choose to run by McDonald's for breakfast on the way to work instead of getting up thirty minutes earlier and fixing a bowl of homemade steel-cut oatmeal or fresh scrambled eggs with green peppers and cheese.
In the name of convenience, we pick up TV-dinners from the frozen aisle or throw some packages of processed junk food on the table, because we've decided that spending two hours in the kitchen preparing a wholesome dinner for the family isn't worth the time.
In the name of convenience, we trust almost anything we hear from the government and/or general media, and don't question what the news reports tell us. We don't question their agendas, or the possibility that they are giving the news from a biased perspective. It's too much trouble to doubt whether we're being fed the truth or not. It's easier to just go along with the flow.
In the name of convenience, we send our children to institutionalized school, daycare centers and nannies, so that we can get our own work done. Homeschooling is inconvenient. Staying at home with your child, teaching him or her yourself is inconvenient. It's not easy to be a parent, and a lot of the times it's not exactly fun, either. (Single parents, please do not read this and think I am calling you lazy or undisciplined. I am speaking to the families that have two parents involved and the financial stability to engage in homeschooling.)
In the name of convenience, we sacrifice our children into the hands of strangers, to be educated in ways we have no control over. In the name of convenience, we send them to be with people who will spend more time with them than we will, for most of their childhood. We give up the blessing of guiding and training them to follow Christ, because we've placed that responsibility in someone else's hands.  
In the name of convenience, we avoid speaking of our faith to others. We are too worried we will offend someone, or that we might get bashed or mocked. It's inconvenient to go out of your way to talk to a neighbor or complete stranger for ten minutes about the Lord. And it's definitely not 'comfortable', right?
Yes, we are comfortable in the sofas of convenience, but as we sit there enveloped in leather cushioning, our eyes glued to our phone or TV screens, we have given up something that can never be replaced by the momentary comfort of "easy".
When we decided to make convenience our idol, always deferring to the easiest path, the most convenient option, we signed over the essence of the human existence. We tossed aside the thrill of challenge and growth, because that was too much trouble. We settled for less than satisfactory, because we weren't bold enough to make the effort for something better. "Something better" was too hard, or took too much time and energy.
 We became zombies, enslaved to our master. Dead, though we may appear to be living. On the surface, we feel as though we're living in a way that the rest of the world should be envious of.
But sometimes, I think that the rest of the world sees our convenience-lust for what it really is. We've sacrificed health, intelligence and spiritual growth for disease, ignorance and lukewarm stagnation.
And we are slowly dying. 
Little by little, our obsession with ease is draining our souls.
We are so enthralled with doing what is easiest, that we have lost the life in living. We cannot thrive and excel when convenience is the ruler of our beings. An obsession with convenience is content with merely being comfortable.
 In order to experience life as the riveting, vibrant adventure it was designed to be, our idolatry of convenience must be abolished.
In order to become the mighty warriors of God that we were created to be, the god of convenience must die.
In order to live life to its utmost fullest, the god of convenience must be slain.