I Like Going To WalMart

Wait. Before the pitchforks and lobotomy scalpels are brandished let me explain.

No, Walmart is not an optimal customer experience. They’re consistently understaffed and the employees you do encounter aren’t the most friendly or informed. My wife prefers Target 1 Million X more than the Big Blue American counterpart.

I’ve heard many complain (especially on Facebook) that Walmart brings the worst out in people.

And I submit to you: That is why it is awesome.

Walmart Spouse hunting. New Sport.
Walmart Spouse hunting. New Sport.

Why I Like Wal-Mart

At WalMart people feel free to be their quirky selves. Almost no one on their way to WalMart says, “Wait, I forgot to brush my teeth!” or “Dang, I forgot to wear underwear again!” or “Whoops, I’m not wearing shoes!” It’s Wal-Mart, doesn’t matter. I may be twisted but I appreciate people who are a little publicly disheveled, unmoved by the status quo, who are swimming upstream with a fanny pack and jean shorts.

If I had the cojones to wear a fanny pack and jean shorts in public that would mean a hundred other things are probably right in my life: Namely, the sway of public opinion would have lost its kung fu action death grip on my ego.

That girl’s wearing her bear claw slippers.

That dude has a pet parrot on his arm.

That mom is breastfeeding her four-year old.

I’m not saying I want to be sloppy. Or weird for the sake of being weird. But I do want, desperately, to not be enslaved by other’s opinions of me.

This may sound like news to those who know me personally. Many have said to me, as a semi-compliment, “You just don’t care what people think do you?” And the easy answer is,

I do.

To appear “Not caring” is just another way to wear a proud badge before people, which is a disingenuous way to say I care what people think.

I go to WalMart to see my social heroes. My constituents. The regular folk who don’t have it together (like me). Peeps whose lives aren’t dictated by the whims of social media culture or fashion.

It reminds me how God uses the unrefined things of the world to shame the refined (1 Cor 1:26-27). It reminds me how much I still need grace no matter how self-assured the outward facade looks.

Mostly it reminds me of this:

The only opinion in all the world(s) is His: and in Christ He calls me a chosen dearly beloved Son (Gal 4:6)

Oh, and I go there for the incredibly low prices too.

What do you love/hate about places like WalMart?

Bryan Daniels

Pastors Need Jesus Too: What if Your Worst Moment Went Viral?

So you may have heard this lady pastor, Alois Bell, went to Applebee’s and completely gypped a waitress. What’s worse, she signed her name and vocation, and on the receipt gave a snarky sermonette on tithing.

The Unforgivable Sin

The receipt was posted publicly:

Receipt that went viral

The righteous indignation of the e-community exploded, and Christian and non-Christian alike spewed their collective fervor towards this woman’s atrocity. Her ill-conceived words went viral.

As someone who has worked in tips-driven jobs I empathize with the waitress. I’ve been on the stiffed end of a pizza delivery countless times. I worked as a bellman last summer. After breaking my back and sweating my face off to get a family of ten’s luggage up 23 floors, I’ve also been rudely neglected.

That guilty family wasn’t pastors. Or in ministry. Or even Christians as far as I know. They were people. They may have been forgetful. Or maybe they had a bad day of travel in the rain trapped with a screaming infant stabbing their senses.

Maybe they were just cheap.

Misplaced Viral Rage

Pastor Bell has publicly apologized for her shameful act, and as far as I’m concerned that should end the pious diatribes against her and pastors in general.

I don’t appreciate it when anyone makes Christians look petty and hypocritical. But I can’t understand how our national rage can get so misplaced and pretentious:

Today in America, more Children will die in the womb from abortion than total Americans died in the 9/11 attacks.

Today in Nigeria, Christian families are getting their heads systematically machete’d off for their simple faith in Jesus Christ.

Today there is a child, mother, miscreant, or emotionally damaged soul who needs your compassion and grace.

No viral movement of outrage for them.

Are we too busy joining the witchhunting mobs of e-anonymity to care about the people in our neighborhood whose anguish in life is much worse than not getting tipped?

What if Your Worst Moment Went Viral

Humans, Christians and non, are weak creatures. We’re emotional. Grumpy. Always pointing to someone else’s eye boogers when Noah’s Ark protrudes from our own sockets.

What if you watching the worst thing you ever viewed on the internet, went viral…on the internet?

For the unforgiving world to see.

What if the worst thought you ever had about your Spouse, Child, Parents, Best Friend, Church, or workmates went viral on the internet?

For the unforgiving world to see.

Pastor Bell would be nominated for sainthood if the shame of our soul nether-regions ever escaped to Twittersphere.

Such a horrifying prospect may actually be the best thing to happen to us.

No more hiding.

No more posturing to impress people we don’t like anyway. The religious facade stripped away for people to see what God sees everyday.

Our universal need for grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ would shine ever more brighter. We’d see others are also jacked up paupers with disturbing issues and maybe authentic fellowship would result.

I pray God turns our viral righteous anger on behalf of those people who really need it. And I pray it would lead us to praise of the one who sees all of us, knows all of us, and loves all of us with eternal affections through Jesus Christ.

Bryan Daniels

Vids That Won The Internet This Week: Paperman, Kid President

I saw this short film in the theaters last month while watching the previews to “Wreck It Ralph” with my son, Josiah. I thought it was a delightful little story (so did Josiah). And the visuals are very impressive. “Paperman” was recently nominated for an Oscar.

And you probably have seen the prodigy motivational speaker “Kid President” by now. His epic pep talk is worth another listen. He asks what may be the most weighty probing question you will ever be asked:

“What will be your SpaceJam?”

Enjoy.

Bryan Daniels