by Todd Martin, Contributor
So as a grey-haired, older-looking business type, I walked into a mobile phone store and asked for a BlackBerry.
At that moment the place looked like a retro E. F. Hutton commercial where the entire room freezes in their place, goes silent and stares at you.
The sales rep clears his throat and with a look of confusion seeks clarity by asking, “Did you say a BlackBerry? Are you sure? Not an iPhone or ’Droid?”
After a brief moment of fanfare and a few dirty looks, I got the phone I wanted. I don’t know how often I get the sales pitch from the evangelistic efforts of iOS and Android fanboys.
Each one seems highly motivated to save me from my ignorance and convert me to their platform.
At the end of the day, I understand they are just trying to help me see the world like they do, but I can’t help think they may just be a little bit insecure with their lemming-like march to the iTunes or Play Store theme songs.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the technical and app superiority they may have over my tin can and string, but when it comes to getting work done, I have what I want.
Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero, born a few decades prior to Jesus and 2,000 years before Christmas-less Starbucks coffee cups, had some important insights on human behaviour.
The final mistake of his Six Mistakes Mankind Keeps Making Century after Century is relevant to this discussion:
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do
Whether it is phone brands, ideologies about coffee cup logos or our religious convictions, it is difficult not to want everyone to believe and behave like we do.
Religious adherents across the spectrum have resorted to all forms of destructive means to convert the non-believer. We may think of ISIS as an extreme example in our day, but interfaith conflict may be even more damming.
Sunni and Shiite Muslims are willing to kill each other; Sikhism has its share of black eyes, and Christians are not immune to murder, torture and condemnation of those who call Christ their saviour but vary in other theological points.
As a Christian, this pains me to see.
I believe that it is God, through the Holy Spirit, who compelled me to see and understand his desire to be in relationship with me, and that through his grace it was and is made possible.
I feel compelled to respond to that love by seeking his presence and living a life consistent with his word.
I do not feel compelled to convert people (I thought that was God’s job anyway), to knock on their doors, to ridicule their practices or boycott their coffee cups.
On the other hand, when someone asks me about my life, I cannot help but tell them about Jesus Christ and the hope that lies within me directly because of that relationship.
I do believe that we are to share the good news of Jesus Christ and disciple those who desire to call Jesus Lord.
And yes if you see a guy with a strange looking phone I will gladly tell you why I use a Blackberry, but I will not feel insecure to the point I have to try and get you to use one too!
PS – go get a Tim Hortons.
Todd Martin is an assistant professor of sociology at Trinity Western University