Black Friday and the American Malady


Black Friday and The American Malady
Brian Zahnd

I’m not sure when Black Friday became a “thing.” It hasn’t always been with us. But I am sure that Black Friday as a celebration of consumerism coming the day after Thanksgiving is symptomatic of the American Malady. Miroslav Volf put it this way…

“There’s something profoundly incongruous between the gratitude of the Thanksgiving Thursday and the Black Friday’s mad rush to acquire. Black Friday seems to have been designed to ensure our sense of gratitude doesn’t spill over from Thanksgiving into our ordinary daily life.”

On Thursday we gather around a table to give thanks and feast with family and friends.

On Friday we stampede madly into the temples of American consumerism.

On Thursday we give thanks to God for the cornucopia of plenty.

On Friday we trample our neighbors for a flat-screen TV.

It seems to have echoes of Israel eating the Paschal lamb only to worship the golden calf.

The true Christian Thanksgiving meal is the Eucharist. (Eucharist means “thanksgiving.”)

Black Friday as a celebration of consumerism is the anti-Eucharist.

We’re never satisfied. We never have enough. Feed the Beast. Become the Beast.

Black Friday and Good Friday — competing contrasts.

I feel a falseness prevailing in society when Black Friday becomes a celebrated thing.

I see a malady in America when Black Friday becomes a holiday (holy day).

If the people of God are to be a prophetic people—
This is just the sort of thing that needs to be critiqued and resisted.

Coming out of Thanksgiving we should be headed for the mystery of Advent—
Not the checkout line at Best Buy.

Yeah, I buy Christmas gifts too. I get it. But when Black Friday becomes a “thing” — a shameless celebration of unbridled consumerism — I would rather sit it out. I’m pretty sure that Black Friday as a “thing” is not good for my soul.

When it comes to Black Friday I would rather be less American and more Christian.


PS: For 33 years Word of Life Church has held a Communion Service the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s a good thing. If you would like to join us for the “Eucharistic antidote” to Black Friday, we will gather at 7:00 PM and you are more than welcome.

(The artwork is Wall Street Bull by Kent Paulette.)