(Tyler Stanton is one of the funniest people I know. His blog is hilarious, his book is hilarious, his videos are hilarious as well. I’m sure he’s not funny sometimes during the day, like at the grocery store or while pumping gas, but I can’t verify that. Here is a great guest post from Tyler!)
No one is better at feeling guilty for having nice things than us Christians. Now, of course, this guilt doesn’t actually stop us from buying the nice things. It just causes us have a justifiable response on hand in case someone ever broaches the subject.
Here are a few of the more common ways we justify questionable purchases:
The Financial Analyst
This person likes to explain the financial logic behind seemingly extravagant purchases, just to make sure everyone knows how reasonable and legitimate they are. They’re so reasonable, in fact, that he’d have been foolish to have abstained.
Neil: Nice jeans! How much did those set you back?
FA: Um, a lot.
Neil: Like, $100?
FA: Yeah, basically…$100…$169. Somewhere around there.
Neil: You paid over $150 for jeans???
FA: Look, I don’t wear suits to work, I wear jeans. And considering these jeans cost less than half of what you’d pay for a good suit, I’m actually being thrifty.
Neil: Hmm. Interesting logic.
FA: I like to think of it as good stewardship.
This person likes to spin elaborate yarns about the lore behind the actual purchase. When encountering a storyteller I feel like exclaiming, “Look guy – I was just making small talk. I had no idea my “That’s a nice TV” comment was going to elicit a purchase testimony that included an inciting incident, flashbacks for character development and an intermission for refreshments. Instead of telling me it was the deal of the century because it was the display model and that you talked the guy down another $200 and that this off-brand is actually made by the same company that makes the on-brand, we could actually be watching it right now.”
The Thank You Replacer
This person doesn’t waste any time with pleasantries. Her primary purpose in every conversation is to let the other person know she avoided paying retail price.
Sheila: Hey, nice scarf!
TYR: Target. Eight eighty-nine.
Sheila: Um, OK. I really like those jeans too. Are those–
TYR: Seventeen dollars. eBay.
Sheila: Wow, you…have a great memory.
TYR: Brain Age for Nintendo DS…$19 at GameStop.
The Relevant Guy
This guy plays the victim from the beginning. He didn’t want to have to spend money for the top of the line item, but our superficial culture left him no choice. Things you might hear him say at any given moment:
“You expect people to take my message seriously in Old Navy jeans?”
“How will anyone respect what God’s done in my life if I’m talking to them on a cell phone without apps?”
“Is it even possible to make Kingdom impact while using a Dell?”
This person doesn’t waste his time with any of the above approaches – they’re not spiritual enough for him. When attention is drawn to any of his newly acquired possessions, he humbly shrugs and throws down the Purchase Justification Ace of Spades: “It was a God thing.” Guess I can’t argue with that. Or can I?
Are there any other approaches I missed?
And, what do you think: Can/should Christians have nice things?
Tyler Stanton is part of a movement of people who don’t take themselves too seriously. His blog, tylerstanton.com, helps tens of people in their own journey every single day. His glorified pamphlet, Everyday Absurdities: Insights from the World’s Most Trivial Man, is on track to become required reading in all nationally accredited universities by 2026. If all goes according to plan, he will never own a dog.