A magical and revolutionary product.
To what do I refer? Apple’s iPad of course. I must have visited the Apple site a dozen times this week to just click through the iPad page. I get excited to watch the guided tours and the TV ads. I click through the images like a starving man gazes at a sumptuous feast. I imagine what could be possible with the accessories, how my life could be different.
In short, I want an iPad.
I don’t really know why. I use a macbook, which can actually do far more than an iPad. But I still want one. I want a product I really don’t need or have much use for.
As far as I’m aware, anyway.
When I bought my macbook, I was aware of what having a laptop was like. I knew what it was like to have a small portable computer on which to work. Now, having owned a Macbook I’d never go back. It’s possibly the best portable computer I’ve ever owned. Still, when I bought it I knew pretty much what I was getting.
The iPad, however, is a mystery to me. I don’t know what it is like to own because there is no product like it.
When purchasing a laptop, one can look at Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, Sony and Apple to find a machine which is best for them. When thinking about an iPad there is, as far as I’m aware at the time I’m writing this, no comparable product.
Apple have managed to make me crave a product I am clueless about. Clever Apple.
For years Apple had to compete with PC, the cheaper and more accepted alternative. They made those pretty amazing ‘Mac vs PC‘ ads ato play on the competition. What is there for the iPad to be pitted against?
Now, I am aware of how dangerous it is to compare evangelism with marketing, but it’s hard to escape the fact that in many ways Jesus is an idea to be shared. Much like a product. I would not, for one moment, think that’s all there is to the Gospel but it a part of it.
In a multi-cultural society with many competitive ideologies it becomes second nature to us to compare and contrast products, politicians and preachers. In fact, that’s how I was taught to study religion. Of course each religion has basically the same elements and one must compare each one to find the ‘best’. Rather like choosing a laptop, one can choose an ideology by comparing them.
Mohammed, Buddha, Guru Nanak, Jesus, take your pick. Each is a viable option. It’s my job to show you why Jesus is better than all of them. Isn’t it?
But what if he isn’t? I mean, when the consumer religious inquirer defines what is best for them, why would anyone ever choose Jesus over any other ideology? What if a person happens to like what Buddha said, and thinks Jesus was being unrealistic? Or maybe it’s more convenient to be part of the Mosque than part of the Church.
In many ways, that has been how I have tried to share the message of Christ. Rather like selling a Mac, I have attempted to line up Jesus with another authority and show why Jesus is better. But what if something I deem to be of great good is perceived by someone else to be something damaging? One wouldn’t have to look at Jesus long to see unappealing things in him. The ethic of all or nothing for God. How we must give up ourselves to gain him? Live selflessly? I’ve come to love those ideas but many may not.
Apple was never all that successful in dominating the personal computer market, despite having a far superior product. The portable device market, however, seems to be different.
I think Jesus is more like the iPad. He is unknown and unknowable. Unless he is embraced he cannot be discovered. All the arguing and explaining in the world will not uncover the deepest mysteries of the God/Man. I can show you what life is like with him, but I’m not sure I could tell you why he’s better than Mohammed or Buddha. What good does it do to know the technical details of his theology unless what he said makes our lives new?
Whom is there to compare with? Can I stand Jesus next to Nietzsche and have them engage in appealing dialogue which will show Jesus to be somehow superior?
I have spent far too much time worrying about Jesus being better than all the other options, and not enough time realising that there really is no other choice. It’s Jesus or it’s nothing. Am I being ignorant? Maybe. Am I aware there is nothing with which to compare the Gospel? Definitely.
Jesus is more iPad than MacBook, that’s for sure.