Most of you have probably seen by now the commercials comparing the Mac to the PC. “Hello. I’m a Mac.” “And I’m a PC.” (If you haven’t, you can watch them on the Apple website.) They are funny; they are clever; and they are absolutely brilliant.
The Mac is hip, laid-back, dressed for the times, tolerant, “authentic,” the ultimate postmodern. The PC is awkward, dressed for the office climate of the 50’s, goofy, overweight, fumbling, and clearly not authentic. C’mon now, admit it – you want to be the Mac. Even if you don’t own a Mac or ever care to own a Mac, in that commercial, you want to be the Mac. Who wants to be the idiot?
Let me back up. Let’s begin with motives.
I was just reading a passage in the Gospel of John, how many of the Jewish leaders actually did believe in Jesus, “But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God” (12;42-43). It is a very human passage, so true to life. Think high school peer pressure.
I mean, c’mon. You know it’s true. Look at everybody jumping on the “Green” bandwagon. Green is in, Green is enlightened, Green is the cause de jour. Every corporation from coffee to cars now sells itself as Green. Huh. They didn’t do this five years ago. How come they’re suddenly touting their Green credentials now? Do you honestly think this is all in the humble interest of a better world? Then why don’t they just do it, and not tell anyone about it? (Isn’t that what Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount?!)
So, motives are essential, and motives are often shall we say, questionable.
According to Jesus, anyone wanting to pursue a true life, anyone wanting to live with integrity and authenticity has got to be honest about their motives. This is core to his teaching.
Back to the Mac ads. Surely you are aware what a powerful motive “wanting to be liked” is. It shapes what you wear every day. The way you talk. The way you present yourself to the world. What you say. What you won’t say. How you want to be seen. Your opinions. This defined high school. Did you really simply wear whatever you wanted and say whatever you wanted when you went to school? Heaven’s no; you’d have been eaten alive. Cast out. We made sure we dressed like and spoke like and held the opinions of the group we wanted to be part of. It might have been the jocks, the cool kids, the academic crowd. Regardless of the details, we all lived a very calculated life.
We still do.
Good grief, the Jewish leaders in John 12 choose fear of man over confessing Christ. “What people think of me” is a VERY powerful motivator.
Thus the brilliance of the ads. In the powerful riptide of current opinion, laid-back is in; uptight is out. Tolerant is in; dogmatic is out. Enlightened is in; holding onto old ways is out. This goes way beyond computers. It shapes our theology, our politics, our values. It is shaping you more than you know.
Call it i motives.