Business professors write about globally consistent consumer demands. While they acknowledge that there are regional and cultural differences, they emphasize that we share many of the values that shape the products we buy. We like products that are tailored to our tastes. We hope that we are able to purchase products at price we can afford. We look for reliability and quality. What is trendy in the US is often trendy in the UK, India, Singapore, and Japan.
Underlying our shared views are shared wants, needs, and even behaviors. While there are many theories on why, the evidence indicates that we are far more alike than we are different.
I wonder if we realize how dangerous this trend is. I believe we should wrestle with the questions that follow the evidence. What is the relationship in how we use freedom and our desire to confirm to the norms of our communities? Are we compromising our values in order to be accepted by others? Do we understand what we are telling others as well as ourselves by our actions?
When I think of my behavior, I am not sure.
I know others have fallen into the potential trap. One community “did just what the prophets said they would do, but had no idea they were following to the letter the script of the prophets, even though those same prophets are read every Sabbath in their meeting places.” (Acts 13.29) They lived the nightmare of the generations before them, contributing to unfolding events in ways never imagined.
The questions today should shape our approach to the present. Do I understand what I am doing? Can I see the link between my decisions and the values I hold closest to my heart? Am I willing to struggle with the inconsistencies in my life?
We do not need to march to the same beat. God calls us individually. We see the world differently. We are invited to use our minds in exercising our freedom. The combination means we can make a difference. The future comes from the choices we make.