posted by Ethan Nichtern

(for more about IDP, visit the Interdependence Project‘s main website)

Welcome to the day of the year with the strangest name: Black Friday 2009. Next comes Cyber Monday 2009. The name feels like an apocalypse, or a shop-ocalypse, as consumption activist and star of one of my favorite holiday movies What Would Jesus Buy, Reverend Billy would say. Have you been poking around for Black Friday online deals? I haven’t heard reports of anyone being trampled to death today, like last year, but the holiday season is still very young, and Wal-mart has a new look and marketing strategy, so you never know.

So seriously, folks, how do you think Buddha or Jesus would handle the shopping season if they were alive in 2009? Many friends seems to be using Heifer International to buy a new animal for a 3rd world farmer in need. This seems pretty awesome, and I am going to do it too. By the way friends, the animal I might buy in your name is not the animal you remind me of, but the one I could afford. Besides, beautiful animals tend to produce less milk and meat for farmers. Just an fyi.

I really don’t think any enlightened being would want us to all get more cheap plastic stuff from China that our loved ones will throw out in a few months. At the Interdependence Project, maybe next year we will institute a Secret Santa game full of bartered services and homemade gifts. Until then, shop responsibly, and don’t bring too much environmentally destructive stuff into the world. Now for some leftover stuffing. Maybe we should watch the Story of Stuff before we start shopping. And then meditate on the meaning of generosity. 

More from Beliefnet and our partners