by Jill McFadden
Every morning I get up, brew coffee that I think is delicious, grab one of my favorite granola bars, wash my hair with a very particular type of shampoo, and pick out an outfit from one of the too-many items squeezed into our too-tiny closet.1 I drive to work listening to music that I like. I go to lunch at my favorite café, peruse the menu, and order the entrée that I think looks best. After work I may watch a movie that I pick out myself,2 hang out with people that I enjoy, go where I want to go, or shop where I want to shop.
Each day brings with it a host of choices, and for most of them, I’m free to choose only the options that are pleasing/interesting/ lovely/delicious/entertaining. When I go to Starbucks I can order the venti-skinny-double-shot-no-whip-soy-whatever, and I sense the right to be a little miffed if they don’t get it just right. The truth is, for as much as I complain about doing dishes and sorting laundry, there is almost nothing in my life that I didn’t choose to do because I wanted to do it. My felt identity as someone who can choose—someone who has the right to choose—is probably even more fundamental than I realize.
Enter Sunday morning. It starts similarly to every other day, making choices about breakfast and coffee and clothes. And then I choose to go to church, and I choose which church to go to. Do I feel like a powerful choice-making consumer? Check. But when I come to church something different happens—something that can be uncomfortable, threatening, irritating:
I stop calling the shots.