The Creation, Consumption, and Crucifixion of Meaning

Christine and I have recently entered ‘the market’ for a new electronic device. It’s been six years since we dumped our old (obselete, broken paperweight) Compaq and settled on a bright shiny iMac (which we’re still incredibly happy with)…six years since we were last in ‘the market’, and much has changed since then.

To make a long story short, we’re looking for a portable device to take with us on a few longer trips that we’ll be making in the (relatively) near future. Six years ago, our choices would have been a laptop…or a pad of paper and a pencil (and we were in no position to buy a laptop).

Today we get to choose if we want a laptop, a cheap laptop, a netbook, a tablet (and which size of tablet), or maybe even some kind of fancy new phone.

Once we decide that, we get to choose what specific device, whether we want it to be connected via 3g, LTE, or simply wireless, and how many bells and whistles we want (and we have to learn what all that stuff is).

We don’t want to shell out too much cash, but we do want something that’s going to last a good, long time without going obsolete, or breaking. We want it to be small, but not too small, so that we can both comfortably view the screen when watching something or skyping with loved ones when we’re in another country. A keyboard would be handy, but whether or not it’s physically attached to the screen is just another choice to make.

Of course, it all comes down to what we want to do with this thing, and how much we want to spend. Aren’t those always the questions?

One way I’ve heard of posing this question is “will you be mostly doing work, or simply consuming media?” The thinking is that once you have that answer, then you know which device will be most helpful.

Wouldn’t it be more helpful to pose the question “Will you be creating meaning, or consuming meaning with this device?”

It’s a question worth posing to your whole life, isn’t it? Are you a consumer of meaning, or a creator if it? The two concepts are not as different as we might think (or hope), for I would argue we cannot help but create meaning; even as we consume it. The question that truly remains then, is what kind of meaning is your life creating?

In the crucifixion (a worthy topic for Lent), we see Christ crucifying the creation of meaning alongside the denial of it.  All that’s left on the cross, is Christ. One broken life, filled with meaning yet consumed by the masses bleating like sheep for his death.

Mysteriously, the creation of ultimate meaning is birthed from the wreckage, but not without anguish, and grief, and a long black Saturday to be endured in the shame of the shadow in the valley of death.

Might this be what it means to continue our consumption of His body and blood? To consider all things rubbish and therefore all things meaningful?

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