If The Shoe Fits . . . Wear It

The saying, “If the shoe fits, wear it,” was a comment that people would make if a description or an attribute was assigned to an individual (or group), and although the individual might be offended by the comment, if it was accurate he or she ought to own up to it.  In many ways, it was a way to get the offended party to take a second look at themselves or their character in order that they might change it.  That no longer seems to be the case in this day and age.  Nowadays, evidently if the shoe fits . . . fight for it, steal it, or even kill for it, but don’t worry – your character is not in question.

I am not sure why I am shocked by anything that happens anymore.  It seems by now I would understand the fact that people will do anything.  This was once again proven by the response of people upon the release of the Nike, Air Jordan Retro XI.  I have to admit that it DID NOT surprise me that people would kill for shoes.  People have killed for less, but what did surprise me was the response from community activists and “ministers” (There is a reason the second group was put in quotes).  The response was . . . simply put . . . pure stupidity.  If you are not aware, these so-called leaders in the Houston area called for Nike to lower the price of the shoes so that more people could afford them and that way, perhaps, the violence would be curbed.

Let me begin my response by saying, please remove the name “minister” or “reverend” from your names if you considered this to be wise response.  What an embarrassment for those who have truly been called by God to be ministers and secondly what an embarrassment for the city of Houston.  None of those calling for Nike to lower the prices will read this, but for those who do, let me tell you the problem.  The problem is not Nike.  The problem is the character of those who feel that it is their right to own these shoes and their prerogative to enact harm on people in order to get them because of jealousy, envy, and coveting.  This type of behavior should not only be discouraged and punished, but the leaders ought to be ashamed of themselves in regard to their cowardly response and/or their ignorance.

Let me simply ask a few questions.

  1. Where would this end?  Should car dealerships lower the prices of cars so that the majority could own the nicer models?  Should home builders lower the price of homes so that all could live in the nicest neighborhoods?  Should Apple lower the price of IPhones, IPads, IPods, and while we are at it, MacBooks so that everyone can have them?  Cause I gotta tell you, I cannot afford a Mercedes nor some of the homes I have walked through.  As a matter of fact, I am still working on a Dell computer that I bought over 7 years ago.
  2. How is this any different than what we saw during the “occupy” movements?  There seemed to be a plethora of different people with differing views at these rallies, and yet; no one seemed to be able to specifically say exactly why they were protesting.  Although . . .  one theme that seemed to resound over and over again was, “We don’t like that those people (1%) have more than us (99%).”  What was completely lost in this temper tantrum is the fact that the United States has only 4.48% of the world’s population, and yet; we (even the 99% in the USA) live better than THE VAST majority of the world.
  3. Where is contentment taught as a virtue?  As I have stated before, I am not the richest nor the poorest. Knowing this truth presents me with several choices about why or how I could obtain more, but I also have the choice to be content with where I am and what I have.  If you are always worried about what you don’t have, it is impossible to enjoy what you do have.  If I am not mistaken, we just celebrated Thanksgiving.  It was impossible to be thankful if you were bitter about what you didn’t have.
  4. Who determines what is equal?  This is actually more difficult than one might believe.  Let’s say that you did redistribute the wealth, what are you going to do with the intangibles?  (If you are not aware of what I mean, I suggest reading my Thanksgiving blog)  Even though the wealth is redistributed, you can’t make all things equal.  It is simply impossible.  Would these same activists then claim that those with more intelligence, talent, business savvy, and other abilities lower their competence in order for all to be equal?  Don’t be shocked when I tell you, some of that is being done in academics and athletics at this present time.

Where were the ministers leading their people to The Word?  Scripture presents a much different picture than their outcry.  We are told that the King of kings and the Lord of lords LOWERED Himself.  He became a helpless child and died on the cross for you and me.  Paul tells us in Philippians 2 that we are to have this type of mind.  It was Christ Jesus:

Who, though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.”  Philippians 2:6

Again, where are the local ministers proclaiming this truth?  Instead of confronting those who were grasping at wealth (shoes), no matter the cost, the loudest voices essentially proclaimed, “Lower the prices so they can grasp whatever they want.”

Firstly, you might not be aware of this, but there is not one time in scripture where the rich are condemned . . . for being rich.  For those who have plenty (That includes most, if not all who are reading this, including myself), we see how we ought to love others who have less in 1 John 3:

17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

So, it is clear that if we are in Christ and Christ is in us, our heart should be moved by the need of the poor and we ought to give.  If we do not, then the passage is clear . . . God’s love does not abide in us.

Secondly, at no time in scripture are the poor told to go take from the rich because the rich have plenty.

Nike has never claimed to be a Christian organization or company.  It is a business.  The company makes a product and then sells it to a willing customer.  If the shoe price is too high, don’t buy it.  If there are no willing customers to pay the price, they will have to lower the cost.  Where were the activists and ministers proclaiming this simple rule of economics?  I saw on eBay, as I wrote this blog, Air Jordan Retro XI going for $340 and that was after 11 bids.  Perhaps, Nike made the price too low, because evidently some people are willing to pay over $300 for the shoes.

Here is the reality:

  1. Just because you have the shoes . . . you are not going to play like Jordan.  You could wear the shoes and you would still not be his equal?  Is that fair?
  2. In several years, if not several months, you are going to regret even paying the $200+ for the shoes.  Few things have a shorter life span than shoes for sports.  Perhaps you are thinking, “Paul, it’s a fashion thing” . . . My response, “Oh yeah, that will last.”  YIKES.

Do you know why the supplier can charge these ridiculous prices???  Because you, the customer (the demand) will pay it . . . and evidently, much more.  These shoes are so “worth it” that some are even ready to take another person’s life for them.

You see, the problem is not Nike.

The problem is a self-centered society that values the non-essentials as if it were life itself and an entitlement belief that it deserves and should get whatever it wants.

The problem is leaders (activists and ministers) who are too blind to call these riots, fights, and killings over something so petty as shoes unjust, unrighteous, and immoral.

This truth might upset some, but IF THE SHOE FITS, WEAR IT.

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  1. Scott Jaeger says:

    Paul, I agree that killing someone for a pair of shoes is a crime and must be punished. However I disagree with you about your criticism of Occupy Wall Street. Yes the movement was unorganized and lacked the crisp, polish of a well funded group like the Tea Party. However I don’t believe they are looking for the whole world to be equal. Wages for middle/working class people have stagnated for over thirty years rising only about a dime in hourly wages. After the 2008 banking crisis many banking firms received interest free loans in order to remain solvent and to keep important credit markets open. These firms did not keep markets open. Some of them used this money to pay bonuses. Some acquired weaker firms. Not a single person has been arrested for plunging 100 million people worldwide (according to the World Bank) into poverty.

    However Occupy people were routinely beaten, pepper sprayed, and arrested for protesting. Many of these people are fresh out of college and can’t find a job or have lost their job. Corporations have moved millions of jobs to China and beyond to chase $1 an hour labor. We still have 50 million people (1 of every 6 people) with no access to medical care.

    Since 9/11 we’ve spent 2 to 3 trillion dollars in Iraq/Afghanistan with little end in sight.
    5000 Americans dead (more than on 9/11) and lest we forget we’ve killed 100 thousand to 500 thousand (depending which report) you read in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Despite the beating handed to middle and working class people the rich have done incredibly well in the past 30 years with many new tax breaks favoring only the wealthy. Big money buys big influence and corporations craft legislation not the average person.

    I think you compared apples and oranges in your article. Occupy is really about economic survival. It’s also about having a voice because the average person has very little say in their own government anymore.

    • paullyle says:

      Scott,
      I believe the point of the blog is completely lost in your comment. The blog, “If the Shoe Fits . . . Wear it,” was not a referendum on the OWS movement and at no point did I comment on the Tea Party. The point of the blog was the sin of greed/coveting and the blindness of “church leaders” to address the issue. In other words, instead of condemning the killings AND the sin of coveting (that led to the killings) the leaders decided that the problem was the price of the shoes. In all their wisdom, leaders proclaimed that the solution was not a change of heart, but a change of price.

      Scott, if you would like to debate the integrity, or lack thereof, of the OWS movement, perhaps that is left for another day and another blog, but to put the OWS movement as simply a movement of honorable intentions is quite naive. Your bias is most clearly seen in your statement, “Yes, the movement was unorganized and lacked the crisp, polish of a well-funded group like the Tea Party.” Again, I never even mentioned the Tea Party in my blog, but you did not miss the opportunity attack the group in your text. In reality, I didn’t mention healthcare nor did I mention the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan. The fact that you believe you can address these very complex issues with 1 or 2 sentences is simply evidence of talking points, not true debate.

      The sins of greed, coveting, self-righteousness, or self-pity are not exclusive to any one group. It is rampant in both groups (liberal and conservatives). Those sins are present and active in my heart and soul . . . and yours as well Scott. You have claimed exactly what the community leaders and the activists have claimed . . . the problem is the “other guy.” May we realize and repent of the sin that is in our hearts and may we have leaders called by God who will first be men of repentance . . . and then be men who call others to do the same.

  2. Stephen Gordon says:

    Hey Paul:

    Somehow this reminds me of the latest Komen v. Planned Parenthood flap. Komen – a charity with the great cause of fighting breast cancer – had been giving to Planned Parenthood… which supports abortions. Pro-life people began finding out about it and stopped supporting Komen. Faced with that, and the fact that supporting PP has literally nothing to do with Komen’s mission, Komen decided to cease supporting PP.

    You would have thought that the world was ending for all the howls on the left. Apparently their cause has a right to Komen’s money. Rather than allowing Komen to focus on their core mission – and take money from we pro-lifers – they’d rather Komen die.

    And now it appears that Komen may have backed down. Sigh.

    Is there any character trait less attractive than a sense of entitlement to that which wasn’t earned?

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