The inventory of the stores where we shop determines to a large extent what we buy. We can’t get a soda at the auto parts store or a dress shirt at the coffee shop. We don’t furnish our contemporary living room by browsing at the antique store that sells only primitive style furniture.
So we should not be surprised that when our mind goes shopping in the vast warehouse store of contemporary culture, it picks up items of a different type and quality than the items available in the “store” of the Word of God. God’s word speaks to all parts of culture, but not all parts of culture adopt a Biblical perspective. Where we shop for ideas and truth dramatically determines what we believe.
Different kinds of stores also often sell the same items. We can buy a bottle of Coke at a supermarket or a pharmacy. In the same way, culture and Scripture can often state the same truths.
For example, both the broader American culture and Scripture express the belief that human life has value. However the level at which pop culture values human life greatly distinguishes it from biblical truth.
Shops often change their inventory. Gas stations used to sell fan belts and spark plugs. Few service stations today contain those items. The American culture “store” of the 1950s found living together outside marriage distasteful. Now our culture generally promotes that arrangement. The Biblical “store” inventory remains constant. Despite the acceptance of cohabitation in our culture, the scriptural view on such situations has not changed.
Just as we pay attention to where we shop for sodas and fan belts, we do well to distinguish our sources of morality and lifestyle. If we are shopping in what the American culture store sells–and thus getting our worldview from the media or from the discussions around the break table–we need to reflect on where we are shopping. We go to the Bible store to get God’s things.
Paying attention to where we shop is absolutely critical, not just for milkshakes and fan belts, but for the thoughts and actionswe accept as truth.