In a recent news story, recreational retailer REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), announced that they will officially close their doors during the upcoming annual “Black Friday” shopping frenzy. Most of their 12,000 employees will receive a paid day off, as president and CEO Jerry Stritzke said, “We’re closing our doors, paying our employees to get out there.”
Of course, other than some of the more obvious promotional sidebars surrounding their October 27 statement, (including the simultaneous launch of an updated logo, and a new dedicated companion website), I can only speculate as to the motivation behind Stritzke’s strategy for his company’s Thanksgiving weekend (furthermore, I don’t have the room here to go into why REI, a co-op, is uniquely set up to execute this type of business decision, etc.—talk amongst yourselves).
But what struck me is the implied motivation lurking, at least, on the surface of this story—the guts to be counter-to-culture, and to take a stand. To Stritzke’s credit, he did say, “We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand, and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles.”
I love the notion of consciously making a decision to go outside the boundaries, beyond our walls—REI is taking it, well, literally—and as Christians, I think we should, too. As Cody Carnes of Gateway Worship puts it in our November 1 Song Devotional feature, “It was never God’s plan for us to live with walls. His original design was for us to live in Eden—a place of freedom and intimate communion with Him…”
The world constantly tugs at us to get up at 2:00 a.m. the morning after Thanksgiving, and to stand in a freezing line for some kind-of “deal of the century.” The King of Kings is simply knocking at our door, inviting us to go on a daily journey with Him—outside any conceivable walls—for a welcoming covenant on eternity.