As I read CEO Michael Jeffries’ quote about hiring and marketing practices at Abercrombie & Fitch (“We go after the attractive all-American kids with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes and they can’t belong. . .”Salon), I wonder what the world would be like if God thought like Michael Jeffries.
1. “For God so loved the world . . .” would obviously need to be rewritten. Maybe instead, t-shirts would read, “For God so loved a teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy-corner-of-the-small-town-world-where-I-live that . . .”, for surely, God would only love the part where I live. After all, I am one of the cool kids . . . aren’t I? God? Are you there? Hey, wait up for me, God!
2. God would come to earth as a trickster rather than a savior, doling out spiritual wedgies and inviting the nerds and geeks to the God parties just to make fun of them for the amusement of the really cool ones already there.
3. The heavenly banquet where all are welcome would more resemble a kegger where some (you know who you are) would only be allowed in to be made fun of and forced to drink themselves to death.
4. The only prisoners we would be required to visit would be those who got caught out in Wall-Street shenanigans. Everyone else would be on their own.
5. Mother Teresa would have run a sweat shop to make those fabulous A&F clothes rather than caring for the sick and she would be called Dude rather than Mother and the people that made the clothes would never be allowed to wear them.
6. Hell (and there definitely would be a Hell in Abercrombie world) would be populated by the worst dressed among us and thus on earth, our money would be spent on the most expensive clothing. Oh. Wait. Er. Never mind that bit, eh, God?
7. Heaven would be populated with young white American (translate USA) males and the rest of us lucky enough to be there would simply be stage props for the real heavenly host. Sadly, Mr. Jeffries will not be in the heaven he envisioned. At 67 years of age, he is just way too old to be cool.
Thankfully, the world is not high school and God is not the head cheerleader or captain of the football team. God loves them, but God is not them. It’s an important distinction.
And so, Lord, today I thank you for not being like a clothing CEO. I thank you for caring about all, including and especially the so-called least, among us. I thank you that heaven is not an A&F commercial. I thank you that there is no bottom line with you. I thank you for the love that is you, shared and bestowed on the geekiest and coolest among us, without any such silly distinction. Amen.