Summary: If God is in it and we are in it with God... it will be okay.
Title: It Will Be Okay!
Thesis: If God is in it and we are in it with God… it will be okay.
The McDonaldization of Society was written by George Ritzer and published in 1995. In his book, he asserts that society tends to take on the characteristics of a fast food restaurant. The idea is to rationalize everything down to the most efficient way of doing something… moving to more predictable and ultimately controlled outcomes.
He cites four primary components to McDonalization:
1. Efficiency or the optimal method of accomplishing a task. Note the salad bar or the ATM in which business gets the customer to pay to make their own salad and conduct their own banking.
2. Calculability or the ability to quantify outcomes rather than subjectify them. Reference Big Mac not Good Mac. Sales…
3. Predictability or standardization. Reference movie plots Die Hard, Rambo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mission Impossible… the underdog wins and the villain loses, the guy gets the girl, the ending is happy.
4. Control or standard and uniform employees or replacement of human by non-human technologies. Reference computerized programs and robotics in production. Merchandisers are busy replacing people with technology. Area big box stores like Home Depots and King Soopers, have eliminated clerks and cashiers, replacing them with scanners which simplifies their lives but complicates our so that we pay for the privilege of scanning, swiping, making our own change and bagging our own purchases.
The fast food industry still uses people, but they leave little to human initiative or decision. When I order, the human simply hits the button for the breakfast burrito meal with a medium iced tea with light ice. The order is flashed on a screen to the person on the line as well as the person who dispenses the drinks. The computer calculates the cost and dispenses the change, which the cashier hands to me through the window. The person on the line pours a pre-measured amount of egg product from an egg product container, adds a pre-measured crumble or two of sausage product from the sausage product container, some cheese from the cheese product container and wraps it in a soft tortilla shell and tosses it into the bin. The bagger drops in two napkins, a straw, and the burrito, hits the light ice button on the dispenser and fills my cup, snaps on a lid and hands it to me through the window. The server doesn’t even have to decide how much ice constitutes light ice. This is all done, in less time than it would take me to fry an egg at home.
No matter where I go in the world… if I order a burrito breakfast at McDonalds, the process from point A to Point Z is the same. It is efficient, calculable, predictable and controlled.
As a rule, I like predictability. I like it when the sun comes up and sets. I like it when I turn the key and my car starts. I like it when I adjust the thermostat and the house warms up. I like it when my debit card works at the gas pump. I like it when John Madden is the analyst for the NFLs Monday Night Football. Predictability is usually a good thing.
And, as a rule, we assume that God has an appreciation for the predictable, the planned and the well ordered. However, when it comes to some things, God casts McDonaldization aside and goes with what seems to be the least efficient, most unpredictable and out of control ways of doing things. In our story today, God opts to fully engage and go with the human element as the primary method of accomplishing his plan.
I. You can expect that God will do the unexpected.
In our story, an angel appeared to Mary and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Luke 1:28
Out of the blue, without any warning, an angel pops into Mary’s life.
This simple scenario could not have been all that simple. I can’t believe Mary was a ditzy valley-girl type. I can’t believe that Gabriel just popped in and said, “Hey, you’re gonna have the Son of God!” And then, Mary just flipped her blonde hair, smiled with glee and said, “Whatever!”
What was Mary doing when the angel appeared? Was she waking up after a night of sleep? Was she carrying laundry down to the creek to do the weekly wash? Was she coming home from the market? Was she swinging on a swing at the city park? Was she putting on her make-up? Was she listening to her i-Pod? Was she sitting with her bible opened on her lap… waiting for an angel to appear?
Why Mary? Do you think God placed a call down to Human Resources asking that they select a few candidates from among human kind whom he might consider to be the mother of his “only begotten Son?” Do you think most organizations would have chosen a newly engaged to be married peasant girl from a quaint little village in the hills of Galilee to be the mother of God’s Son? Surely, there were more striking bachelorettes with better brains, beauty and breeding for this high and noble cause…