July 11, 2020

Shoplifting at Nordstrom

20150908_145904 (1)The other day, I was trying on some clothing at Nordstrom’s Rack and noticed their warning sign about shoplifting. I think it’s interesting that they begin with “Don’t steal” which is an abbreviated form of the eighth commandment “You shall not steal” found in Exodus 20:15. They follow that with “It’s bad karma” an assimilated concept of karma that Buddhists would define as “action driven by intention which leads to future consequences” which yield good or bad fruit in this life or the next depending on the deed. In the Judaeo-Christian faith, which holds to the fact that we have just one life and then comes the judgment, the Apostle Paul, said “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7-8;Leviticus 25:3-5). The Nordstrom’s sign ends by stating, “Plus, shoplifters will be prosecuted.” Evidently, whoever put together this warning is weak on their understanding of the Buddhist concept of Karma and simply can’t wait til karma catches up with the thief. If they really believed in their religion/philosophy wouldn’t they just say, “It’s bad karma to take articles without paying for them?” So, they lean on the Law that tries and prosecutes the shoplifter in this life. I guess they just can’t wait. It affects their bottom line.

When you analyze the sign, it’s quite a confusing and mixed bag of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism. An example of the collision and intermingling of religious language and terminology. And if we in Christian circles think we can get away with using pop terms, we need to think again. I recall sitting in a large well known evangelical church where the college pastor, commenting on how great their summer camp was saying, “I thought I died and went to Nirvana.” Language has meaning, a fact that is not lost on those who are attempting to hijack true love and introduce their own abominations to the mainstream who often simply haven’t a clue.

About jstephens

James C. Stephens was a graduate of a Buddhist Study Academy and a Buddhist leader for fourteen years (1970-1984). In 1978, he married Elizabeth, a Jewish Buddhist at a Buddhist temple. Following an accident in Japan in 1981 while on a Buddhist pilgrimage followed by an intense three year spiritual search through various other faiths and practices, James and Elizabeth made the decision to become disciples of Jesus Christ. James graduated in 1999 with a MA in Intercultural Studies from Fuller School of Intercultural Studies and in 2010, launched http://www.worldviews101.com/ which offers a twelve week course "A Christian Perspective on the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism."

He and his wife enjoy Landscape architecture, gardening, making kombucha and kefir, film, screenwriting, literature, and music.

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