Do You Worship at the Apple Store?

Maybe it’s worship. Maybe it’s a sign of our times. Maybe it’s indicative of our need for belonging. Maybe it’s an expression of our deep-seated longing for transcendence. Or, then again, maybe not.

Maybe it’s just good old-fashioned idolatry cloaked in a white box, wrapped in cellophane, lit up, and set on full display in all of its retail glory. But that’s just the product. What about the place, the temple that is the Apple store?

Journalist Sara Laskow asked the question “Is the Apple store a sacred place?” in her article last month “We Asked a Cultural Historian: Are Apple Stores the New Temples?. Laskow outlines her case, “Sacred pilgrimages and holy places are normal in the world of religion. Nowadays, we have Apple Release Day—the Feast of St. Jobs—when faithful customers gather outside Apple stores and await the renewal of a next generation iPhone.”

Do you think she’s being a little extreme?

I don’t know. I think she’s on to something. I thoroughly enjoy going to the Apple store. There’s generally about five employees for every shopper. You can call them Apple evangelists. They make you feel welcomed, if not pandered to. If you’re looking to belong this might scratch that itch.

A trip to Apple is usually a delightful time, unless there is a mile-long line of anxiety filled customers hoping to get whatever it is that is new before it is either old or out of stock. The store simply oozes with creativity and excellence, a couple of things I appreciate in spades. But I’ve never thought of the Apple store as a sacred space. Perhaps for some, this is the closest they will ever get to transcendence. Which makes me think there should be more than just Apple evangelists waiting to engage the enthralled patrons.

After all, the newest Apple product will quickly be replaced. But that nagging discontentment so localized in the human heart will never be satisfied with increasing one’s collection of gadgets. We were made for more. As C.S. Lewis said in his sermon The Weight of Glory, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”