I confess. This morning I went to my local AT&T store to see if I could get my hands on the new iPhone. My wife and I are both due for upgrades and her phone is on it’s last leg.

No sooner had I stepped into line behind a few normal folks and quite a few others with blankets and bedding and lots of coffee (the not normal folks), than a young man got in line behind me.

His nervous energy seemed to come from excitement about “the greatest technological offering in history” according to my new ‘line buddy.’ He rambled on guessing how many phones the store might have, why he was the only guy in line with an Android (soon to be replaced) and mountains of advice on which phone I should get.

I quickly and quite accidentally became part of a subculture. I was on the fringe no doubt, not quite fitting in. After all I was showered, not wearing pajama pants and probably the only person with no need to be there.

After about 20 minutes I realized this was going to be giving up a good chunk of my life so I departed figuring I can wait a few weeks for the phones to arrive in the mail. But if I’m honest, a small part of me was disappointed. Driving away I felt like I missed something…almost as if I was leaving some new community behind me.

USA Today interviewed David Breece, who waited 18 hours at the Georgetown Store in Washington, D.C. and was the first customer in line.

“Being the first guy in the store is pretty exciting,” said Breese, who had been in line 18 hours. “You have everyone looking at you, cheering you on. You feel like you’re really part of something that’s special.”

What is that? Did a phone do that? Maybe I feel left out, but I wonder what it says about our culture when what makes us feel special is spending $200 on a new phone. When the new headlines for half the day are filled with stories like these while people starving in Africa, turmoil in the Middle East and the second worst US drought in history drop below the fold and off the feeds.

Sometimes I feel guilty for being a part of it all. Other times I get angry and want to start prophesying (don’t worry…I can’t and won’t). Most of the time, I pray for wisdom, balance and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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