It’s become a yearly tradition for the Rabbit Room to join in the Black Friday madness, and I’ll be honest: there’s always a part of me that’s uncomfortable with it. Especially since we became a non-profit organization, I feel a degree of disparity when we jump wholeheartedly into something that seems so commercial.
In a recent staff meeting, the topic came up and we really asked ourselves why? Why participate? Should we? Is this appropriate? Is this participation in the madness of material culture in line with the Rabbit Room’s mission to develop spiritual formation and Christ-centered community through art, music, and story?
I think the answer we arrived at is something worth sharing with our readers, our members, our donors and supporters. And what it comes down to is one word: generosity.
One of the ideas that’s always nagging at the back of my head is that a creation, a work of art, whether a story or a song or a mug or a painting, isn’t really finished until it’s found its completion in someone who can receive it. And I like to think that’s where the Rabbit Room comes into the picture.
So yes, Black Friday. But not for profit. Instead, for the generous work of spreading the good and beautiful into the world.Pete Peterson
We love people who create for the goodness of it, and when we find things we love we want to share them with others, and we want to support those creators in such a way that they can continue to create good things and adorn the darkness of the world. These ideas inform almost every decision we make in the Rabbit Room. How do we care for artists? How do we care for those who receive their work? How do we allow that commerce of ideas and beauty to grow and thrive so that it gathers an ever greater audience around the great story at the heart of Creation itself?
So when we see a thing in the world like Black Friday that in some ways seems crass and commercial and material, I wonder if maybe we have a part to play in making that beautiful too. If people are going forth into the aisles and shelves of the internet in search of good things and good deals, might it not be part of our calling to ensure we present our options along with all the rest?
And here’s where I think we take real delight in the opportunity: This weekend is a chance for us to be generous with what we’ve been entrusted with. The Rabbit Room houses a wealth of good, good work by people who care deeply about their craft and their audience and the Kingdom, and on Black Friday we throw the virtual doors open and invite folks to taste and see. That seems like a right and good thing to me, and it’s a true pleasure when I see books and music and artwork that I love flying out of the store to be given to others as gifts. It makes me happy for the artists who created these works. It makes me happy for those who will receive them. And I trust that what we’re creating and offering is building our ability to continue putting good works into the world. It’s loving artists well. It’s loving the community well. It’s widening the circle and welcoming anyone who’s willing to come and gather around.
So yes, Black Friday. But not for profit. Instead, for the generous work of spreading the good and beautiful into the world.
Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.