In my confession not too long ago I admitted that I broke down and bought an iPhone. I have to admit that I have really enjoyed it. It has almost become sinfully addictive. Not only does it do just about everything one would ever need, but those applications . . . those wonderful applications.

Well Apple lovers, the unthinkable happened. I have had many cell phones in my day and none of them ever stopped working. But last week things changed. The unfathomable. The, yes, impossible. My iPhone quite working. But this is just the beginning of my journey.

I knew there was something odd about Apple people, but I did not know just how far this musterion went. I first went to the AT&T dealer to have them fix my phone. Seems reasonable. Bought it from this store, take it back to them to have them fix it. Oh no. Not the case with Apple. The AT&T people acted like I was crazy to even walk through those doors with such a thought. They quickly informed me that I have to go to the “Apple Store.” They also were quick to let me know that there was only two in the state. Their hands off approach (plausible deniability?) sent me thirty minutes away to the closest Apple Store.

Here is where the story really begins . . .

When I walk in . . . (I am not sure how to describe this). Back up. I remember going to India on a mission trip and to teach at a seminary. In preparation, they informed me that there would be a profound sense of evil that you could feel right when you entered the city. Well, I never felt such the entire time that I was there. Why? I don’t know, but I am starting to think that it was because the evil was at the Apple Store. I walked in to see the idols. Everything in the store was Apple. Chills went down my spine and all I could think was that I was not welcome.

The workers were very nice. I have been watching the series “Lie to Me” so, I now know how to read expressions. These people were truly happy to be there. In other words, they were not forced and there were no military grade ankle bracelets. In fact, I think they may have been volunteers. Think the polar extreme of Subway workers. I don’t know if they ever left. I tried to peak in the back to see if there were beds, cots, or polls on which they hung upside down, but they were very protective of the “back of the store.” Nevertheless, they were very helpful, but their assumption about me was their downfall. You see, they assumed that I was just like them. They assumed that I was part of The Cult.

This delusion lasted for a while until I began to toy with them a bit. In a discussion about my ministry, I told them that I could not use Apple because it could not do everything that a PC could do.

I don’t know how to describe their reaction. There were three of them standing around me. It is not as if I thought that they were going to attack (for Apple people are not really tough), but it was more like the look of a computer when you tell it to open a file and the software is not present. You know, the screen that comes up that says, “Could not open file. Please choose a program to open it.” Only they did not attempt to choose. They just stared at me with those eyes. Eyes glazed over. Eyes that did not get it. Stepford Wives type eyes. Here, I actually took out my working camera phone and took a picture.


Anyway, as I went to have them take a look at my phone, I was asked if I had an appointment? What is this place? A dentist’s office? Anyway, I did not, and they put me on “standby.” While on standby, a cult member approached me and asked if I had been helped. I said yes, but I told him the problem anyway. He said, “Let me see your phone.” I gave it to him and he went into “the back.” I have no idea what he was doing and I did not really care. I just wanted a working phone. He came back and said it was working. No explanation, just, “Its working.”

Well, the evil sense that I had felt was not subsiding at all. At one point, I though I heard whispers—whispers of men, women, and children. I could not make out much of what they said except for one phrase, “appelos kurios.” I did not know what it meant. I quickly left and did not look back.

After I got home I washed my clothes (with bleach) and took a shower. Then I took another.

However, the same day, my phone quit working again. I am not sure what to do.

Should I go back?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    40 replies to "My Trip to "The Apple Store""

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Michael, you’ve got issues. I had no idea you were so insecure about being a PC guy! But when you have to accuse Apple people as being in league with the devil, you sound like a KJV-only conspiracy theorist! But seriously, if Apple groupies are really a cult, then maybe they are in league with the devil. After all, your iPhone broke–twice! And that NEVER happens to real Apple devotees! My best suggestion would be to call a priest and get the demon exorcised so that you can go to back to playing games on your phone. (;-)

    • C Michael Patton

      Dan, I must ask your forgiveness. I need to show more grace understanding the “weaker bretheren” stuff. Let me assure you that this was a joke. I just forgot how sensitive the groupies are. 🙂

    • Lisa Robinson

      Michael, don’t be fooled. The guy fiddling with your phone actually rigged it so you’d come back and they can beat you into submission to “their way”. Of course, they think you are misguided since their’s is the only truth. I mean, have you ever talked to an Apple owner? They ALL give the same speech…scary.

    • rick

      i love the apple store … i go there even when i don’t need things … and now i even type without capitalizing … can i be saved?

    • Sarah Mae

      LOL! Love this!

      I think you should go back, maybe even sport an I heart a PC shirt or something.


    • Eric S. Mueller

      I like going to the Apple store. If I could actually fit one of their computers into my family’s budget, I’d gladly get one. I’m probably going to get an iPhone soon because I’m fed up with rebooting my Windows Mobile phone 4 or more times a day just to do simple things like text and email with it.

      Apple at least does display right. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to Best Buy to find that none of their computers have an Internet connection. At the Apple store, they have tons of iPhones and every one is active. You can pick it up and play with it, and you could probably even make phone calls with it although I haven’t tried. Wal-mart has 2 iPhones on display and neither of them has a data connection.

    • Terry L Fritts

      I personally enjoy the genius bar.

      Actually I really do like my Mantis Bible application on my iPhone. Especially now that I have NIV, MSG, NASB and a couple of commentaries.

    • Jason Fritts


      Good lines in your post … funny!
      my favorites are:

      “Lie to Me” … me to. I’m getting good as Cal.

      Nice … “polar extreme of Subway workers”

      “back of the store” … you can get back there. Take your kids, have them “pretend” to need to go use their restroom and the AppleCult will allow you in the back but they will keep several volunteers in that area and a watchful eye.

      BTW, is your phone completely dead? Won’t turn on at all? Have you tried re-synching to iTunes? Also, I use both … a MAC can do what a PC can … next main machine I get will be a MAC and yes, I’m moving to the ‘dark side’. Windows is killing me.

    • Greg Smith

      This is hilarious. My daughter is a member of this wacky cult. She has a laptop but not the phone yet. Our family plan has always been with Verizon. However, she is getting married in May to a man with an iPhone. He is already talking about how she will get an iPhone once she gets married. I suspect it is her motivation for selecting this guy! I have toyed with the idea of having her kidnapped for deprogramming.

    • Nisin

      What’s really funny to me is seeing your obsessively hateful post against Apple in

    • Damian

      Dan’s right. Break out the holy water and call Max von Sydow!


    • Lisa Robinson

      Greg…LOL! Just know that the IPhone is the last stage. Once she has that, she’s in….there is no turning back

    • Doug Campbell

      I’ve seen this problem before. You’ve been raised as a PC fundy. Growing up in that world it’s very difficult to see there could be another way, a way free from the walls of fear of others that are different, free from service packs, and blue screens. A place where the common thinking is to not get caught up in all the dogmas behind the OS and how it all works, but rather just enjoy the fact that it just does work! The bottom line is application, enjoyment, and fulfillment to yourself and others around you. After all, isn’t that what a computer should really do?
      I sit before my Imac worshipping daily, syncing seamlessly with my iphone, and legacy ipods. To the right is my PC, still booting up. In the last decade or so Microsoft has realized that the emergent thinking of Apple has caught the attention of the postmodern generation. They unashamedly copy things like widgets, spotlight, iphoto….and now even the Apple’s toolbar to appeal to this generation, while still denouncing Apple in public. The culture sees this as nothing short of computer hypocrisy. But I understand the struggle that Microsoft is dealing with trying to hold on to the old, realizing they have to change, but so afraid of what that might look like. It’s easier and safer to keep with what has worked in the past, but they realize the younger generation is strangely absent from the PC stores. Older PCc stores like Circuit City are closing their doors while Apple stores are busting at the seams with young people. Old PC fundys separate themselves as far as they possibly can, some even holding on to older versions like windows 95 because they would say it served their parents well and has served them well. They consider this Apple liberalism a cult that has strayed far from the tradition handed down from Bill Gates. I do hope that someday the walls can be brought down and that we can all see that we can agree on the essentials of hard drive, mouse, keyboard, and flat screens with HD resolution and allow for diversity of expression in the non-essentials like OS type. Maybe then and only then can we live in peace and focus on the applications that we all have in common.
      But, I digress, back to your feelings about the Apple Store. Perhaps it is a reaction to my fundy upbringing, but I truly enjoy just being at the Apple store. There’s an energy there, a fresh moving of power and excitement that can’t be denied. It kind of feels like I’m doing something wrong, denying my PC upbringing, but there is something powerful that keeps pulling me back in. We are blessed to have 3 stores in our area and I go to each one depending on the training and trainers that I like. I don’t feel the need to commit to any specific one. I have to admit that I had similar feelings as you did when I first walked in the door. I felt different, out of place, and I couldn’t talk the language. It wasn’t like Best Buy, or Costco, or even Frys and I knew I wasn’t ready to go to the very efficient, but very impersonal Amazon for my computer needs. I needed others to help me in my journey. I found the greeters at the Apple store very warm and it seemed they truly cared about me. They showed me around, gladly stopping to talk about anything that I had questions about. I could see in their eyes that they had something that I wanted. Then we went in and sat at the “genius bar”. I was bit intimidated at first with the knowledge and teaching of these elders of Apple. Questions that I thought could never be answered or that had kept me from embracing Apple earlier were easily addressed and I was assured that many people had the very same questions. I could feel the emotion sweep over me and I knew I could never go back to PC world. I still had to work my secular day job in a PC world, but I knew I was no longer of that world. Anyway, they quickly took me aside, shook my hand, took my credit card for a monthly tithe to “mobile me”, and described to me a path to follow to help me grow as a new Mac user. They did say the monthly charge was optional, but if I truly wanted all that Apple had for me, then I would join in and I could be sure that I would reap 100 fold from the commitment. In addition, I could send up to 20 GB of data on ahead and lay these treasures up in the internet cloud. All this Apple had already done for me if I just let go of my PC, had the faith to believe, and claim it all for myself.
      They then showed me to another area where I was told could freely come in each week, or even each day to receive training along with a small group of other new converts. I could even bring my unconverted friends and know they would be welcomed and I wouldn’t have to personally answer all their questions. I sat down in an ongoing class and felt a little awkward at first. But today, several years later, some of those very same people are my closest friends and we continue the journey together. We also look forward to the days predicted when all things become new again and we will move from OSX Leopard to the Lion of California OS.
      With all the confusion and divisions in the computer world I am glad that thanks to the internet (thank you Al Gore) that training has been developed that can reach people across the world. We can now stream classes directly from Apple, where experts can teach everything from Intro classes, to the deeper things of technology and all of this in community. We no longer believe that we can do technology in isolation, reading and interpreting the manuals for ourselves. People from all backgrounds can learn together and then gather in online communities to blog and discuss their struggles as well as their victories. I do believe this is what our disillusioned culture needs to see lived out in us if we are to impact the world. A tearing down of the walls that would say “I am of Steve Jobs, or I am of Bill Gates”. They need to see that we who call ourselves computer users can truly focus on the essentials the bind us together in the Great Tradition, while still appreciating and learning from our different perspectives that all give color and clarity to our common pursuit.
      And finally, the only conclusion I can come to regarding the inconceivable “my iphone quit working” that you mentioned is that it must be user error and that you need community to help you through this time of questioning and doubt. I am praying for healing for you Michael, but even more that your faith might increase, and despite the current trial know that you will come out stronger and that iphone OS 3.0 is coming out this summer.

      A fellow traveler,
      P.S. Yes, I wasted my free lunch hour on this…..

    • Howard Nowlan


      Perhaps it was all a front for Cyberdyne…
      or worse yet, the vanguard of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation,
      prepping us for the arrival of the ‘plastic pal whose fun to be with’ –
      but don’t be troubled, according to ‘the Guide’ (see one Douglas Adams), they’ll be first against the wall when the revolution comes!

      I use an Imac every day – for any visual media projects, they are the best, but my ‘ol Windows 95 PC still chugs merrily in the background.

    • I suspect they were closet Arminians.

    • Please delete this comment.

    • Philip D

      Two words for ya, “Windows Mobile.”

      Oh, and Obama is violently pro-Apple, so… Need I say more?

    • Brett

      Reminds me of my trip to the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta.

    • Jerry Brown

      I’m one of a group at Stonebriar who can be seen madly thumb-scrolling to one verse or another on their iPhone to keep up with Pastor Swindoll during the sermon. So, I’d be hesitant to call it a tool of the cults. I even have the last 3 months of sermons notes in the note pad! From the 9:30 service, I post a photo of church attendance to TwitPic via Twitter, then post the sermon notes to my Facebook account. Then I check my Mint account to make sure I’m tithing the right amount right before the plate swings by. This is all perfectly orthodox, but just to make sure, I’ll text Rhome during the next service and ask.

    • Michael

      Only real problem I have with Apple is they stink for computer gaming and cost wayyyy too much. I just bought a Asus laptop for $900 with specs you can’t even get from the most expensive Macbook Pro (i.e. Geforce 9800GS graphics card) at $2700. The prices on the desktop side are even more outrageous for what you get. It seems most people are as illiterate about computers as they are about the Bible and don’t realize that Apple’s and PC’s use the same hardware – only difference is the software and a shiny box.

      Otherwise as a software company and consumer electronics company Apple is fine. I own an Ipod personally and love it.

    • C Michael Patton

      Cyberdine!! That is awesome. For those of you who don’t know, see here:

    • Bill

      Doug-so funny! I had tears in my eyes.

    • Rey

      The Apple Geniuses tend to resort to one of two things:
      1) Check if it got wet (User error)
      2) Reset it with a hard reboot (info here)

      After that they try to escalate the case if you press them but its usually better to do that sooner than later. Once the warranty is up there is no amount of slain lambs that will propitiate the Apple God.

    • C Michael Patton

      Ha, good to know.

    • Peter

      It’s kind of banal to call Apple users members of a cult.

      I’ve yet to see the evidence that macs are more expensive, since the evidence is they are not, or if they are, the situation is overstated.

      Yeah, if you NEED a 9800GS, then you need a PC, because the closest Mac costs about $2000 and doesn’t have an 9800GS. But that ASUS weighs 40% more, has a slower processor, a crappy lower-res screen (The LED screen on the Mac blows away everything else, especially in sunlight), only has a 100MB Ethernet connector, etc etc.

    • Damian

      Cyberdine!!! Ah ha! So Michael and Howard ADMIT to having watch R-rated films! Next you’ll be telling us that you listen to that new fangled, devil worshiping, “rock and roll” that’s all the rage with the kids these days. Please report to the pastor’s office for biblical council and a copy of “Every Mans Battle”.


      PS – My allusion to The Exorcists above… err.. umm… somebody told me about it… yeah, that’s what it was! Someone in a… ummm… “discernment ministry”! Yeah!


    • From The Balcony

      So funny Michael. I just got my first Iphone and I pray I don’t have the experience you did! I used to teach computer classes to elementary students….with Apples of course….and hands down, I prefer PCs. I also used Apples for a video-editing/journalism class I took a couple of years ago. Even though it does a good job at that, I still prefer PCs…..

      Of course, if we were real geeks like my son-in-law, we would use Linux…..

    • Michael

      First off I think your in denial, either that or they’ve already gotten to you. Secondly I never expected to be in a Apple vs. PC war on a Theology site – thank you Michael Patton. Finally since you need proof I will oblige

      This is an Asus similar to what I have but with an upgraded screen (yes I’m aware the screen that came with mine is not that great – but I hook up to a 22″ for gaming anyhow), and processor for $1300

      This is a Macbook Pro with a slower processor, 2GB less memory, 70 GB less Hard Drive space, a lower resolution screen, and (most importantly) a weaker video card for $2000

      That’s a difference of $700 and the Macbook is slower on every account save a cool, and yes quite light, case.

    • Chris Bruno


      Glad to see you’ve realized “the dark side”. Now if I can only convince you that U2 is NOT a christian band! :o)

      I too don’t drink the Apple “koolaid” – I will admit up front I’m Windows SysAdmin (15 years now). MS isn’t perfect…I’ll be the first to admit that.

      But I think a lot of the subsequent posts were accurate…Apple followers are very much cultish – they eat, sleep & breathe apple. Why? It isn’t virus free & they have their own security patches which MS is scathed over (why the hypocrisy???).

      The MAC commercials are even funnier – if they’re SOOOO much better, why do they sit with less than 8% market share? I’ve heard all of the arguments, pro & con. I think they both (Apple & MS) have their strong points. But when you lay it on the line…while it may be “cool” to have certain apple products….I’ll keep half (or sometimes more) my money in my pocket & buy an intel-related MS product. I like my money in MY pocket, not Apples…while they may have similar intel-related hardware, trying to find an equally appropriated MAC alternative to a PC can be difficult…save your money & buy a PC…and then donate the difference to the CREDO house! (you owe me for the plug Michael…) :o)

      “…it’s His delight to give you your desire….it’s His desire to set your life ON FIRE!”

    • Michael L.

      Thanks everyone, quite enjoyable 😉

      Used to own a Mac. Nothing better for graphic design and desktop publishing. Nowadays.. too expensive for moi.

      CMP, I saw a T-shirt with a “Pear” logo on it once. Wear that on your next visit. Would be too funny !

      And on the phone front… it’s going to be iPhone vs. BlackBerry.

      I really wonder if the entire mobile industry is now being run by fruits ….


    • mbaker

      I own an a Mac, which I dearly love for its ease of use, and which doesn’t usually have the problem with security issues that Windows does. However, here lately for the first time in years, I’ve had some serious issues with my operating system. In trying to get it resolved I’ve had to go through about as much hierarchy as one would to get the president of the United States!

      The Apple folks have long, in my opinion, been way too confident about their superiority over Windows. So were the makers of the Titanic, who said the ship was unsinkable, yet, unthinkably, it went down on its first voyage.

    • Susan

      Doug, Thank you for the moving and inspirational testimony. I too joined a few months ago. 8)

    • Peter

      Not fair Michael, you’re comparing an Asus on special with an Apple at retail.

      I could bring the Apple down to $1739.

      You’ve probably never used a laptop with an LED screen. It’s amazing how much this generation of Macs screens blow away the last gen with ordinary LCD screens like most laptops have. Unless you’ve spent a day with one, or gone into broad daylight with one, you can’t know.

      If you need a 9800GS that is twice as thick, with a crap screen and full of spyware, and you like reinstalling Windows every 6 months, I grant you that this Asus is a good deal.

    • Rey

      Patton will soon discover (if he hasn’t already) that conversations like “Reconciling Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom” or “Calvinism vs. Arminianism” or even “The Authority of the Church vs. The Authority of God’s Word” all pale (a deathly colorless value) in comparison to the brimming ire and wrath generated within discussions regarding Mac Versus PC.

      Sycophants form each camp will rise up, like crypt creatures during a Michael Jackson video, and parade about pumping their stats. Some of the more hyper will cite their Mac version of James White; others will turn their noses at the whole thing.

      A Mediating Theology may even arise, those who (sagely) suggest that both systems are sub-par and any true Thinker would put his energies and resources into Open Source ala Debian, Fedora, et. al.

      In the end, no one will be happy; your iPhone will still tempt you with its uber sexiness and the geeky-online hordes will go silently into the still, dark- e-night.

    • Damian

      “Some of the more hyper will cite their Mac version of James White…”




    • Samson

      This will put it all into perspective. I say check out the whole episode.

    • katelynn

      you always go against apple! p.s. is that picture real?

    • Michael


      1. You assume too much. I have used LED based LCD’s, though not on a laptop. My friend (who does computer graphic design) has a nice 24″ sized one. They are nice and noticeably better than the current CCFL based displays, but not worth paying 700 dollars for unless you are a graphics artist, photographer or something of the sort that demands the highest possible color gamut and absolutely accurate colors. This does not describe a person who uses their Lappy for surfing the internet, writing papers, and playing video games.

      2. The Asus I linked to is not on special. That is Newegg’s normal price. It has been the same for months. The previously listed price was the price from 2 months ago before a price drop (two words that I know are foreign to the ears of a Apple person). This is why I compared it to a retail Apple and didn’t go looking for a discounted Apple (which btw is highly unusual). Still >$400 difference – is that really worth an LED LCD??? I don’t think so. It’s just classical Apple fanboyism – find one thing that is better and use that one thing to justify a massive difference in price.

      PS – Dell has been selling lappies with LED LCD’s on them for quite a while. Word is you can get one for around 1200 at the moment.

    • Matthew

      It’s a similar story here (oz) when ipods – when you buy one from (say) david jones (up-market department store) you get a bundle of papers that basically say “don’t bring it back here if it breaks”. I’m not quite sure how they get away with it – australia has some pretty tight trade practice laws – but there it is.

      I’m used to it, though. I’ve been an apple customer on-and-off for a long, long time, and I’ve been uniformly horrified by some of their after-sales policies. I only buy PCs for myself these days, but I have bought an apple laptop for a friend – I just made sure I added as much warranty as I could get. My nieces all got ipod nanos last christmas (I’m the absentee uncle, so I basically buy goodwill each christmas) and the same deal applied – lots of warranty.

      I’ve now had two ipods die for vague reasons – one just went nuts and refused to turn off (thus draining the battery) and the other one’s hard drive jammed up. I buy all our ipods with “points” on my credit card – and the routine seems to be that I get enough points to buy a new one around the time that an existing one ceases to function. Actually, that’s a bit unfair – I’m about one ipod ahead on that system at the moment 🙂 My ipod is fantastic, though. I can’t imagine not having one now.

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