I have really been wrestling lately with the role of the modern Christian to “do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)” As I hear more and more about the oppressive results of consumerism caused in particular by our insatiable “more more more” western mentality (a mentality to which I easily succumb to, lamentably). I am moved to frustration with my aching culpability for the oppression of mothers, fathers, and children in our world. What is Christ calling us to do as we become less ignorant to the suffering caused by us?
What I can easily lose sight of in this pursuit (as I become self-atoning in finding every form of ethically sourced product there is, which is impossible), is that humanity can not atone for the sins of humanity. We know that Christ has already atoned for our sins (praise be to God), and thus this world will never be free from oppression until Christ comes again to restore His world and unite all things to Himself. He will raise his people from the dead and there will be no more oppression or suffering. That day will indeed be beautiful. Until then, though, what is our role as faithful followers of Christ in a consumeristic culture to interact with and care for the oppressed? How can we buy day to day items for our family in a culture where those items are made by exploited workers, many of whom are children?
I don’t have an answer. But, I have a starting point, and I would like to hear from you all if you have any resources, stores, businesses, or ideas with how we as christians in the west can seek to love God and love our neighbor in the midst of a culture that exploits.
Below are websites that provide lists of businesses that engage in ethical treatment of workers and manufacturers of clothing and other goods. Clothing retail is only one tiny facet of a huge problem, so If you have any suggestions of further businesses or resources, whether it be about clothes, food, or everyday household products, please comment below!
More Ethical Clothing Resources to check out:
Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren (Chapter 5, in particular)
[This chapter speaks of food, in particular, with regards to the same consumer mindset referenced above and the power of the Word and Sacraments to transform our view of nourishment and consumerism.]
“Word and sacrament–Scripture and Eucharist–transform my midweek leftovers. They transform me from a mindless consumer into someone capable of Eucharistic interdependence and gratitude. They teach me to receive these leftovers [of food]–and all of life–as a gift. And yet, they also serve as a judgment on my meal, a call to repentance for the systems of scarcity and injustice that I perpetuate in my average day. They call me to work toward a new way of being–and eating–that allows me to better know, love, and serve my neighbors. They challenge me to empty myself for others, knowing that I will be filled to the brim over and over again in the abundant economy of worship. In Christ there will always be enough for us, with so much left over.”
Tish Harrison Warren Liturgy of the Ordinary p. 73