The Western dream… no servitude

I was in year 12 when I first heard about ‘The American Dream.’ We were studying Of Mice and Men and my teacher was explaining George and Lennie’s pursuit of land to call their own as the ultimate American dream.

This goal has become the veritable ‘pot at the end of the rainbow’ for much of western society; to own a piece of land has become both the American and Australian dream. We may have masters at work, but at home we are slaves to no one. Even our political systems are built on the premise that the common man does not serve the leader, but the leader serves the common man.

As a result, one of the greatest challenges I face is that of servitude to God. No longer does my generation feel any real duty to ‘King and Country.’ In fact, if I’m honest, the concept of truly living my life in servitude to anyone seems foreign to me.

There are many who have laid down their lives for our liberty, and for that I am grateful, but I am afraid that it has created a dangerous illusion. I struggle to lay down my life in full servitude to God, because I have been falsely led to believe that my life is my own. Not only to I fail to see that I am a slave to sin or self, but I have lost all comprehension of the honour it is to serve a great master.

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My new shopping challenge

bohemian-chic_19-130070 I always thought that shopping ethically meant wearing hippie linens and sandals and frequenting Oxfam.

I found it to be a bit of a moral dilemma. While I felt an underlying guilt over my vague knowledge of child and factory worker exploitation, I also didn’t see how I could commit to tie dye and scratchy cottons.

Then I came across Baptist World Aid’s ethical fashion guide, and the pieces started to fall in to place. They produce an annual guide that rates every day Australian brands on their labour rights and living wages. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that when I first came across it, I still thought it was a bit beyond me, but after quitting shopping entirely for a year, I began to wonder why I couldn’t make these changes.

I’ll be honest and say, I’m not yet committing for life. I’ve been tragically dependent on products that come to me via slavery and poverty, but I’m making a start. I don’t know if I’ll make a long-term difference, but I’ve decided that’s no reason not to try.

So this year, at least, I’m sticking to buying only from stores that have a green B rating or higher. That means boycotting Myer, Portmans and Valleygirl, and embracing Witchery, Sportsgirl, Cotton On and Kmart.

I’d love you to join me!

You can download the Baptist World Aid Ethical Shopping Guide here, or for a more comprehensive list (that rates on other things too) download the ‘Good on You’ app.