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.

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The anti-butterfly effect

UntitledYou know why I often find it so hard to make decisions? It’s because I have this innate fear that I could somehow screw up my life. It stems from something called the butterfly effect.

We all know it. It’s that idea that the smallest decision could potentially have life changing consequences.

What if I don’t go to that party and the love of my life was there?

What if I drive through the back streets instead of the main road and someone runs a give way sign and hits me?

What if I take this job over that one and it makes all the difference in my career?

What if I go on a mission’s trip?

What if I stay home?

What if I marry him?

What if I don’t?

We so often live in fear that our lifelong happiness could hang on our next decision.

But guess what?

It doesn’t.

We’ve been doing a series at church about decision-making and the will of God, and as I was sitting there one night I was struck by the amazing reality of what governs my life.

It’s the anti-butterfly effect.

I can’t screw up the end game.

And my happiness isn’t dependent on circumstance.

Sure I can make dumb decisions and they can have consequences, that’s just common sense, but I can’t screw up my life, because my life is hid in Christ.

He is my anti-butterfly effect because He’s promised to work all things for my good.

Halloween and the Australian Christian’s Dilemma

pumpkinThe commercialization of Halloween is gradually sucking Australians into a celebration we once considered to be purely ‘American.’

While many Australians may be willing to embrace this trend, the question must arise concerning the stance of the Christian. Just last week someone came to me asking my advice on what should be done regarding a teenage girl’s invitation to a Halloween party.

Of course each person must follow the convicting of the Spirit in their own hearts, but as the body of Christ, I truly believe that there are some things we should stand against as a community.

Having spoken to several teenagers in the past who have had terrifying experiences delving into the occult, it seems clear to me that as Christians we must be careful not to align ourselves with a festival which, despite its supposed ‘Christian’ roots, has become known for its associations with witchcraft, death, spirits and horror.

So what is a teenager to do, when it will not be well received by their friends if they do not participate? My heart aches for them; I remember how painful it was to make choices that were unpopular. But as Christians we were never called to do what was popular; we are called to be different, even when it means sacrifice. The greatest thing we can do for our children is to teach them how to make a stand while they are young, so that when they are older, the narrow road is not foreign to them.