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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Programmed to respond to greatness

4-living-creatures

I was thinking yesterday about how God is surrounded by mysterious living creatures who never cease, day and night, to say “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.” (Rev 4)

Why do they do that? Are they just mindless, broken-record-like beings that God has programmed to praise Him? It’s easy to think of them this way.

Much as I know very little about them, I think it’s probably more like this: These heavenly beings were created to respond to greatness.

On their creation, when they first encountered God, their immediate and natural response was worship; constant, intense, passionate worship, because they were so captured by His glory.

It makes me wonder, what is wrong with us? Were we not also programmed to respond to greatness?

We were, but we were given a choice too. We have left behind the wisdom of the heavenly creatures and are captivated with things of far inferior worth. Through the fall of man, it became possible for us to be passionately captivated by that which is not great, while completely ignoring that which is.

Claiming to be wise, we have become fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Rom 1: 22-23)

We would do well to learn a lesson from the heavenly beings, and not waste our worship on that which is not worthy of it to the highest degree.

Will you speak out for people entirely unlike you?

locked-green-door_434-19316046I’m half way through reading ‘I am Malala,’ the famous book by the Nobel Prize winning girl who spoke out for education and was shot by the Taliban.

It gives a lot of insight into the lives of Pakistani peasants in the decades following the September 11, 2001 attack.

Malala’s father was a man who courageously spoke out against the Taliban, holding truth above cowardice. Malala records that he used to carry the following poem with him in his pocket. It is by Martin Niemöller, who had lived in Nazi Germany. It has really challenged me.

First they came for the communists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me,

And there was no one left to speak for me.