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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I could have rescued one more

IMG_20140804_182030Last night, I sat in church, listening to the story of a man who had been saved from poverty after years on the brink of starvation. His name was Richmond Wandera and he was a Compassion child. Today he has a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and travels the world as an advocate for those children who are still in his home community in Uganda. He speaks of how they play, as he did, on sewer-flooded streets, hoping daily to escape the threat of malaria as the beast of hunger lurks, ever in the shadows.

 Now he sponsors a child, and works tirelessly to find sponsors for those who still remain, trapped, with a lid on their potential, until someone moves to release them. He challenged us to live simply, so that others may simply live.

 I thought of my sponsor child in India, and I felt the battle in my heart: Surely I’m doing enough? But in the back of my mind was a gnawing quote from Oskar Schindler: “I could have gotten one more person… and I didn’t!”

 I do not want to get to the end of my life, and lament that I could have freed one more. It is a temporary sacrifice, for an eternal impact.

 I’m no hero. So far from it! I choose myself over others far more often than not, but I pray that God will continually convict my selfish heart and give me the means and the strength for ‘one more.’

This post is for my new ‘sponsor son’ Cristian. I do not know him, but I pray that God will unleash his potential, and use him mightily in the Kingdom.
If you would like to help free a child from poverty in Jesus name, please visit http://www.compassion.com

When Christmas isn’t Joyous

homelessAt Christmas time, we’re assailed by songs that tell us that it’s the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ We are encouraged to revel in the excitement of food and family and presents and general boisterous chaos.

For many however, Christmas is one of the most difficult times of the year; a time when loneliness and poverty are exacerbated; when spending a quiet night eating a tin of baked beans is not only lonely, but excruciatingly painful.

My heart goes out to those who are poor and alone on Christmas, and as the church, we should be reaching out to them, but I can’t help wondering whether Christmas’ ability to be devastating is evidence that we’ve really missed the point.

Who was more poor or alone on Christmas night than Mary and Joseph themselves? And yet the entire reason that we sing of it as the most joyous and holy of all nights, is that Jesus, the savior of the world, was born.

Secular society has made Christmas all about friends, family, presents and food, isolating people who don’t have these things. But that is never what it was supposed to be about. It was about God coming to earth in human form, in the loneliest and poorest of ways, to dwell with us and save us from ourselves. If this is really our focus at Christmas, it can be a time of great joy for everyone, even, or dare I say especially, for those who don’t fit society’s mold.