Posts Tagged ‘The Irresistible Revolution’

$money$

March 20, 2009

Lately the Holy Spirit has been convicting me about money.  Money and capitalism.  Money, capitalism, and materialism.  I read Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution a little while back and it really caused me to think about the part that I play in the systems this country and world run on.  The systems idea is from Brian McLaren’s book Everything Must Change.  Brian talks about the Security System, Prosperity System, and the Equity System.  He talks about how they are broken and even more than that, suicidal.  These books have led me to ask the following questions of myself:

  • How much money is stored up in my pantry in order to ensure I am provided for?
  • Even if I am faithful in tithing because it is a good starting point have I landed there with the belief that the other 90% is mine to spend as I wish? 
  • What am I doing with that 90%?
  • While I cognitively know that buying things will not fulfill my desires for peace, security, and fulfillment in what ways do I do that very thing?
  • What have I bought that has been produced by beautiful people all across the globe, mostly women and children, who are not compensated justly for their wages? 
  • Am I clothed at the expense of others being naked?
  • Am I content with enough or do I live under the capitalist manifesto of “more, more, more”?
  • This product is cheap for me but at whose cost?
  • Will I trust in deadbolts and car alarms or the Lord my God? (“Some trust in chariots and some in horses…”)
  • Do I allow God to define me or do I allow myself to be defined in terms of how industrious and efficient I am?
  • Why do we teach our children to not hit each other to resolve problems and then go to war because another country does something we don’t like?
  • Why do we arm the rest of the world so we can “protect” ourselves?
  • Is there hope that we can live another way?

The list could go on and on and on…

I am remorseful that I have contributed so much to the poverty and dehumanization of so many.  All for “the best deal.”  Yeah…if the best deal means I save $5 but thousands of people are enslaved to get it to me.  That doesn’t sound like the best deal to me.

Lord Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner.

Advertisements

Part of the Problem

February 21, 2009

It seems that everyone, including myself, wants to get everything as cheap as possible.  This seems logical and is even spiritualized as being a good steward of the God’s money.  But with some of the reading I have done lately (i.e., Everything must Change, The Irresistible Revolution, etc.) before I buy something at an unbelievably low price I have started to ask myself, “At whose cost?”  As in who had to pay for the cheapness of this item before it ended up at this store for $2.99?  Did a beautiful 7-year-old girl in malaysia work long hours in a sweat shop so I could have this item for such a cheap price?  Was she forced to give up going to school because her mother and father and older brother work at the same sweat shop but are paid such meager wages that her income is needed just to get by?  Did a young Brazilian boy walk miles through the forests to harvest bananas so that I can eat them year round while he is forced to place himself in danger for money that I would

     throw
              in a
                  wishing well?

I have more material goods than I need as it is.  And I am willing to pay three times what Wal-mart is charging if it means that all the folks along the way will be paid more fairly for their labor.

I was talking with a couple folks about this recently and one lady asked, “But won’t that just reduce the amount of money going to the folks who already don’t get paid enough?”  I thought about this for a moment and realized that while this may be true at first and if I am the only one taking a stand, if we all decided to control the only thing we really have control over, the overlords who pocket 90% of the profits would start to feel the effect in their pockets and would be forced to change their ways.  What is the one thing I can control? 

ME.

And even that’s a farce to a certain degree since there are things I want to do and I don’t do them and the things I dont want to do, I do anyway (echoing Paul). 

BOTTOM LINE: I am part of the problem. 

There are a lot of things I can’t change.  I can’t change where Walmart buys their goods.  I can’t change what country those goods come from.  I can’t change how much Walmart pays for these goods.  And I can’t change how much the seller charges for them.  I can’t change what the seller pays his employees and I can’t change the conditions under which the employees work. 

But I can change me.

I CAN change whether or not I shop at Walmart.  I CAN change what type of products I buy with the money God has entrusted me with.  I CAN buy less of things at higher prices to try and ensure people are treated with dignity and respect.  And if enough of us did that, we could change the world. 

Do you believe that?

I have not thorougly investigated each of these websites yet.  I have collected them from a few different places (to include The Irresistible Revolution) and am posting them here in hopes of providing myself and others a list resource for discerning where to spend the money God has entrusted to us. 

Cheap isn’t always better.  Think about it.

Human Rights Links
Global Exchange
Sweat Shop Watch
CorpWatch
Human Rights Watch
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Amnesty International
Not for Sale Campaign (added 3/7/09)
Free2Work (added 3/7/09)

Fair Trade Links
Trade as One
Presbyterian Coffee Project
Equal Exchange
Sweat Free T-Shirts
A Greater Gift/Serrv
World of Good
Fairest Buy (added 3/7/09)

Environmentally Friendly Stuff
Reusable Bags
Electric Sstewardship (For PCUSA Churches)
Eco-Palms (Palm fronds for Palm Sunday)

Other
Just Living

**If you know of other websites that speak to these topics, please leave them in the comments.  And if you know that any of these organizations are questionable, please let me know.  Thanks.**

Our

February 17, 2009

 Pray, then, in this way:Photo by: Ms. Tea
          Our Father who is in heaven,
          Hallowed be Your name. 
          Your kingdom come
          Your will be done,
          On earth as it is in heaven.
          Give us this day our daily bread.
          And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
          And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
          [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.] 
                    (Jesus, Matthew 6.9-13)

Let me start this post off by saying that I love the Lord’s Prayer.  my favorite part, by far, is “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  How amazing.  I could talk about that here, but that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about the words

OUR and US.

Have you ever noticed how many times these words are used in this prayer?

OUR = 4

US = 4

I didn’t realize this until I read Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution.  It is mind boggling to me that I have never heard it before.  He writes about how if there was a food shortage in early Christian communities the whole community would fast until there was enough for all.  And then he moves on to the “ours” in the Lord’s Prayer and says,

To pray for “my” daily bread is a desecration; we are to pray for “our” daily bread, for all of us.*

This is envigorating!  And yet it makes me hang my head in shame.  It makes me hopeful!  And yet I am saddened by how far we are from this.

OUR.  Give us this day our daily bread.   And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6.11-13)

UNITY.   “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “ (Jesus, John 17.20-23)

LOVE.  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.

* Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 170.