Tag Archives: consumerism

Love and Shopping

Recently, I’ve written two posts on living in such a way as to care for others–Love and Service and Now What?. In the latter article, I wrote this:

I bought chocolate before “enlightenment,” and I will buy it after, but now I look for the Fair Trade stamp of approval. I look for organic food because I know the workers weren’t subjected to pesticides and herbicides in the fields, and I know it is better for the planet.

I decided to write this follow-up post to clarify that I don’t mean to argue that “shopping well” is the central or defining characteristic of “living well.” Temporarily setting aside spiritual issues, this is inadequate even from purely environmental or societal perspectives. Consider the analysis of Annie Leonard in the short video, “The Story of Change.”

This is especially relevant at this time of year when millions of people are ramping up for Christmas binge shopping. For a different Christian perspective on this holiday, check out Advent Conspiracy:

And if you do feel the need to shop this Christmas, might one of these options fit the bill:


>Friday Potpourri

>There was a lot in the news this week:

1. Planner of Rwandan massacres convicted of genocide (Sukhdev Chhatbar And Donna Bryson, Associated Press, 18 Dec ’08)

“A former Rwandan army colonel was convicted Thursday of genocide and crimes against humanity for masterminding the killings of more than half a million people in a 100-day slaughter in 1994. Survivors in Rwanda welcomed the watershed moment in a long search for justice.”

2. Regulators adopt new credit card rules (Marcy Gordon, Ap Business, 18 Dec ’08)

“Federal regulators on Thursday adopted sweeping new rules for the credit card industry that will shield consumers from increases in interest rates on existing account balances among other changes.”

3. Gay leaders furious with Obama (Ben Smith, Nia-Malika Henderson, 17 Dec ’08)

“’I have many gay friends, I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church,’ [Rick Warren] said in a recent interview with BeliefNet.

“In the same interview, he compared the ‘redefiniton of a marrige’ to include gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse, and polygamy.”

Note: It’s that last sentence that stands out to me. I’ve heard this jump before, and it bothers me. Where does this fear come from?

4. Fla. police close books on ’81 Walsh killing (Yahoo.com, AP, 16 Dec ’08)

The news:

“A serial killer who died more than a decade ago is the person who decapitated the 6-year-old son of ‘America’s Most Wanted’ host John Walsh in 1981, police in Florida said Tuesday. The announcement brought to a close a case that has vexed the Walsh family for more than two decades, launched the television show about the nation’s most notorious criminals and inspired changes in how authorities search for missing children.”

The good news:

“Adam’s death, and his father’s activism on his behalf, helped put faces on milk cartons, shopping bags and mailbox flyers, started fingerprinting programs and increased security at schools and stores. It spurred the creation of missing persons units at every large police department.

“‘In 1981, when a child disappeared, you couldn’t enter information about a child into the FBI database. You could enter information about stolen cars, stolen guns but not stolen children,’ said Ernie Allen, president of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, co-founded by John Walsh. ‘Those things have all changed.’

“The case also prompted national legislation to create a national database and toll-free line devoted to missing children, and led to the start of ‘America’s Most Wanted,’ which brought those cases into millions of homes.”

The not-so-good news:

“What it also did, said Mount Holyoke College sociologist and criminologist Richard Moran, is make children and adults alike exponentially more afraid.”

>Ezekial 16:49 — Re-inventing the SDA Wheel

>Nathan Brown has posted an excellent article at Re-inventing the Adventist Wheel–The Sins of Sodom.

We often hear of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sexual sins, but fail to realize Ezekiel’s teaching, which says, “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ez. 16:49, NIV).

Click here to read his insightful analysis of greed, consumerism and social justice.

>In Debt We Trust

>Credit Cards… We can’t live with them; we can’t live without them. Do you pay off your cards every month? Even if you are in the minority who do, this somewhat over-sensationalized documentary could still be worth your time.

I appreciated the balance in credit advice. Some argued to not even have credit cards, while other people interviewed recommended for new college students to have one credit card with a limit of $500 that would be increased by $500 each year in hopes that young adults would slowly learn to use their credit wisely by controlling spending habits.

Interestingly, this film predicted problems in the subprime lending sector, a reality that is now affecting financial markets around the world.

In related news this week, Congressional leaders are holding hearings with bankers regarding credit card policies and practices–Credit-Card Cos. Defend Practices (Yahoo.com / AP, 4 December ‘07, Dibya Sarkar).


>Kevin shared Earthlings with me last night. It contains the most graphic violence I’ve ever watched. In this case, violence against animals. Absolutely sickening.

This reinforces the lesson that in order for people to change, they need to be convinced at an emotional level, not just with logic and rational reasoning. That is, watching this documentary motivates me to be a vegetarian and to buy hemp shoes more than hearing about slaughter houses and pondering the inefficiencies in animal production versus raising crops.

Disagree with me? First, watch it. Then I will listen if you still hold that arguments and data are more effective.

Kevin groaned, “It makes me feel bad about having a leather bound Bible.”