Saturday, March 19, 2005

Is Jesus Lord of our shopping?

Keith, a missionary in Burkina Faso, writes about the morality of Western shopping. Most kitchens in the U.S. are larger and hold more varieties of food than the average shop in Gorom-Gorom. Keith wonders what obligations Western Christians have for dealing with our material bounty:
Well, as Christians, we probably don’t buy stuff we consider immoral. But is that it? Does that then give us the right to just spend the rest of our money on ourselves as we like? In what way are we accountable to God for the way we shop? What does Christian discipleship have to say about shopping, and the whole question of stewardship of the wealth God has entrusted us with?

Two initial thoughts:
Firstly, could we, and should we, live more simply, and buy less stuff, in order to free up more money for “being generous and doing good”? I think this is the biggest struggle I have when I look at how we live as Christians in the West. It does seem that we have just accepted the world’s attitude without question - that we have the right, even the need, to whatever is on offer – the newest technology, the bigger house, the fuller freezer, the better car. And this is often so in our churches as much as in our individual lives. . . . Yet God says the un-restrained pursuit of wealth and prosperity is the root of all kinds of bad stuff.

Secondly, how do we shop with justice? God hates unequal scales. He is concerned with justice for the poor. Are we concerned about whether the stuff we buy is part of a system that oppresses the poor in the pursuit of profit at all costs?
That's a long quote, but it's a big problem. How do we respond? Please read Keith's post.


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