Thursday, May 08, 2008
I ordered 3 bags worth of balloons today for our Memorial Day retreat programs. They are Fair Trade balloons! Seriously! You might laugh at me, being naive enough to believe that a balloon can change the world. Yet the truth is, I DO believe a balloon can change the world. In order for them to change the world, we have to change the minds of people, the heart of Christians, and even the connotation of certain words.
Let's start be redefining the connotative implications of a word. Sacramental. Classically, this words pertains to any object created by the church to aid in devotion. Items meant to assist the user in preparing their heart and mind to receive the sacraments. Catholics would place holy water, the rosary, and saint cards in this category. Evangelical churches have sacramentals as well, they just do not refer to them as such. In our church we use music and a meditative thought, and even some iconography occasionally. In both of these cases this word sacramental is disconnected from everyday life. I "GO TO CHURCH" and use an object or an activity to prepare my mind and heart for the Communion meal.
This is the idea that needs to be changed. Recently the phrase a "sacramental lifestyle" has been used in many missional and emergent conversations. This idea, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is that we are called to live in such a way that our LIFESTYLE is constantly engaged with God in his redemptive work. The sacramental lifestyle understands that we do not prepare to participate in a sacrament of atonement bust instead we are perpetually participatory as the incarnation of God's atonement.
Buying a balloon is a sacramental decision! The decision of where I spent my fiscals resources is FUNDAMENTALLY SACRAMENTAL! I can not be honoring with God in my heart as a eat a piece of cracker and take a shot of grape juice, if I am not honoring to God in the places where I buy my food, my clothing, and all my purchasing. When Christ states that the love of money is the root of all evil, he challenges the distribution of all our resources! Am I searching for the "Best Deal Available" at the expense of ignoring the slave labor in it's manufacturing, or am I purchasing responsibly to participate with God who "hears the cries of the oppressed."
There is SO MUCH available now that one can buy responsibly. Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Fruit, T-Shirts, Socks, Flowers, and more I am forgetting. Yet, this is only the beginning! For love to change the world EVERY PURCHASE must be God honoring! The more products we the people of God insist on buying only when they are life affirming rather than life destroying, the more products that will be available.
I recently heard Rob Bell point out that Solomon's great mistake was to use forced labor to build the temple to the God of the slave and the oppressed. Once Solomon lost sight of the identity of his God, and his identity in God's Kingdom, his own kingdom was on a ripcord toward collapse.
Our hearts and minds must be changed. We must understand that our God is not a god like the corporate demigods of comfort, convenience, and consumption! He is the God of the bruised reed and the smoldering wick. He is the God who hears the cries of the slave, who feels the pain of the orphan, who longs for the release from bondage to the sex addict, the alcoholic, and the crack whore. He is the God who proclaim Jubilee, the redemption of all that needs to be restored.
A sacramental life can change the world because it is in that lifestyle that we align with God in his redemptive work, even in a purchase as simple as a pack of balloons, or maybe your mother's day flowers.
SOME FAIR TRADE LINKS:
Trade As One