Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is - Salvation Army Canada


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    Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

    Does our free market economy enslave and exploit the vulnerable? July 20, 2012 by Amy Fisher
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought

    Have you ever thought of free market global capitalism as an institution in need of redemption? Have you ever thought of the way it oppresses and extorts some people as much as it might benefit others? Have you ever thought of how it robs people of their freedom and imagination? Have you ever wondered if God's Word might have something to say about it?

    Christians have a responsibility to educate themselves and make choices in the marketplace that have positive consequences for our global neighbours. If the 80/20 rule is a reality—that is, if 20 percent of the earth's population controls 80 percent of the wealth—then we in Canada are certainly part of that 20 percent. If Jesus really meant that we should care for “the least of these,” giving the poor and marginalized food, water and clothing when they are in need, then he is talking about our duty to the other 80 percent of the world's population.

    These days it's hard to deny that our economic system is broken and in need of redemption. In 2008, the Western penchant for things we can't afford caught up with the market, amounting to more debt than could be repaid and loans that could no longer be insured against default. The American economy reeled. Banks closed. Around the world, governments scrambled to pick up the pieces.

    It's not hard to look at this economic crisis and see a spiritual crisis as well. Greed, pride, the desire to be better, more powerful or wealthier than someone else … these are the things that power our economy. They motivate us to buy more stuff at a cheaper price. In a word, to consume.

    The word “consume” has a decidedly negative connotation. It means to eat up, use up, destroy or ruin. If you and I are “consumers,” what is it that we are destroying? Do we consume only inanimate objects with our spending, or do we also destroy God's living earth? God's creatures? And even our fellow human beings? Are you comfortable being called a consumer by companies competing to get your business?

    In many ways, free market capitalism has fueled this destructive force called consumption, has made slaves of our brothers and sisters. These brothers and sisters live both here in North America—in the halls of commerce, on streetscapes lined with advertisements—and in places we can't so easily see, such as sweatshops in South East Asia or on cash-crop farms in Central and South America.
    Does God intend to redeem this human institution? To make it new, whole or good again? Can Christians be God's agents of change in the marketplace? It's time to put our money where our heart is.

    For more information on Fair Trade, visit SalvationArmyEthics.org/issues/fair-trade.

    Fair Trade FAQs

    What is Fair Trade?
    One way that Christians can make an impact is by choosing fair trade products, such as coffee, tea and chocolate. Fair trade creates opportunities for producers in economically disadvantaged countries who have been marginalized by the conventional trading system. For items to be fair trade they must meet certain standards that help alleviate poverty, ensure safe working conditions and foster sustainable development.

    How do I know if a product is Fair Trade Certified?
    The Fair Trade Certified Mark is a registered trademark of Fairtrade International. Various marks have been used worldwide, but the two logos above are the most commonly used in Canada.


    On Tuesday, October 30, 2012, Captain Royal Senter said:

    Well said Jason and Ira. Holiness is lived out in the world and impacts and impacts on how we live and the choices we make. One mark of holiness in our lives is a concern for social justice. Social justice is simply about living and proclaiming a life of love, Jesus type love.

    On Thursday, October 25, 2012, Ira E. Barrow said:

    While Captain Royal Senter's comments are vital,that is we should make sure we remain on the right track-- namely, the Calvary Track, there is great virtue in your Free Trade commentary. It is not "left wing" as two irate (and rude) commentators suggest. It is "right way".You comments are not calling for the overthrow of responsible right wing, or left wing, or centre, political regimes. You are suggesting that, what ever political stripe they may be, they must be fair in their trading practices. I think Jesus would do the same.

    We have a conservative party, not a left wing party for sure, in power in Canada but only today I heard the Finance Minister telling how the Canadian Government plans to stop over-zealist capitalists from gouging the common man with the "gone-wild" credit card system. The same principle must go all across the board, in the oil industry, in the food industry, in ther travel industry and on and on it goes.

    Tell the story of William Booth and his match box factory. Fair treatment of workers. The Salvation Army is neither left wing nor right wing; it is a movement with an acute social conscience. That's our spiritual mandate.

    On Tuesday, October 16, 2012, Jason said:

    It is shocking to me that this article is drawing negative comments, as it is entirely appropriate and relevant to the topics of redemption, salvation and Kingdom living.

    God's redemption of the world is not only spiritual, but all encompassing. We cannot preach spiritual salvation and ignore the impact our daily decisions have on others in the world. Salvation is the redemption from sin, but holiness is the living out of the redemption of our thoughts, words and actions (including choices regarding purchases).

    I would suggest that the work of the Holy Spirit includes the transformation of how we view of our daily choices. Sharing information on this small way that we can continue to transform our world is in fact gospel information - for it means that faith in Christ is not only important for our eternal future, but also for the transformation of lives in the current world.

    On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, Captain Royal Senter said:

    Economic systems are not the problem nor are they the solution to human problems. That was my main conclusion after obtaining my degree in economics. Every system has its strengths and weaknesses but sin undermines them all. That is why our priority must always be to share the good news of salvation and holiness through Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. That is the only answer.

    On Thursday, September 6, 2012, Herb said:

    Odd, is it not, that an article of this sort would appear in Army media? As a church, the Salvation Army does not do redemption well. Trust the world's market economies to drive us to the brink. Were churches then to acknowledge how near we are, we might consider redemption. (Some right-wing crap!)

    On Monday, August 6, 2012, Shoeless Joe said:

    As I read this I realize that you have bought into a lot of left wing crap. I'm not sure I want to donate to the army any more as it see it moving more to the liberal left and becoming radically PC. Many Governments control the labor forces in their countries. To only blame it on the free markets..... educate yourself into the deeper meaning of this issue and not just the surface and you just might me surprised!

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