You've all seen the cute little knick-knacks in Christian bookstores… the bracelets… the trendy dog tags made of nails… framed passages of Scripture… figurines set in serene or agonized poses… we can even purchase breath mints with crosses stamped on them. Believers using capitalism at its best, no? It's good business!
These items decorate our homes, our offices, our churches, our Sunday School rooms. We can purchase colourful VSB packages, detailed devotional programs for all ages, thousands of books… thousands of Bibles… in thousands of languages, styles, sizes and versions. T-shirts adorned with moral and spiritual messages and fabulous artwork preach our living faith! We wear it all proudly! We spend our hard-earned money on glittering trinkets… and I would dare say for the most part, with godly intention.
Where do they come from?
All this demand for "Christ-ware", who creates and supplies it all?
Have we ever asked?
"In 2007, a case of crucifixes purchased by St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York was traced back to a factory in China where girls as young as 15 were forced to work up to 19-hour days, seven days a week." (Amanda Kloer, http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/stop_crucifixes_and_bible_covers_made_by_slaves)
As empassioned as we are in spreading the loving compassion of Jesus Christ, we MUST extend that passion and compassion to those who make all of these items. They come at a much greater cost than we pay with our dollars.
We perhaps can accept that we need to buy Fair Trade coffee… Fair Trade chocolate… Fair Trade sugar… but… books? BIBLES? The Holy Word of God touched and made by SLAVES?!
An organization in Australia is fighting back. Many of the little items we take for granted are useless. Totally useless and needless. Let's just admit that right now. "Testa-Mints"???? Come on, people! Use your voice and your relationship with your fellow person to spread the Gospel. MINTS?!?!?!
Having said that, there can be a time and a place for books and art and clothing that can aid us in explaining the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, these items must be sourced, made and supplied in ways that are godly… not exploitative. Check out:
I'll admit here and now that I've only had a cursory glance, but I like what I see so far. If we can get other nations on board, other parts of the Body… imagine what an impact we would make! We demand so much… even in our efforts to spread the kingdom of God… we demand, demand, demand. As believers, let's take this opportunity to truly evaluate how we have been exploiting the system, dealing with the bottom dollar rather than the kingdom, and make radical changes as to how we can break chains in the churches.