meditation

Three Prayers for Workers in the Global Supply Chain

ethical fashion and christianity

Tonight I had the opportunity to give a talk on ethical fashion and Christianity for the college group associated with my church. It was a good opportunity to hone my sense of why this type of advocacy matters within a Christian context, and how I can best relate it back to traditional Biblical texts and narratives. 

At the end of the discussion, we broke into three groups and wrote prayers inspired by traditional Anglican prayer forms as a way of engaging more deeply with the reality of our inter-connectedness with workers across the supply chain and to provide a starting point for daily meditations on conscious consumerism. I am really inspired by what they came up with, and I want to share these prayers in case they may be useful to you in your personal meditations and reflections. 

As I mentioned on Instagram earlier today, I think there's an unnecessary divide between the "spiritual" folks (read: hippies) and the "religious" folks (read: fundamentalists) in the ethical living space. Instead of making negative assumptions about how people's beliefs inform their ethical practice, or lack thereof, I'd rather jump right in and help inform interpretation so that all of our actions can be grounded in both compassion-oriented belief and our more tangible experiences of injustice in the world.

---------

Three Anglican Prayers for Workers in the Global Supply Chain


God of compassion and creation,

Bless the hands who have made
our jeans, shirts, and jackets,

Help us to remember that these
hands and these people are part of
the Body of Christ.

Be with the men, women, and children
who spend more of their lives
making our clothes than we spend
wearing them.

We lament those whose lives have been taken
For the sake of production.

May we be moved to action.
To spread awareness. To be thoughtful
in our purchases. To have compassion
for neighbors no matter how
far away.

Amen.

----------

God of justice,

You call us to be a neighbor to all,
Help us to acknowledge the toil that
laborers around the world face.

Watch over those who labor in unsafe
working conditions,
Help us remain aware of the realities
facing people who make our clothes
and be conscious of our consumption.

Be with policymakers as they make
decisions that impact these people’s lives.

We ask that you bless the hands that
come into contact with our clothes – production
to possession. Give us courage to
recognize our privilege and make
change in our own lives.

Remind us that we are all made in
your image.

Amen.

----------

O God,
Creator of all people and things,

Be with your people in the global supply chain,
who you created in your likeness and
whose work contributes to our comfort.

Give us the courage to fight against
systems of oppression,
and help us raise up the voices of
the oppressed, who already have
the right and the power to
speak for themselves.

Keep us ever mindful of
the inextricable link between us.

We ask these things
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
whose first disciples were marginalized
wage workers,

Amen.

i don't think minimalism means what you think it means

simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Minimalism is in.

Capsule wardrobes; intentional living; clean lines; sustainable, closet-sized homes. But I hope you realize that the list I just spouted off represents two very different approaches to minimalism and that doing one doesn't necessarily indicate anything about the other.

Officially, the term minimalism applies to an aesthetic that favors spareness and simplicity. But more broadly, it has come to represent a pared down lifestyle that advertises itself as the answer to the breakneck pace and over-indulgence of American culture. We're stressed out, always working, constantly comparing ourselves to others, and we think that if we unclutter our living spaces, we may be able to make some room for stillness and reflection.

minimalism essay

Aesthetic minimalism places no barriers on consumption. But simple living minimalism is almost entirely about living with less. Though the two are at odds, they share enough in common superficially to conveniently allow us to feel like we're improving ourselves while consuming and curating just as much as usual.

Case in point: A very prominent blogger I follow is doing a series on simplifying life. In a recent post, she indicated that she got rid of everything in her closet to buy a whole new closet of more classic items like - wait for it - leopard print sneakers and jeans with holes in them. The only intentional living I'm seeing here is intentionally finding excuses to stock up on trendy items.

quote2

The reason this matters - the reason I'm freaking out about it - is that confusing a look with an ethic is really dangerous. It's destructive to the fair trade movement, too, because it distracts people on this really exciting, really hard path to long-term ethical living. It's like a snake oil advertisement: Ease your first world guilt by literally not changing anything! The only problem is that you're actually just swallowing a bunch of poison (or maybe corn starch, if you're lucky).

Look, it's fine if you like the minimalism trend. I agree, it's pretty groovy. But don't confuse simple silhouettes with moral living. Your capsule wardrobe is not for a good cause.

And please, for the love of God (this isn't me swearing; I really mean it), please don't pretend that donating your whole wardrobe to the local thrift store is a great philanthropic deed.