The good thing about living in our “bubble,” is its safety. Spring Arbor was, after all, voted one of the best places to raise kids. I know I’m glad my kids were raised here. I know I’m glad I live here. We’ve developed good friendships and a supportive network of people who care about us.
The bad thing about living in our “bubble,” is that it is easy to think the rest of the world is like us: safe, supportive and caring. It’s easy to be naive about the way many experience the effects of the choices we make. While we know there is slavery occurring out in the world, it seems too distant and vague for us to be able to affect change.
I have a close friend, Melissa (blog This Beautiful Mess), who is in India, living in a “hard” and noisy city (she loves nature and quiet) to fight for women entrapped in the sex-slave business. Women are rescued, shown love, introduced to their value and to Jesus Christ. And they’re taught to sew. They work for Sari Bari making purses and other wonderful things. (Website is on my sidebar – discount in March with code HAPPYBIRTHDAY – but then, why would you want to use a discount when you’re helping stop modern-day slavery?!). I need to be a better encourager to my friend, Mel.
We, in the Bubble, have just been having our eyes opened to the ways we can affect change. Our church is one of 2,400 churches around the world who have signed up with Freedom Sunday and Not for Sale (websites on my sidebar) to end slavery in one generation! What an exciting and daunting proposition. Our denomination started because of its heart to end slavery, and we’re at it again! Until now, I have been blind to the problem – not only blind but participating. Lord forgive me.
My action steps: I am committed to checking out Free2Work (website that rates companies) and not shop at places earning less than a “C” grade on their tolerance for slavery. I will move that up to a “B” when Free2Work has more entries (it’s a new endeavor and they don’t have many industries listed yet). I will also use my “spiritual gift of letter writing” to write one letter per week to companies to encourage their zero tolerance for slavery. I will explain why I am no longer buying their product, or why I have switched to their products (people doing the right thing need encouragement).
Chocolate and coffee are easy places to start – I will no longer buy chocolate and coffee from companies who get their beans from fields with slave labor. I’m going to talk to our local grocer and see if they will stock free-trade coffee and chocolate (and heighten their awareness to be sure where their products come from).
Another good thing about the “Bubble?” It’s filled with good-hearted people who want to do the right things.
With God’s help, the Bubble will have an impact in the lives of men, women and children trapped in slavery.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke. Is it not to share your food with the hungry and provide for the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:6-8