Independent Christian Voice


Wal-Mart and frugality's folly

In this week's Sojomail (a publication of Sojourners), C. Melissa Snarr challenges Christians to "think more about our economic witness" as we shop at giant discount stores and "save a buck at the cost of another's well-being."
Frugality is not a spiritual discipline. Yet, Americans regularly follow weekend trips to places of worship with drives to giant discount stores. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions unite in challenging those of us who would save a buck at the cost of another's well-being. Unfortunately, in our current culture, getting a "deal" has largely displaced righteous dealings as our first consideration in the marketplace. […] Admittedly, we saw a glimmer of generosity in Wal-Mart's speedy delivery of desperately needed supplies to hurricane victims last month. They were first on the scene to the poor, widowed, and orphaned among us. But to focus only on Wal-Mart's short-term charity misses major dimensions of the biblical concept of generosity. Modeled on the nature of God, the creating, sustaining, and redeeming character of biblical generosity is not about short-term charity but long-term justice for all God's children. The sustaining life of God is about creating structures and cultures of care, wholeness, and fairness that are enduring. Wal-Mart's charity should not divert public - particularly religious, attention - from the largest retailer's long-term discrimination, import exploitation, and overtime and union-busting scandals. In contrast, faithful generosity is not primarily about short-term gifts to the needy, but the long-term task of building right relationships, weaving righteousness into the fabric of our lives. […] As the Wal-Mart public relations machine continues to gain momentum, people of faith need to think more about our economic witness and demand that our discount giants do not discount human dignity in our name. [Read entire article]
It's time for Christians to stop paying lip service to the "Love your neighbor as yourself" commandment and to evaluate how are overindulgent consumerism impacts the lives of our "neighbors" — i.e. the rest of the world.


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