Friday, January 05, 2007

Where Would Jesus Shop?

Where Would Jesus Shop?



Check out this ad that has generated quite a bit of reaction. Is it kingdom business for a church to encourage a boycott of the likes of Walmart? Assuming that there are such circumstances, does a Christian indictment of Walmart stick? What do you think?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find the ad very disturbing for a minister to be quoting scripture in an ad paid for by a union. Unions have their place. In our history there was a time when they were desparately needed. Wal Mart has maintained a non union workplace by doing just enough to make unions unattractive.

Wal Mart has a store and a distribution center in our county. Based on other options, Wal Mart is one of the better jobs in the area.

To answer your question, I don't think it is kindom business. If I don't agree with walmart's practices, I should boycot them as an individual due to my conscience. I see it as a "meat offered to idols" issue.

I see the ad as dishonest based on who paid for it. I think the agenda is to get Wal Mart to be a union work place and not for social justice.

Frank Bellizzi said...

I didn't know about the union connection to the ad, Steve. That fact DOES lead to the suspicion of an unholy alliance and obviously makes the whole question that much more complicated.

If nothing else, the ad reflects a socio-economic shift. Years ago, fundamentalists, neo-evangelicals, CofC people etc. were, almost to a one, people of little means. They would have been the people working at Walmart. Nowadays, the children and grandchildren of those people are the ones speaking up for the downtrodden and disadvantaged.

Donald McGavran called this the principle of "Redemption and Lift." Christianity has the tendency, over time, to raise the social and economic status of its devotees. When that happens, it raises for the church a number of questions that it previously didn't have to deal with. I see any number of Churches of Christ where the members drive their nice cars to worship, walk into nice facilities in expensive clothes, and then use language from the 40s, as though they were a beleaguered bunch of misfits, trying to be faithful from their (wrong) side of the tracks.

Larry James said...

James 5:1ff speaks to the issue of fair wages. To keep to your question in a theoretical sense, which is how I heard you ask it, I would say a church could determine that boycotts and collective action could be taken to oppose something unjust like unfair wage and labor practices. The prophets spoke to this clearly. Jesus gets at it with his disciples and in his criticism of the religious establishment who turned away from the interests of the poor.

We need to explore the "resting capacity" of our communal life.

Frank Bellizzi said...

Thanks, Larry, for your input. I didn't understand the last sentence about the "resting capacity." If/When you see this, would you elaborate a little?

Anonymous said...

I posted on something very similar a few weeks back. You may find it of interest instead of me rehashing it all here.

http://mattdabbs.blogspot.com/2006/12/christian-boycotts-and-pauls-take-on.html

Anonymous said...

Frank,
There is a problem here. Wal-Mart employs many Christians. To boycott the store may result ultimately in our brothers and sisters in the Lord losing their jobs. To prove what? Child labor is not a company problem its a country problem. Not everybody can work on Wall street some are only going to be able to work in low paying jobs. Better is some job than none. Americans live way above their means. That is the problem not what Wal-mart pays its employees. The fact that it sells products made by our enemies seems to me a bigger problem. I think we need tariffs on imports from China. We are transferring to much of our wealth to this Red Dragon.

Patric Vanderbeck

Honey Rabbit!! said...

Dad,
I was checking out your blog and saw a you tube video and went to that entry right away. when i watched the video, i probably laughed out loud for a good 30 seconds. especially at the last part, "Would Jesus shop at Walmart?" I honestly coulnd't take the add seriously.
I found everyone's comments very interesting and agreed with a lot of what people had to say about what Walmart paid its employees, and how it wasn't our job to make sure that other people were boycotting Walmart. Anywho..I'm rambling, but just thought I'd comment! LOVE YOU DAD! <3