What I think when I enter through the gates at Tawharanui
BAPTISM // time to take the plunge
On Sunday I’m getting baptised. It’s something that Christians have been doing since Christianity was a thing, and I figured it was about time I took the plunge, or so to speak. Basically I’ll tell everyone that I really do believe in God then I’ll get dunked in the water. It’s a bit weird in some ways, but it’s symbolic of all sorts of good stuff like being given life by God, being cleansed of things we’ve done wrong, and ‘taking the plunge’ in accepting the adventure on offer in a life chasing opportunities to love God and others. Plus Jesus did it so it’s got to be good for you.
I’ve been doing plenty of thinking about it, and I tried to boil down my reasons for baptism into a few succinct points. This is the result:
- It’s a public declaration of faith. Faith in God the father, son, and holy spirit.
- It’s a commitment to live a life that reflects that faith, a life that seeks to be an authentic expression of God’s love here on earth.
- It’s a recognition that I’m far from perfect, but that God’s okay with that and still has a plan for me.
- It’s an acceptance of the challenge to love God and to love others, and to trust that God will lead me to where I’m meant to (and want to) be.
- It’s an invitation to adventure, and it’s me saying to God: I don’t know what the future holds, but through it I’ll hold on to you, and you alone.
1:30pm at Pt Chev beach (Coyle Park end). I know it’ll be rainy and cold but I’m rather looking forward to it and I’d be stoked if you’d join me.
INVESTING // a follow-up
Thank you to everyone who read my post about investing in ethical production. It is such a huge issue, and there is so much to say, and I just wanted to share a few further thoughts.
In my search for a tangible and relevant expression of the Christian faith in today’s culture, it boiled down to a living a lifestyle reflecting the call to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. This is nothing new, but the more I explored the idea, the more I felt that this needed to apply to more than just our direct interactions with others. It must, as I see it, extend to every aspect of our lives. We should seek, in everything we do, to be an example of God’s love.
It may seem a bit of a stretch to link buying your groceries or a t-shirt with Jesus, but there is a relationship between producer and consumer, and in that lies an opportunity to demonstrate love (or lack thereof). As such, I try to avoid purchases that have a negative impact on someone else, be it in the form of forced labour, economic exploitation, environmental degradation, etc. Simultaneously, in making purchases I look for opportunities to invest in products produced with dignity and respect.
It can be very hard. I’m just scratching the surface and even now I struggle. We have, unfortunately, gotten very good at finding ways to externalise costs and remove ourselves from responsibility. Not only that, but with packaging and waste and the environment to consider, 99% of purchases could be argued to be harmful in some way. It’s rather bleak. But this quote comes to mind:
We often get overwhelmed because we can’t do everything, so we do nothing. But if everyone does a little something, we’ll get an awful lot done.
Here are some little things I’ve found to yield good results: Buy fewer things. Look into the production policies of shops and brands that you like. Buy second hand things. Re-cycle, up-cycle, and cycle. Find some companies and brands that you trust, and buy their products.
Here are some companies and brands that I like: AS Colour, Macbeth, Liminal Apparel, Ethical Fashion Forum, Warby Parker, Kowtow Clothing, Uniqlo, and lots of fair trade coffee. If you’re keen to keep up to date with all things conscious consumerism related and be connected with good purchasing options, check out Conscious Consumers on facebook.
INVESTING // everyone’s doing it
I’ve spent the past few weeks working in a call centre answering questions about the sale of shares in a large power company. While I’m still not entirely sold on the idea, the experience has given me insight into and time to think about the extreme caution with which we gamble on our financial well-being. No one, myself included, will question caution regarding the decision of whether or not to invest in a government-owned power company. I would, however, like to question the lack of caution with which we invest in hundreds of companies every week.
Every dollar we spend is an investment. I don’t mean to burden you with crippling responsibility, but it really is true; every expenditure has a flow-on (Newton’s 3rd Law anyone?). Our money goes places. Unfortunately for us, with the widespread separation of producer and consumer, it can be incredibly difficult to discern just who and/or what we are investing in. For example: buying a cheap pair of shoes at a store that sells lots of cheap shoes may save me a few bucks, but past the store and the country of origin (if I can find the label), I really have no idea where these cheap shoes have come from. I don’t know who made them, I don’t know if they were paid a reasonable amount to do so, and I don’t know what the environment was like in which they did so. I get some cheap shoes, but I don’t know why or how. As a culture we’ve done an incredible job of externalising cost and separating ourselves from responsibility for the consequences. So much so that it is far harder to purchase an item you know is ethically produced than it is to purchase an item of ambiguous production ethics. We shouldn’t have to give people a gold star for producing something to a reasonable ethical standard.
While I’m not proud of it, I have on many occasions invested in a company that produces goods less ethically than I’d like. Knowingly, for lack of alternatives, because I wanted something more than I wanted to find out where it came from, or simply because I didn’t have much to spend. Whatever the reason, I don’t want to do that, and I don’t think you want to do that, but one way or another we do do that, and as such we contribute to the blind demand for more things at lower cost which got us here in the first place.
Fortunately, things are being done to turn this tide. In New Zealand, Fair Trade Fortnight is upon us, and with it comes the opportunity to learn more about ethical production, and contribute to demand for ethically-produced goods. I’d love it if ‘Fair Trade’ wasn’t a thing, but for now we need it, so let’s embrace it and invest in it until it we need it no more.
Read down to the section ‘Garment manufacturing in Bangladesh - at a glance’ for an indication of how our demand for cheaper apparel leads to situations such as this. Credit to the companies stepping in to provide compensation, but I hope and pray that this is a catalyst for the massive change that is needed.
SAVED // from sin, for love
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Jesus. Specifically, Jesus the resurrect-ee.
We all know that (according to the Christian faith, at least) Jesus died on the cross and came back to life three days later. Yes, it was an amazing feat of life vs. death, of God vs. Satan, but why?
There is no denying that we have screwed up royally and that someone has to bear the consequence. And I believe that Jesus bore that consequence for our sin, past and present.
Thing is, we aren’t here just to live safe in the knowledge that Jesus has us covered. His resurrection isn’t simply a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card that gives license to do whatever we like. I am overwhelmingly grateful that he does have us covered, more than I’ll ever comprehend, but as far as I understand, Jesus didn’t live, love, die, and resurrect so that we could simply be spared. We weren’t just saved from sin; we were saved for love. No longer burdened with trying to make up for wrongs, we are free to live out God’s plan. Love God, and love others. Extravagantly, compassionately, and sacrificially.
A life spent striving to love seems far more aligned with what Jesus was all about than a life spent trying to keep a clean slate. Makes things a whole lot more interesting, too.
THE ADVENTURE THAT LIVES IS THE ADVENTURE THAT LOVES
The Wedding Band is a collaborative side-project of Mumford & Sons, including the musical talents of Marcus, Ben, Winston, and Ted, Nick Etwell, Callum Lindsay, Jesse Quin, Adam Stockdale, and David Williamson. They released an EP called The First Dance, and if you click above you can download all four songs.
Imagine Mumford & Sons playing at your wedding with a few bonus band members. This is that.
“I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the…
Chew on this with your mind.