Hey it's October...lets talk about slavery.
Sometime towards the end of college I realized that slavery was a very real, very modern problem. My journey towards social awareness is documented on this blog. I think my first blog post on the subject was mid-2011 when I was initially discovering the realities of the issue and trying to figure out what I could do about it. It didn't take long for that process to land me in a very frustrated state of mind but I trekked on.
Last year, I started trying to put my money where my month was. In November I complied a list of black friday deals for people doing Christmas shopping that was entirely fair trade, I did a Light Gives Heat giveaway, and I discovered The Advent Conspiracy. I was desperately trying to be consistent in matching my actions and my convictions.
It was an honorable place to be, but in the end I was a donating, blogging, guilt-ridden girl who felt inadequate.
That was almost a year ago. Today I remembered that October is Fair Trade Month. Here it is, the end of October, and this is the first time it's even crossed my mind. Have I stopped caring? Not at all.
If you delve into trade issues (like maybe taking this quiz) you'll quickly discover that you actually cannot live this out through your buying habits short of growing your own food, making your own clothes, and basically living off-grid. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't make changes where you can (like buying produce from local farmers or switching your coffee brand), and it doesn't mean that we should stop spreading the word and trying to make strides. (Check out the end of this post on Halloween candy that talks about the strides made just in the last year with companies like Hershey and Nestle). We are on the hook for slavery since it's our consumption habits that fuel the industry. But you know what I realized?
I can't solve modern slavery. I don't have the capability. You know who does? Jesus. He can use me and others like me---but ultimately He's the only one who can rescue the mistreated and the hopeless from the darkness of slavery.
Releasing yourself from the responsibility doesn't have to lead to a place of apathy. I feel like I've lived more in line with my convictions this past year than ever before. I have been apart of real tangible partnerships that help locally and globally and I've given away more than I previously thought had the resources to give. I've found myself praying more and caring just as much, but ultimately having a lot more peace.
In the end it's not really about what you buy or who you donate money to---it's about living your life in obedience to Jesus. When you're doing that, the rest falls into place.