New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

CONSUMED: 'Welcome to Babel!'

*WARNING: This is my opinion and could be found to be somewhat offensive. Read at your own risk….you may want to close your left brain for a moment as Pandora's box is vented. Please comment appropriately.

I have read and reread some recent comments about my patronage to Wal-Mart and while I don’t feel any pressure to justify myself…I have done a deeper search of the claims against this giant; largely because the dissenters are people I respect and admire (from what I read and ‘see’ of them).

I understand the allegations of ethical compromise or complete lack of ethics, and I understand the ‘sweatshop’ allegations as well. I understand the sexual discrimination charges. I understand the support of homosexuals via advertising and market focus. I understand the questionable magazine covers and music sales. I understand the concern about some pharmaceuticals. I understand the boycott initiative and this. I even understand the extreme abuse of international and national employees all in the name of low-cost and the mighty dollar.

All I can think to say is: Welcome to AMERICA….welcome to RELIGIOUS America. I like to call her “Babel”!

In America the goal is to meet the demands of the public…at a cost. We are a society based on free-enterprise and capitalism. We will sacrifice our very mother’s name for the mighty, mighty dollar…let’s call him Buck, shall we?

Buck decides who goes where. Buck decides where we shop and how much we buy. Buck controls the vacation destination. Buck has been dieting…he may even be bulimic and he’s getting thinner every year. Buck is also highly coveted.

So what’s the problem? Well it seems Buck has been offending the church some; more specifically the AFA. I believe a part of Buck’s offensive behavior is his own elusive nature as he thins. The AFA would have me believe that Buck and Jesus are best friends and Jesus decides where Buck goes.

Here’s MY truth. My truth is the possibility that the allegations of sweatshop conditions and employee abuse could be more government related…than Wal-Mart related.

My truth is that sexual discrimination resulted in a class action lawsuit because Wal-Mart is HUGE…I have worked and am NOW working in an environment where this exists daily.

My truth is…I refuse to discriminate against homosexuality because it’s P.C. My (well-researched) truth is the Scripture used to defend the arguments against homosexuality is not translated correctly (and I’m sure that’s God’s doing).

My truth is these magazines, music, and movies are all a part of our country. WE (I) choose whether to pick them up and purchase them or look through them…Wal-Mart shouldn’t have to baby-sit me because I’m weak willed. My truth is I refuse to endorse censorship at the cost of my freedom.

My truth is…I would rather live in a world of questionable pharmaceuticals, than a world full of unwanted and extremely abused children. My truth is…I have chosen a country where I have more free-choices than almost anywhere else. Why would I now want to limit those choices through regulation and law that will inevitably hurt more than help?

My truth is if I boycott Wal-Mart…I will have to boycott every grocery store available in my region. Target has faced similar charges. Buy 4 Less is barely surviving amidst the scandals of the late 80’s and early 90’s. The smaller markets each have been bombarded with various allegations as well, about product safety and cost.

None of us should be surprised when a business grows and it results in the ‘exposure’ of some unsavory activity. It’s much like the search for an actor or actress or POLITICIAN who hasn’t compromised his/her own values and ethics in the name of entertainment and …and maintained success and appeal. Why do you think we have public polls of popularity? Trust me…you put anything or ANYONE under a microscope…you will find flaws!

Is that right? No! Does that change it? No! Does bringing down the fist of righteousness change it? Sorry…no. I have already been told I can’t possibly love Jesus because of my political affiliation…a label…a ‘loose’ label.

What’s a girl to do? I have to face my Creator one day. I won’t have an attorney present. I won’t have a hand to hold. I will stand before God and be held accountable for the things I have done…and not done in my life. If Wal-Mart and my ‘truths’ are my ultimate demise, so be it.

To God be the glory!

Have a reflective Wednesday.


the voice said...

Well said, Kim. If a person doesn't want to shop somewhere due to "moral" reasons, than they don't have to. But to demand that others accept their reasoning, flawed or not, is wrong. Sadly, these same people demanding that Wal Mart, or any other corporation, conform to whatever rules they believe apply, likely are not able to live according to the same rules. I believe Jesus would call it hypocrisy. God bless you, Kim, always. Ken

Shalee said...

I'm with you on all of this, save the homosexual issue. I don't discriminate towards them - I have homosexuals as friends, but I do believe that it is a sin; this sin has been stated many times over in the Old and the New Testement. And if scripture is God-breathed, as I believe it to be, I'm not going to not call something a sin when God did, just to please the world. I don't agree that the scriptures against homosexuality have been incorrectly translated. That would be re-writing the scriptures to suit humanity, and I don't really believe that God, who put the books together in the first place, would purposely allow us to be confused on such a poignant item such as sin.

And you're right, if we start boycotting all the places with issues, then we would have no place left to shop because in God's eyes, a sin is a sin is a sin, be it abusing a weaker person, embezzling retirement accounts, usury, lying, greed or being envious of fellow workers. There is no perfect business in the world.

And I proudly reserve my right to not eat at Hooters. I just thought that needed to be said. :)

Dawn said...

Wow, I didn't mean to say nobody should shop at Wal-Mart. I do often, just not for groceries, because I can't go at a time when it's less crowded! The person who said he/she agreed with me didn't get what I was saying. It was nothing political - just laziness on my part, mostly. And the fact that my foot hurts and I don't like to walk that far to get my toothpaste!

I agree with Shalee that homosexuality is condemned by God in no uncertain terms, but I have learned to love the individuals that I have been acquainted with. Abhorring the lifestyle doesn't let us abhor them personally.

I hope you didn't take my comment wrong!

kpjara said...

So far so good ladies (and gentleman)...and Shalee...I will also not be going to Hooters...just not my thang'.

Don't worry offense taken own voice came from the request to check out AFA (which I've struggled with in the past)...and with regards to homosexuality...I'm basing my own belief on the root of that word from the original Bibilical text.

Morning Glory said...

Well said, Kim. What business is it of anyone else where you shop? I shop there too. If we boycott all the organizations who don't agree with our sense of ethics, we'd have to stay inside our homes and never do anything. We'd never go to or rent a movie, we'd have to turn off and sell our TVs, we'd have to quit using medication. My goodness -- if we actually knew all of the details of businesses we patronize, we'd never find a truly "pure" one. You're right...this is America. I have to live and function in my great country, and where I shop has nothing to do with my relationship with Jesus Christ.

You do not have to defend yourself.

great2beme said...

Okay, so this in intense especially since I know God is telling me all things we do should be rooted first in love. I know many things everyone does are sins, I am sure glad that God doesn't have people boycott me. I am not saying support or agree with what they do but merely love them anyway God will as Kim says have the last word. I know the biblical text about homosexuality but can anyone show me where it says judge those people? My version of the Bible says it is God's job and our only goal here on earth is to live "OUR" lives according to his riches and glory and love all of God's children. The next time you look at someone doing something you don't get or agree with ask God to show you what he sees when he looks at this person. I am guessing we would all be surprised. Maybe not but I usually am and I have too much in my own life that needs fixing and judging I don't feel safe doing it to otehrs anymore, now if I can quit trying to understand my life would be much free-er! Have a great day, just my 2 cents!

Swandive said...

Oops. It's me. Sorry to have misunderstood Dawn. And a huge apology to you kpjara. I was in no way telling you, or anyone here what to do. I guess I stepped way out of bounds. Shop wherever you wish. you are right, Bucks speaks. mea culpa,
mea culpa,
mea maxima culpa
Just so you know, I enjoy reading your blog, because I think (stepping out on a limb) we are from two very different religious camps. What I think we have in common is the longing for God in our daily journey. You stretch me, and help me other sides. I hope that you and your fellow readers can hear this apology loud and clear. I heard you, and have been adequately shamed.

kpjara said...

This conversation is going so much better than I ever imagined...and "Swan" no apology I mentioned I needed to do the deeper dig...and it was several commenters that cautioned me of what I'd find.

God bless! Keep speaking truth!

Shalee said...

Michelle: please do not misunderstand what I just said. I love the person, not the lifestyle they live. I will talk to others about the love of Christ and I pray that my words are not just words, but that they will be evident in my life. In this, I feel that I am being like Jesus. I have spoken the truth (scripture) and shown grace (not rejecting them as a person), but having compassion because I too am a sinner. I am sharing the good news that Christ died for everyone, no matter their past, no matter their present struggle, no matter their doubts or fears. And that God can use them despite/because of the way their life has gone.

It is not judging to state a fact. Homosexual is a sin, per the Bible. (Lev 18:22, 1 Cor 6:9) So is sexual immorality. But the Bible does say this about a fellow brother who choses to live a life outside of God's teaching: (Here's your scriptural proof about judging in the Bible.)

I Cor 5:9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

This situation applies to a member of the body of Christ who willfully disregards God's instructions.

2 Thes 3:14 and 15 continues this this idea of correcting a brother who is outside God's teachings:

14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Sexual immorality is any sexual action taken outside of the area of marriage and does not follow God's teaching about marriage. In 1 Cor 7, after we are instructed to flee sexual immorality, the scripture says that if you cannot refrain from sexual immorality, you should marry. A man should have his own wife and a woman should have her own husband. (vs 2). He then follows up with what it means to be a husband and a wife. (v 3-7) God is very specific as to what constitutes an acceptable marriage. Man and woman. For us to change it or to act like God "really meant" something else is to say that we understand the mind of God completely, or in essense we are God and therefore we can make up the rules. We cannot. We are only called to follow.

Do I have my life completely in order? Do I have all my demons conquered? Have I led an exemplary life in Christ? By no means, NO! But I will strive to use my hard-earned knowledge and ugly experiences to help a fellow brother or sister to avoid the pain of sin and the guilt of willful disobedience. I would only hope that someone else who notices my disobedience will love me enough to "step on my toes" so that I can get right with God.

And if talking to a fellow Christian about a sin with the utmost respect and the fullest love is constituted as judging, then I will have to hope and to pray that God will see it as an effort to keep others from an eternal destiny that is not in any way pleasant, not as an act that says to anyone that I think myself better than them.

Stacey said...

Wow, I wasn't sure where you were going with this whole thing at first. I'm glad you said it though. It's hard to hear about the places you shop doing bad things sometimes. It makes me stop and think about where I'm giving my bucks. You're so right though, if I stop shopping at Walmart then I can't shop Targer, Safeway, Fry's or Albertsons either! It's hard to know what to do sometimes but we still have to provide for our families each week and if we can save a buck or two, that's where I'm going!

I also had a thought while reading this... you just never know when a chance to witness to someone might come up. In the line at the store or to an associate that's helping you. I want to focus more on living my life as an example of Christ's love and less on all the garbage that's going on around me each day!!

Serenity said...

My Mother n law and sis n law dont shop at Target, nor do they buy the American Dolls (I think thats the name of them) because they "cater" to the Gay community.

I dont understand how anyone has the right to judge people, especially self proclaimed Christians. If being Gay is a sin, then that person is the one that has to stand before God. I hear it constantly about my Libral/Democratic ways. Yes, I believe that Gays have every bit of a right to marry as me or the next person. They should have the same rights as any hetrosexual person.

I just dont believe that God would turn anyone away based on their sexual preference. Again, it is NOT up to us on who does or doesnt get into Heaven.

Hope I didnt cross any lines

Grafted Branch said...

Oh. Wow. That was quite a post. I don't even know what to say. I am obviously behind a post or two.

I love what Shalee has said. We can't expect saved behavior from those who have not yet come to know Christ as Savior. But we also don't validate their sinful ways; we can't, in good conscience, tell them that it is o.k.

As far as Walmart goes...I only said that your's needed larger aisles! lol. But I did find it ironic that you mentioned abused children and the offensive materials in the mag. racks, in subsequent paragraphs. I would suggest that the offensive materials ARE an abuse to our children. We adults are often desensitized to even realize what an offense they are to children -- boys and girls alike.

But, it's hard to keep children innocent anywhere -- even the freeway with the billboards promoting gentlem@n's clubs -- so while I don't boycott Walmart, I DO avoid it like a bad cold.

But maybe it's more about the bad parking for me! lol.

Spookie the Warrior said...

uAMEN!! To God be the glory!!!

PEZmama said...

I would love to see someone boycott WalMart (or any store for that matter) because their prices are just too low - because we WANT to pay MORE for fair trade items, because we want people who make our clothes and our trinkets and our accesories to be paid fairly for the hard work they do. Wouldn't it be nice if Christians, who believe that the love of money is a root of all evil, would actually stop loving it so much that they value "savings" (also spiritually coded as "stewardship") more than the well-being of millions of other people around the world.

And that "they" in the last sentence would include me.

Just wondering how many of us who complain about sweatshops and the like would actually be willing to pay more for our necessities, and do with less in general.

R.G. said...

Rock on, girl. You said a mouthful.

I am not half so educated as you about all the Wal-Mart claims. I certainly know they exist (who doesn't?) I shop at Wal-Mart and I don't pretend I do it for any lofty philosophical reasons. I live in a small town and we've always had to drive "into town" to shop. Our Wal-Mart opened a couple of months ago and I think everyone in my town is there several times a week! Sorry, but we are tired of driving a half-hour to get to Target or a mall. Besides that, who says Target or the mall is any better? I can go to Wal-Mart which takes me less than the duration of one song on the radio to get there, and thereby avoid driving "into town" and making separate stops at Borders, Toys R Us, Best Buy, JC Penney and Michaels (for example). Hmmm... should I do a quick half-hour errand, or make a 3-hour oddysey? Sorry for rambling on... all this to say, I'm a shameless Wal-Mart shopper with no apology.