Consumer Ethics

Julie Clawson 1-24-2012

Beyond the typical objections that the Harry Potter books will turn children into Satan-worshipers and encourage them to disrespect authority, one mom complained that she found it inappropriate that at Hogwarts food magically appears on the table at mealtime. Her argument was that she wants her children to have a good work ethic and not to believe that anything in life is free. She wanted her girls to know that preparing meals is hard work and so would therefore be sheltering them from this absurd depiction of people getting something for nothing.

I think at the time I had to restrain myself from asking if she also banned her kids from hearing the story of the feeding on the 5,000 in Sunday school, but it was hard not to think about her objection a few months later as I read The Goblet of Fire and its subplot about house elves. As it revealed, food does not magically appear on the tables at Hogwarts, it is prepared by hardworking elves who in the wizarding world are generally kept as slaves.

Jill Shook 12-01-2011

Despite foreclosures and rising poverty, there are models -- lots of them -- to help put decent housing within reach.

Eugene Cho 11-20-2008
All of you who have a pulse know that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the single most crazy shopping day in the United States.
Jason Evans 11-17-2008

The day after Thanksgiving, thousands of Americans head for the shopping malls for a ritual known as Black Friday, called such as it's a day when many retailers move from the red (losses) into the black (gains).

Black Friday is "celebrated" nationwide by working off Thanksgiving's meal by shopping. Over a decade ago another celebration was started on the same day: Buy Nothing Day.

Jim Wallis 9-30-2008

We are all familiar with the crazy-looking street preacher in some public square haranguing every passerby with a message of doom and gloom while holding up a sign that reads, "Repent, the end is near!"

Becky Garrison 9-19-2008
During a recent trip to Seattle, I took a tour of Theo Chocolate, the first and only organic and fair trade chocolate factory in the United States.
Allison Johnson 7-31-2008

Kosher law forbids you from boiling a calf in its mother's milk. But how are human mothers who work in slaughterhouses being treated? In the wake of revelations about the working conditions at kosher slaughterhouses, some rabbis are demanding a higher standard of worker treatment -- and they're willing to lay down the law. [...]

Allison Johnson 7-31-2008

Kosher law forbids you from boiling a calf in its mother's milk. But how are human mothers who work in slaughterhouses being treated? In the wake of revelations about the working conditions at kosher slaughterhouses, some rabbis are demanding a higher standard of worker treatment -- and they're willing to lay down the law. [...]

Elizabeth Palmberg 5-06-2008

One of Jesus' most in-your-face stories, and a personal favorite of mine, is the Parable of the Dishonest Manager in Luke 16. I would loosely paraphrase its central insight as follows: "If you have the sense God gave a dog, you will realize that you can't hold onto money very long anyway, but you can keep the friends you make by giving it to those in need. You do the math." The passage [...]

Anna Almendrala 4-14-2008

In church one day, my pastor asked us to raise our hands if we believed in what the Bible said. The right answer seemed pretty obvious, and the whole congregation and I raised our hands. Then he asked us to raise our hand if we had read the Bible in its entirety. Touché, Pastor Sean. Touché.


In his latest book, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as [...]

Kim Szeto 3-26-2008

Environmental consciousness seems to be gaining momentum with increasing numbers of "eco-friendly" products out there from organic bath towels to hybrid cars. But are we really being more environmentally conscious when we buy these products? Are we actually thinking twice about the ecological consequences, or are we just switching from "brand x" to "brand organic"? A recent Washington Post article,

Shane Claiborne 12-11-2007

A few years ago I remember a pastor friend telling me they tried something a little different for their Christmas services. Instead of the usual holiday décor and clutter of the sanctuary, they brought in a bunch of manure and hay and scattered it under the pews so the place would really smell like the stank manger where it all began. I remember laughing hysterically as he described everyone coming [...]

Becky Garrison 12-06-2007

I became aware of Rev. Billy last year through my friend Jahneen Otis, who serves as the musical director of St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery. Some of her musicians and singers perform in the Stop Shopping Choir and the [...]

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