This year has been an interesting year for my personal convictions. Over winter break I read the amazingly helpful book Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices by Julie Clawson. It goes through seven major and “mundane” parts of our lives and shows how there are major global inequities, amoralities, and injustices being perpetrated behind the scenes of all these spheres of living. She explains, with both nuance and care, these issues and then offers super-practical, nitty-gritty suggestions for living life more justly in light of these things.
My New Year’s Resolution was to take one of her seven issues each month and try to incorporate a more just way of living into that. The issues (in chapter order): Coffee, Chocolate, Cars/Oil consumption, Food, Clothing, Waste/Pollution, Global Debt.
January for me was officially Just Coffee Month. Other than an Irish coffee I picked up at an Irish pub (which I couldn’t confirm its trade method), I have not spent one cent on coffee that has not been ethically traded and certified as such. Special thanks to my friends at Elixr Coffee (on Yelp), the new best coffee-shop in Philly, for offering amazing Direct Trade coffee choices (which is far more ethical than “Fair” Trade Coffee).
I’ve also been fortunate enough to have also started walking everywhere I could, so to use my car less (those that knew me in college would be shocked). I have bought some pieces of Fair Trade chocolate–just because they were Fair Trade. I’ve also been trying to spread awareness about Global Debt issues.
This month (and probably next month as well) is going to be my Just Food month. My girlfriend came up with the idea to do a cleansing diet through the month, and I joyfully submitted (go Egalitarianism!). Other than the supplements, shakes, and such in this particular diet, for the most part, this diet is what I would want my diet to normally be: organic, whole foods, nothing processed (no bread, sugar, or alcohol–gasp!–like I said: for the most part); mainly meat, obscure grains and seeds, and lots of vegetables; trying to find as much locally-grown agriculture as possible. In short, Michael Pollan‘s wet dream.
And I do this, prayerfully looking forward to that most precious of Church Seasons, Lent; the yearly time of morning and fasting as we feel the ever-increasing weight of our darkness before God–feeling the tension of millennia rise to a pitch only to break forth in freedom and joy as we celebrate God’s bearing of that weight and conquering it on Easter. It had a very profound effect on me and my blogging last year.
Truly believing that this physical and material world is the world that God is preparing to be his eternal dwelling place, to eat so near to its soil connects me, in a way, with the future dwelling place of God–my Home. I hope that this “earthy” and disciplined diet can prepare me both physically and spiritually for Lent (mark your calendars: Ash Wednesday is March 9th).
I still don’t know what I will officially fast for Lent, but I pray that these other disciplines of justice and care that I am implementing in my coffee drinking, car driving, and food eating will cultivate in me a deep concern and drive for that truest of fasts that God lays out for us in Isaiah 58 ( go here for entire chapter):
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.