Clothes Horse? Or Slave Owner?

9:59 AMHeather

Okay, okay.  I know I sound like a broken record.  Imagine my end of things.  It's like Groundhog Day over here with how God keeps messing with me.  Big time.  Getting all in my business, and I keep reminding myself that I invited all this.  When I cracked the door to a deeper faith walk through the book "7."  My love/hate relationship with Jen Hatmaker continues.  And my toes are beyond bruised.  But, it's all for my good, right?  Oh, growing pains are hard.  

Who knew that when I really started taking this "break my heart for what breaks yours" business with God more seriously that it would reach into my closet?  

I mean, I like fashion.  I like to be in style.  I like to ask my much younger sisters-in-law and niece if I am hitting the trends somewhat.  You know, in a "40+ year-old" appropriate way.  No booty shorts for a woman who gave birth three times.  I've told these family members to call me out if they see me sporting mom jeans.  Please!   

And it's so easy to justify my apparently "cluttered" closet. Yeah, cluttered.  A description recently thrown out by two different people within a few days of each other.  These people don't even talk to each other, so I have to accept that this conspiracy goes much higher.   Thanks, God, for that gentle reminder there.  

I justify it because I'm a bargain shopper.  Plus, I've been so blessed to be gifted with some beautiful clothes for birthdays and holidays.  So, see?  It's not like I'm going into debt here.  Isn't it okay to be a clothes horse if you've done it carefully?  I do wear most of the things I own.  At least every so often.  

But, apparently, that still misses the mark.  Or at least, I'm feeling convicted that it does.  Because suddenly my eyes have been open to something and I can no longer plead ignorance.  I can no longer fall on being unaware as an excuse.  Because indifference is no excuse.  

Listen. Slavery ain't just something that Abraham Lincoln tried to abolish.  It isn't a problem of the 19th century and it isn't ancient history.  In fact, 27 million people around the world are currently victims of slavery.  All types of slavery.  But, the one most relevant to my clothes horse ways is the abuse of factory workers around the world.  Human rights violations.  Crowded unsafe clothes factories where workers are barely paid and often mistreated. 

The clothes that make me feel pretty are all too often a product of a practice that is so terribly ugly.   

I have to admit that when I use my consumer power to purchase clothing whose industries perpetuates the injustice of slavery, I am making a statement.  By choosing to own these clothes, I am essentially part of owning the slaves who made them.  I can't just stand in my closet and say, "how pretty!"  I have to look at each garment and ask who sacrificed for my benefit?  Were labor abuses part of the production of that shirt?  Of that dress?  Of those jeans?

And I can't just sit idly by.  Nope.  Not anymore.  I have to do something.  But, what can one do?  

As only God could do, I thought through this blog post a few days ago, as I am going through my clothing fast week for my study of 7.  Then, yesterday, I saw a link to this video on my Facebook feed with the graphic below.

You may see this image on your Facebook feed today.  I implore you don't ignore it.  Bloggy friends, God wanted me to share these thoughts on THIS day for a reason.  It's no coincidence how it lined up.  

Let me drive home this point that is hitting me hard with this Scripture that I cannot get out of my head.  And it's weaving its way into my heart. 

The plunder from the poor is in your houses. 
Isaiah 3:14

That feels harsh, I know.  I thought the same thing.  Isn't that overstating it?  I mean, I'm just keeping myself clothed.  

Sure.  But at whose cost?  Whose fingers sewed that garment?  Under what type of conditions?  It's easy to say that's halfway around the world, and someone will buy that shirt if you don't.  True that.  

But, you can let your voice be heard with every purchase you make.  We all can.  We can let the almighty dollar demonstrate our stance.  Either ignoring labor abuses for the sake of our consumerism.  Or by using our dollars to support brands and products that are made through fair trade practices.  

I may sound crazy.  I may sound like one of those far out hippie type, activitist people.  Believe me--I'm surprising myself here.  Because a week ago, this was hardly on my radar.  But, once your eyes are open, it's hard to cover your ears and loudly sing, "la la la, I'm not listening."

The choice is really yours.  I certainly have no room to be judgmental here.  But, I want you to join me in this realization that our clothes horse tendencies can make us part and parcel to being slave owners.  
How can we end it?  What good can one person do?  

Here's what you can do
1.  Watch the video link above.

2.  Consider posting the link to your Facebook feed.  Or how about your Pinterest clothing board?  We could flood these feeds with some bit of hard truth.

3.  Check out this website that tells the story behind the brand.  Get the inside scoop on brands and products that are produced with labor abuses--or those that practice fair trade.  

4.  Download the free2work app on your phone--for either iPhones or Android phones.  When you make your clothing purchases, scan the bar code.  Do the research to determine the story behind that brand.  And use your purchasing power to make your voice heard.

Listen, bloggy friends.  This is serious business.  We sit in our cushy American wealth, oblivious to the suffering around the world.  We stand in our cluttered closets and moan about not having anything to wear.  And it's not right.  It's especially wrong as followers of Christ.  Our Savior commands us to feed the poor, clothe the naked, help the oppressed.   The least of these, bloggy friends.  Be Jesus.  That's pure religion.  Nope, I'm not talking about True Religion jeans.  I'm talking about pure religion that pleases our Father.


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