Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Moral Complexity of Shopping

Suppose you are shopping for bananas and find two that are equal in every way except for price. Which banana would be the morally responsible one to buy?

My answer involves gratuitous references to Boss Hogg in this week's Smile Politely column: The Moral Complexity of Shopping.


brownie said...

I haven't given you any grief in a while so here goes....

Only a true liberal could make a simple decision (buying the cheaper product, of course(!), for a basic human need: eating) into such a complex maze of insensible moral flim-flamming.

I'm not sure if you should be proud of that fact or not, but you probably are.

After all it's just a banana. And I doubt that even Jesus gave that much thought to who picked his tasty dates or pistachios, or how much they were paid to do it. Knowning that people had to eat, he limited himself to criticising evil at it's true source: the Boss Hogg's of this world; not the folks who ate his product.


Dan S said...

Aww Brownie. I know you care when you argue with me :)

The whole point is that it is not just a banana. The source of Boss Hogg's power and influence is that he makes his money by taking advantage of others. If you stop supporting him by bypassing him, you reduce his power in the world.

I totally disagree that Jesus would not be/is not interested in living wages for workers. His ministry was centered on taking care of the poor, after all.

Robert Sievers said...

Dan S said "His ministry was centered on taking care of the poor, after all."

No, His ministry was centered on exposing our sin so that we could love God by means of repentance and acceptaance of salvation via the cross. This act brings about the Holy Spirit which than allows you to begin systematically removing sin from your life. One example of such a sin is lack of compassion for the poor. Count verses such as those of Luke 10, and compare to the number on eternal issues, such as heaven and hell.

Dan S said...

Well, that's certainly one way to understand Jesus.

dw said...

Could it be possible that Jesus centered on both of these concerns? Perhaps Jesus recognized that a transformation of the self through an encounter with the living God and the indwelling of God's Spirit was necessary for us to overcome our selfish, sinful behaviors, and perhaps Jesus also recognized that no transformation that mattered for anything could exclude generosity and identification with the least of these? And perhaps it's not always crystal clear where the moment of transformation occurs and where the identification with the meek begins. I think the muddlement of the two (I like that term) has often been a spiritual challenge for me.

dw (who is officially retiring from any more pastoral attempts to hermeneut anything)