Sunday, November 15, 2009

the cost of freedom

        It costs me $10 for a soccer ball. I can afford that. But a $10 soccer ball is affordable because it is hand-stitched by slave labor. If I want a soccer ball that is guaranteed to be made by free labor, it costs $30. And it is so damn hard to choose a $30 soccer ball when you have the option of the $10 soccer ball.
        It's the same problem with free range chicken eggs. We would rather pay $1.50 for a dozen eggs of chickens who are cramped in coops rather than paying $3.50 for free range chicken eggs that come from chickens who have been raised in a healthy, sustainable manner. Well, it's not the same problem. But it's still shortsightedness that cripples the future moving towards healthier practices.
        What is the cost of freedom? It's a $30 soccer ball, for starters.
        But even I, who care so much about human rights, have trouble buying the $30 soccer ball. I bought my soccer ball before I knew that my $10 soccer ball was made by slave labor, and I have trouble even looking at it. It's tainted. It's like stealing. 27 million people in forced labor around the world even though slavery is illegal everywhere. 15 million children in slavery. Making clothes, soccer balls, and bricks for me. I'm not saying that I can solve it. I'm not saying that me choosing the $30 soccer ball is going to eradicate this evil of modern-day slavery. But it's me taking a stand in whatever way that I can. It's taking a stand for justice.
        It's easy to be apathetic about something that seems so far away--something that we don't have to see every day. But it breaks my heart to know that I benefit from the injustice in this world. I don't even have words for it... it's one of those things that just silences you because it's such a huge ache on my heart. A blog I stumbled across once while researching slavery seemed to say it best:

"Of my own ambition I would never think to become a living sacrifice for those in need, but Christ bears in me a love for the broken that breaks me deeper day by day. His divine invitation to dine with Him has introduced me to His heart. During our conversations He speaks of the physically poor and abused, the mentally impaired and deceived, the emotionally neglected and bankrupt, and the spiritually asleep as if His joy depends on healing every one of us. The longer I linger with Him, the more my joy depends on it, too...
Oh Christ, bear in us strength in our weakness by granting us faith in our fear and hope in our hurting and purpose in the pain as we face injustice, in order that we wouldn't lose heart. May Your power be made perfect in our weakness as we step out in the measure of faith You have given us to be Your hands and feet. Go before us to loose the chains of injustice, to set the oppressed free, to shelter the wanderer, to clothe the naked, and to provide for the poor not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually - which are of eternal importance. We ache not to build our castles in the sand that today stand and tomorrow fall, but to further Your Kingdom that will come tomorrow and stand for eternity.
Oh, haste the day! I live for it! But until then I will ache. And though my heart feels so heavy I count the weight as a blessing ordained by God instead of a burden as long as every ounce serves to motivate me to abolish injustice and continues to inspire me deeper into the precious heart of Christ.”

What is the cost of freedom? I think it's being willing to give up some of our own freedom to face these things, though it's hard to hear. All I know is that as I dig deeper into God's heart, there's no way to avoid God''s deep desire to set the captives free. I don't have a solution of how to make this happen, but I know that I want to, have to be a part of loosing the chains of injustice.

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