Married to the Empire

Monday, February 25, 2008

Where conviction meets reality

A couple of months ago, I finished reading Randy Alcorn's Safely Home. It's Christian fiction, which I typically don't read simply because I usually find it to be contrived and too preachy. Honestly, Safely Home isn't much different; however, the reality behind the fiction hit me hard. This book is about religious persecution in China, and I was horrified to realize that so many of the objects in my home very well may have been made by the forced labor of political and religious prisoners. The idea that my fellow Christians (or anyone, for that matter) might be toiling in horrid conditions so that I can have inexpensive stuff is one that hurts.

Since reading that book, I have been convicted to stop buying things that were made in China. This has been a bit difficult because when you look at where things are made, it seems as if everything is made in China. If nothing else, this conviction of mine is keeping me from spending money in a lot of cases!

This weekend, however, proved to be too much. Steven accidentally broke the glass globe on a lamp, and I needed to replace it. We went to Lowe's for a globe, something or other for his new stormtrooper helmet, an over-the-door hook, and some organizational things he wanted for the garage. We grabbed everything we needed, then looked at glass globes last. As I picked up one I liked, I saw the big sticker that said, "Made in China." I groaned, and Steven laughed. (He's been teasing me about my boycott on Chinese-made goods because he thinks it's a losing battle.) As I picked up globe after globe, every single one was made in China.

Then we started turning over the things we'd already picked up from around the store. Again, they were all made in China. I am beyond frustrated because it's as if we can't get away from this, and I truly am fighting a losing battle.

This is where I confess that we went ahead and bought what we came for. The broken glass globe on the lamp wasn't safe for us or the cats, who often brush up against it on their way to the window sill. Steven really did need the things he came for. And while I could have lived without the over-the-door hanger, it truly does help with my own organizational needs. Reality seems to dictate that sometimes I'll have to make the choice to go against my conviction to avoid Chinese-made products. But you know what I've started doing? As silly as this may sound to some people, I'm praying for whoever made each product I bring into my home. Maybe it was someone in a legitimate factory and maybe it was forced labor; in either case, there are unknown Chinese people I'm asking the Lord to bless and protect.


AnneK said...

Thats when it is tough, eh? When the ruuber meets the road. You know, I tried doing that for a while-although not for the same reason as yours and gave up. When I went to India this time, I bought clothes to last me for the year. To get by with as less chinese stuff as I can buy is what I am trying. We will see where that goes.

JunkMale said...

That doesn't sound silly at all. Isn't it always fun when idealistic convictions are actually put to test?

As for the Chinese stuff, know...try to stick with your convictions when you can ;)

*carrie* said...

Anne Marie,

I'm glad you decided to post about this and appreciate your perspective.

Thanks for your comment on my post today. The adults who help with the youth group serve as sponsors for camp, trips, etc. With a toddler, I'm not at a time of life where that's a good fit, but I'd love to do those excursions someday.

Ann said...

That is hard. But it's really cool that you are praying for the people who made the stuff.