Tag Archives: style wise

i’m still here

Hello, y’all. I’m not gone; I’ve just been posting up a storm on my fair trade blog, Style Wise.

hot air balloons charlottesville

I’ve also been reading some thought provoking and inspiring articles:

It’s an almost universal truth that any language you don’t understand sounds like it’s being spoken at 200 m.p.h. — a storm of alien syllables almost impossible to tease apart. That, we tell ourselves, is simply because the words make no sense to us. Surely our spoken English sounds just as fast to a native speaker of Urdu. And yet it’s equally true that some languages seem to zip by faster than others. Spanish blows the doors off French; Japanese leaves German in the dust — or at least that’s how they sound.

Reflecting on what he went through when Ruthie was sick, he told me that the secret to the good life is “setting limits and being grateful for what you have. That was what Ruthie did, which is why I think she was so happy, even to the end.”

While honest compensation should always be sought with both humility and pride, the pursuit of riches and wealth as an end goal is always a losing battle. Riches will never fully satisfy… we will always be left searching for more. People who view their work as only a means to get rich often fall into temptation, harmful behavior, and foolish desires.

And when you believe that minuscule imperative statements trump entire narratives, you miss out on the complexity that is woven into scripture. You lose stories like Deborah and Junia and Phoebe and Tabitha and Lydia and Anna and Priscilla– because these stories about powerful women conflict with the limited suggestion of one author to one friend. You lose the ability to learn from the value of contradictions, because instead of recognizing contradictions as the human component of individual perspective and human narrative, the contradictions become something you have to explain away or deny

Somewhere in my mid-twenties, I drifted off the Romans Road and stumbled onto a bigger, wilder Gospel in which salvation is less about individual “sin management” and more about God’s relentless work restoring, redeeming, and remaking the whole world. Salvation isn’t some insurance policy that kicks in after death; it’s the ongoing, daily work of Jesus, who loosens the chains of anger, greed, materialism, and hate around our feet and teaches us to walk in love, joy, and peace instead. It’s good news, not bad news, and I can’t, for the life of me, believe that only evangelical Christians like myself have a monopoly on it.

What have you been up to?

*Hot Air balloon over Charlottesville, by Reid Kasprowicz on flickr

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radical

Originally published on my fair trade blog, Style Wise:

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shopping addiction

radical : of, relating to, or proceeding from a root

I started this blog with a specific reader in mind. I wanted to encourage young women – my peers – who were already reading personal style blogs to take an interest in a more thoughtful approach to consumption. Although it wasn’t fully parsed out, I knew that simply buying better wasn’t an end to the moral journey. But it’s a lot more fun to talk about etsy and charity-minded start ups than to talk about frugality or to address the dark, addictive underbelly of shopping.

But the more I think about morality as it pertains to consumption, the more I realize that I need to buy less altogether. 

It’s important, of course, to realize on a superficial level that we bring more to the table than our curated closets and styling capabilities. But it’s immensely difficult to let that sink in, and to actually change our habits.

I assume that my readers come from a place similar to my own. I grew up (upper) middle class and, while my parents emphasized budgeting and saving, I experienced no real financial strain. Influenced by my grandmother’s sales rack obsession, I seemed to intuitively justify buying anything and everything as long as it was on sale. I liked the rush and the hunt of a good deal.

Later in college, just introduced to personal style blogs that emphasized the importance of investment and statement pieces, I replaced my sales-only paradigm with a boring, preppy basics only framework. And then, when I realized everything I owned was boring, I went crazy with prints. And the cycle continues. But the consistent result of each new set of guidelines is that it encourages me to search and spend like the addict that I am until I’m nauseated by my own materialism.

The point is that the real problem is bigger than poor labor regulations. It’s more than carelessness. It’s the addiction to new and better and cheaper. It’s the haul videos and constant self advertising and attempts to be brand ambassadors. It’s the thoughtlessness and vanity of it.

We need to spend less. I have to tell myself that, too: I need to spend less. And I need to focus less on what I can get my grubby, greedy hands on. And it’s at once ridiculous and terrible that it’s so hard for me to do.

Of course, buying ethically is a great idea. And buying things in general is fun and sometimes even necessary. But the mission of this blog is only a little better than its non-fair trade counterparts if it fails to acknowledge that maybe there’s something wrong with the whole system, that maybe buying ethically opens up a can of worms that causes us to reassess our spending habits at their root.

I’m beginning to see this process as a gradual (at times painful) journey to better, more thoughtful living in all areas of my life. The growing pains are in full swing, but I believe I’ll come out better on the other side. The important thing is not to give up – I’ve wanted so badly lately to give it all up. But I see that the fair trade mission is bigger than my aches and moans and will power, and if I can’t will myself to sprint ahead, I can at least resign myself to it – and keep pressing on.

For additional reading on this topic, see my homily here

*image source: by SnowMika leírása

freshly pressed

freshlypressedThank you to all who accessed my blog through WordPress’ Freshly Pressed feature and read, commented, liked, or followed. The homily I posted here was presented in my local congregation last Sunday. Since it was my first time presenting a sermon, I was nervous and emotional, but I made it through and felt moved in a way I didn’t expect by the message presented in the Biblical readings and through the process of speaking the words aloud. Helping the oppressed – especially those suffering within systems we can at least begin to change with minimal effort – is close to my heart; expressing that to an audience made it real to me in a way it hadn’t been before. I’m thankful that WordPress made it accessible to a wider audience.

I thought I’d provide a few resources if you’re interested in poking around the blog or exploring social justice issues further:

  • If you’re interested in social justice and fair trade issues, I encourage you to check out my ethical style blog, Style Wise, for retailers, resources, and inspiration.
  • If you’d like to know more about my journey through Lent, you can read my Lent post
  • For all other explorations, you can navigate by topic using the Categories menu on the left hand sidebar. 
  • If you’re interested in a thorough discussion on the sacredness of life, you may want to read The Sacredness of Human Life by David P. Gushee. I’m reading it now and find it uplifting and thought provoking.

I can’t promise that all my future posts will be as meaningful as the last one, but I’ll continue to keep an account of my life with honesty and (hopefully) a fair amount of reflection.