Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fairtrade - can't be bothered

So, correct me if I'm wrong but the calling of Christianity is to serve the poor, right. Or at least that's a pretty strong part of it. So you might expect those who turn up to a service on a Sunday morning when sensible people would be still in bed, or listening to the Archers, or reading the paper over a leisurely brunch, or on a country walk or any one of a number of other things on could be doing at that time, to have some heart for actually trying to get closer to God, to live out the call of God and this weird thing we call Christianity on our lives.

So, why is it that today out of a congregation of around 150 only about 15 people could actually be bothered to do a little, simple thing such as fill out a pre-printed card that asks a shop or cafe or restaurant to consider stocking Fairtrade goods and then to hand it in to either a shop/cafe that they frequent, or to a local one on a list that had already been prepared. Practically no effort or time required and yet, if that business changed to Fairtrade, some lives of some very poor people could be hugely changed for the better.

15, out of 150 - I ask you! And most of them had to be dragged to the table! And I wonder whether those who took the card away rather than filling it in there will actually do it. Sometimes I wonder whether my fellow congregants actually listen to any of the bible readings, sermons and prayers. Whether they actually think at all. I can understand that they may not actually want to go and talk to the business owner - we are British after all* - but this could be slipped through the letter box for goodness sake! And I know that some people don't think that Fairtrade actually helps the poor - but I doubt that's the reason for most of them.

No, I honestly think that they think (probably subconsciously) that as long as they make the odd donation to charity (and I'm sure lots of people do give lots, including supporting their friends and relatives in the countries where Fairtrade also works); buy the odd bit of Fairtrade coffee or chocolate themselves; nod along gently whenever poverty is mentioned in the intercessions and feel a warm glow that there are Christian charities out there acting on these things; then that's their obligation done and dusted.

But it's not asking much really is it - to fill in a card asking a business to stock Fairtrade - even if you're doing lots of other things as well. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

*Actually a large number of my church aren't actually British at all, but maybe they've been living here long enough to pick up that sensibility.


In other news, thank you all so much for your comments and advice about V's situation.


At 04 March, 2007 23:19 , Blogger Kathryn said...

My lot are STILL harking back to the days when FT coffee tasted foul, and using that as an excuse to avoid the issue altogether. Never mind that it's fine now...that the fact we can afford to drink coffee is a privilege...once upon a time, someone had a substandard cup of cafe direct and that's it. Forever.
I think a very short verse in John's Gospel might be appropriate.
Grrrrr indeed.

At 05 March, 2007 09:44 , Blogger cal said...

Kathryn - we use FT tea and coffee at church and I know that the coffee is delicious because it's what I drink at home.

But somehow our coffee ladies manage to make it taste absolutely disgusting - I don't know what they do to it. I stick to tea!

At 05 March, 2007 09:44 , Blogger Joe said...

hehe... I've heard that before... 'I'd like to have fairtrade stuff but the coffee tastes bad and the tea is too weak'

At 10 March, 2007 19:49 , Anonymous Mary said...

I'm supplying the biscuits for the after-service coffee, and I've bought fairtrade. I was planning on leaving the wrapper out, hoping people will get the hint...


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