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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Would Jesus Shop at Wal-Mart?

Brothers, We Are Not Propagandists What do you think about this???


Blogger Brad Hughes said...

"Jesus did not come to this earth just to save some platonic soul..." Now that is the quote of the day. Why exactly did he come again???

12/16/2006 11:24:00 AM

Blogger William E. Turner Jr. said...

Embarrassing. I honestly cannot stand this Christian ghetto mentality. Where does Phelps shop then? Certainly not Target since they are worse than Walmart in countless ways.

It saddens me to think about what Christians will be remembered for...

12/16/2006 11:37:00 AM

Blogger joethorn.net said...

The problem is that Neil and Joe are trying to guess at what Jesus would do. I don't care if Jesus would shop at Wal*Mart. I think it's a stupid question that can only get an answer founded on conjecture and everyone's opinion is legit.

What I do care about is what the Bible says about righteousness, justice and the poor. What the Bible actually says about such things is relevant to the Walmart issue.

I think the idea of not shopping at a store because they aren't Christian friendly is ridiculous. But I think staying away from a company that exploits the poor, destroys community, and puts mom and pop businesses out of operation is a good idea.

Walmart is a complicated issue. Paying well locally is a good thing, but what they have done in other countries is another relevant issue to consider. Employing many is a good thing, but running locally established businesses out of operation is another relevant factor to consider. The impact on the "big box" stores on community are worth discussing.

I am not a Walmart boycott guy, but the discussion has to be had on the merits of what is true, not what we think Jesus would do if he were a postmodern thirtysomething living in an American suburbia. The whole discussion should be based on what is happening via Walmart, and what the Bible actually says about the church, the world, and the reign of God.

12/16/2006 02:12:00 PM

Blogger pregador27 said...

Sorry, I must've been shopping at WalMart when this aired.

This Pastor was pretty much using just one verse, "do unto others..." He did throw another verse reference, but not very Bible minded in my opinion.

Also, was he referring to Jesus or Robin Hood? He said something about Jesus knocking the rich guy and helping the poor. Didn't Jesus also say that we would always have the poor with us, but only have Him for a short time? That wouldn't fly with Phelps.

PS- What is it with Phelps? This gentleman's theology is very soft from what evidence comes in this video (Hopefully he was just having "an off night" like Joel Osteen's apologists said about his denial of the Gospel). And then you have old godhatesf*gs Freddy Phelps. Hmmm.

12/16/2006 11:29:00 PM

Blogger Renee said...

Let's boycott all things that don't act like Jesus. Oh wait then I'd have to sit in my house and never go to another store or movie or anything. I'd have to grow my own food and make my own clothes. Oh no I'd need to move out of my house and build my own, but I couldn't buy my lumber from lowe's I'd have to cut down my own trees. What would I use that chainsaw may have been made in china by a child in a sweat shop. I guess I need to live in a tent made of wool that I sheered off my own sheep and eat the food that I grew. I certainly can't use electricity. The company probably does some bad things. I just hope I can find some land that was owned by a christian to buy. That is how ridiculous I think this entire conversation on the video is about Walmart. I couldn't even finish watching it as they yelled about Jesus liking Walmart or not. Everybody is focused on the wrong thig. You can't expect the unsaved to act saved. Go to walmart and share the gospel or something. Don't tell nonchristians that they aren't acting like Jesus and call them to. That's pointless.

12/17/2006 08:11:00 AM

Blogger Paul Schafer said...

Would Jesus Shop at Wal-Mart?

Before His three-year ministry started, the local Nazareth Wal-mart offered goods Jesus could use in his father's carpenter shop, such as nails, saws, wood and hammers. He probably stocked up on those things.

After His three-year ministry started, Jesus was released to show His divinity and did miracles so He providied for himself and others and had no need for his local Wal-mart.

It's sad to see and hear a Fox Reporter rebuking Pastor Phelp's for his poor arguments and not even addressing the issues at hand. Then the reporter uses his Jesus speech against Phelps arguments. Does Phelps have elders in his church to make sure his arguments are sound and not sound stupid, to make sure his arguments have any merit? It's sad to hear the reporter called Phelps and his argument a phony! What a bad testimony!

12/17/2006 08:32:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...

Joe said, The problem is that Neil and Joe are trying to guess at what Jesus would do. I don't care if Jesus would shop at Wal*Mart. I think it's a stupid question that can only get an answer founded on conjecture and everyone's opinion is legit.

I think this is important to mention. We are led to believe that our culture cares about whether Jesus would shop at Wal-Mart. Everyone wants to play the "Jesus card." PETA would have us believe that Jesus was a vegatarian. MoveOn.org would have us believe that Jesus was not a republican. Further still, our culture would have us believe that Jesus was a middle-class white American.

The point I am trying to make is that everyone wants to use such conjecture to legitimize their opinion with the Jesus stamp.

We do need to look beyond that as Joe has mentioned and consider what the Bible says about caring for the poor and consider what it means to be good stewards and citizens of both worlds (kingdom of God and citizen of United States). I also think Renee raised a legitimate point. How do we be "in the world" without be "of the world" regarding the purchasing (and implicit support) of goods and services which are radically contrary to the principles and values of God's Word?

Finally, if I am not mistaken, Phelps was hired by a union for this commercial, hence the title above the video. As a minister and servant of Jesus Christ, should Phelps be politicizing Jesus this way? Is this appropriate behavior for a minister, or does this bring him (and the name of Jesus) in reproach?

12/17/2006 03:02:00 PM

Blogger Troy said...

First of all, I totally don't think Jesus concerned himself with these sorts of things...I don't find much direction in scripture to answer such questions. These typses of decisions always get confused when we don't have clear biblical direction.

I would admit, if the connection were more clear and direct like...

"Would Jesus buy diamonds from corrupt diamond mines?

or what about..."Would Jesus purchase a BMW?"

Sometimes there are specific texts we can bring to bear. We know that Jesus does not support lying, or taking advantage of others...He is concerned about the orphan and the oppressed.

I hate the add, but actually I think considering these sorts of questions is very good for the average American believer -- we are way too focused on ourselves.

12/17/2006 08:20:00 PM

Blogger Jimmy said...

This is an important question for Christians to ask themselves, for one reason: human rights.

You believe human souls are crafted in the image of God. You believe everyone deserves to be treated with equity--if you don't, check the Bible for references to the poor, the needy and oppressed. You believe that workers deserve their fair wages.

Cavuto's only points were that Wal-Mart saves American consumers money and provides many jobs. Fine.

Fact: Wal-Mart has put American manufacturers out of business and destroyed countless local economies, putting millions out of work they already had to bring them something they didn't need nor want. There is usually no net gain for the local economy. We support corporate greed at the expense of quality of life for individuals?

Fact: The company is wasteful with land and facility resources. We support harming the creation, creating massive unrecyclable waste, and poor use of resources?

Fact: Wal-Mart mistreats its labor force. Most employees (not those in upper management) live below the poverty line. This is true. Wal-Mart's health care plan, only available to full-time workers, is one of the most expensive in the industry, making it a non-option for many. In other words, Wal-Mart is willfully forcing all those people into the category of poor, needy, and oppressed, and keeping them there. We support this?

Fact: Wal-Mart explicitly supports human slave trade, which is very real and active globally, by employing children and adults in inhumane conditions for mere pennies or no pay. This is so the American shopper can save $2 on a t-shirt. We support enslaving human beings for our own benefit?

Fact: Wal-Mart gives next to nothing to charity, neither at the national nor local levels. To whom much is given...?

(Just Google "wal mart business practices" for some of the facts above.)

So you say, so what? We have bigger things to worry about. Glorifying God, spreading the Gospel, reaping the harvest, reforming our wayward churches, fighting the enemy to stay focused on holiness in our rapdily declining culture.

Certainly so. I wholeheartedly affirm these things.

However, I don't think the question at hand is unrelated nor is it useless. The way that we live, dawn to dusk, 365, is what we believe. Regardless of what we talk about in theological debates. So we wish to test all things and hold the good, yes? So we must look at the fact sheet on Wal-Mart, and ask ourselves if, as followers of Christ, can we support greed, deception, waste, oppression, and slavery?


Now, I do shop at Wal-Mart. Begrudgingly. And this is the first I've serously researched their business practices. I wish I could say I'll never shop there again, though I do have some options here in town.

I don't see this as Christians being petty or creating faith ghettos. In the culture in which we have been sovereignly placed, it would be impossible, as well as ridiculously unwise, to withdraw support from all secular systems (i.e., retail, grocery, housing, etc). But I think we are called to be wise, and use our money, time, and our VOICES in a way which redeems the time. Maybe, at the VERY LEAST, examining those companies we support and making informed decisions would not be a total waste of time. Maybe purchasing what we need somewhere rather than Wal-Mart is an option most have not even considered. Or maybe Wal-Mart is the wise thing for you to do.

What do you think?

12/19/2006 12:40:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...

Does anyone know of organizations or researchers who evaluate companies ethical practices? It would be worthwhile to avail the Christian community to any egregious actions such as child slavery and/or exploitation of the poor.

If Wal-Mart is culpable of such vices, then it should be brought to the light. However, we cannot single out Wal-Mart alone. For instance, I have heard some horrid practices by Starbucks coffee development in third world countries. If documentation can be shown that they are indeed practicing such things as aforementioned, do you think the dedicated Starbucks coffee drinkers would give it up entirely?

Finally, taking it to reduction of absurdity, were the unethical practices of many companies which supply the necessary goods and services for everyday living, how do you think we as Christians could operate? The idea of utopia or amish-like lifestyle won't fly for most Christians, you think?

12/19/2006 08:22:00 PM

Blogger Nathan White said...

Hmmm, are you sure that Joe Phelps isn't related to Fred Phelps??

Yeah, that Fred Phelps.

Just kidding. Don't shoot me :)

Seriously, though, somebody help this Phelps guy (both of them).

12/19/2006 10:01:00 PM

Blogger Jimmy said...

"Does anyone know of organizations or researchers who evaluate companies ethical practices?"

Only similar thing that comes to mind right off is Make Trade Fair. A little searching, I also found CorpWatch.

I'm sure there are more.

Of course you're absolutely correct in that this is not solely a Wal-Mart issue. While Wal-Mart is important, simply because they are the biggest corporation on the planet, and their slightest moves are copied by most other chains, it would be hypocritical to judge only them. I researched Target the other night as I researched Wal-Mart... the only complaints I could find were that their wages are similarly low. So yes, I think we need to keep an eye on ethics of those companies that we support--at least, those that we frequent. Of course, they'll never be truly Christian ways... these guys are out to make a buck, after all, so greed will always be involved. But gross injustice should not be rewarded.

12/19/2006 11:35:00 PM


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