I have been thinking about a few quotes this week from Martin Luther King Jr. The first is, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' " Since I have been pondering this, I had a discussion with my husband about financially how can we give to others in need. Here, then, is the second quote, "Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philantropy necessary." Isn't it so much easier to send a check to some organization...then we don't have to change anything in our lifestyle. Often, our life decisions contribute to a system that's messed up. A system where all people are not valued equally, where some people are taken advantage of and have no voice, where a planet is slowly being destroyed. This is not the system we should be investing in. Especially people of faith, who believe in a God of love and compassion, and are committed to living likewise. I hear people say all the time, that the United States is such a generous nation, that we give ***billions of dollars in aid etc.... Or that the church in the United States gives *** millions/billions annually.... Here's my problem with that logic: so why do we still have all the same problems as we did before? As long as we are giving hand-outs and not rebuilding the system, I feel we will never get to the bottom of the problems that exist.
So, how do we do something to make a difference...It's so easy to feel powerless to do anything. Here are a few things I have been thinking about:
1- Your money has power. Where you choose to invest them can make a difference. Melinda from One Green Generation wrote an interesting post lately http://simple-green-frugal-co-op.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-can-we-do-to-rebuild-world.htmlon the Simple-Green-Frugal Forum (located on my sidebar) about how we can invest in local economies, giving support to small businesses instead of large, impersonal corporations and lower the amount of fuel used in transportation as well.
2- Make homemade instead of buying store-bought. If you make it yourself, you again are not supporting big companies, and you are saving money which you can invest elsewhere.
3- Support organizations that are working to change the system, not just give hand-outs. People that are providing job opportunities and new beginnings.
4- Barter for goods or services. Money then loses it's value, and we can invest in community instead of corporations.
5- Grow a garden.
6- Choose not to buy something, or go out to eat, and put that money aside to contribute to a something of much greater value.
I'm sure there are many more, if you think of something else, add it to the comments.
Mother Theresa said, "Live simply so others can simply live." If we simplify, we can invest in a different system, where all people are valued, and the planet is respected and cared for. We can make a difference.
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