Areas of action (not yet fully implemented). I will admit that I do not do a very good job at these things, but I have adopted the Japanese concept of Kaizen (continuous improvement) or, maybe more aptly the Chinese Gai Shan (improvements that benefit others). I feel the burden of our choices, and want to change everything, now. It is a weight that seems impossible to handle. So I make small continuous changes toward a life that benefits others. Well, I try to.
I am trying to take those things that I say I believe, and making my actions agree. This means, that if I believe that mass produced food is generally bad for me, I will not buy it, or eat it. It also means that if I think that large corporations have too much power, I do what I can to avoid buying from them. If I believe that creation is something God values, and wants us to take care of, my use of resources should reflect that. Every day. I should be aware of how my lifestyle reflects my values.
I have to keep asking myself if my interactions with others help them to become better people. Do they help me as well? It means that I should strive to speak only good of others. This does not mean that nothing is ever bad, it just means that I should find ways to respond constructively, and directly. I should not just ask what response would seem loving, but put on a attitude of love, and respond accordingly. Love is a choice, and I should choose it more often.
I should remain aware of my position globally, and in time. I am blessed, and I should not take that for granted. I should respond to this knowledge by being content with what I have, and using what I don’t need to help those who have less. I should be aware of how my lifestyle effects others, and how my choices contribute to suffering elsewhere in the world.
My first priority should be to please God, but it is sometimes difficult to determine how to do that. So I strive to listen to God, and trust his promptings. I question what I do, and see if my activities make me more or less aware of those promptings, or more or less aware of the influence of God. I try to act accordingly, giving preference to the activities that make me more aware.
All these things are the same. They are all spiritual, social, global, and personal. For me there really is no difference. My purchase decisions have spiritual and social implications, and my desire to please God will inform all other areas of my life. The real goal is to make my life pleasing to God, and in order to do that I need to try and see the world the way he sees it, and respond to it in a way that reflects positively on him. In every way. Parenting, shopping, sleeping, eating, driving, walking, working, playing, writing, helping, living.
Buy foods locally:
Local Harvest – Find a local farmer’s market, or CSA
Eat Well Guide – Another site to locate farms, stores, and restaurants that provide local, sustainable, and oganic food.
Ex-Consumer Project – choose not to buy.
New American Dream – times change, and so should the dreams.
Everyday Activist – a good start for small changes.
Kiva – micro lending for entrepreneurs in developing societies
Modest Needs – national needs assistance.
Get a Mission – find short or long term ministries.
Volunteer Match – volunteer locally.
A note about Kiva: After living in a developing country, and seeing how aid programs can be abused, and the way that donations do not always produce responsibility, I am encouraged to see a program that provides micro loans and accountability. I don’t have any illusions that this is a perfect system, but I can see how it has potential to help develop communities and families in a way that normal aid programs do not.