Yes! The "Faith Driven Consumer" Christian group is asking fellow Christians to consider BUYcotting (not boycotting) Christian Faith-friendly companies.
Given a myriad of options for how and where to spend our hard-earned dollars this holiday buying season—and all year, actually-- a recent televised news story about this group’s goal to identify and to encourage support for Faith-friendly companies made a lot of sense to me. I hope it makes sense to you, too!
All things being equal in terms of pricing and quality, why not help Faith-friendly companies stay in business? In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, taking time and effort to search out such companies and to support them seems like a very practical and do-able act of Christian charity. Would you agree?
To make the searching-out easier, the group has posted on their website a "Faith Equality Index" (FEI) of company reviews that rates companies from a Faith-friendly perspective. From what I gleaned, the Index is purposely fluid. Christian consumers are encouraged to recommend companies for the Faith Driven Consumer group’s consideration. Likewise, consumers are encouraged to share information about FEI scores with lower-scoring companies that they are used to purchasing from; the idea is to use buying power to motivate companies to increase their FEI scores—that is to have company goals, missions, standards, and behaviors that are more Christian.
According to the statistics in their "About Us" feature: “Faith Driven Consumers comprise 17 percent of the population – 41 million Americans – and spend $2 trillion annually.”
As the group points out, that figure represents an economic potential power to be taken seriously; to significantly affect the marketplace.
For more information, particularly if you feel called to participate in strengthening a Faith-Driven Consumer initiative, perhaps through this group, the website includes FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), an introductory video on their "About Us" page, and information about a variety of possible actions to be taken.
Even if we choose, for a variety of reasons, not to be swayed to make purchasing choices based on a company’s Faith-friendliness, at least we need to give credit, I think, for this group’s willingness to raise our consciousness and to provide information and tools for us to consider using. Let us pray about consciously supporting companies that support—not perfectly or even essentially, perhaps—but in some way are more aligned with the Gospel message—with Christian values—than are their competitors.
Lastly, as long as we are thinking about Christmas seasonal spending and Gospel values, perhaps it is good to remind ourselves not to get drawn into excessive consumerism, not to get into debt buying gifts that others might not particularly want or need. (Unfortunately, I have been there; done that. What about you?)
Maybe along with some purchases, if not into total lieu of them, we can go back to our childhood or earlier limited-income gift-giving roots. (Remember those? I do!) Maybe we can use our time, talents, and treasures to make gifts, including those from the kitchen, as well as to offer our time and services as a gift, and to support Church and community craft fairs, cookbook sales, and other fundraisers as sources of gifts.
Since the Jubilee Year of Mercy reminds us to do spiritual, as well as corporal works of mercy, perhaps we can make charitable donations in loved ones’ names. Perhaps instead of the dreaded plaid shirt, un-interesting tie, or unwanted kitchen appliance, we can enroll someone in a spiritual membership which graces them with a year of daily Masses. For an infinitely valuable gift of even one Mass, there’s no better “bargain” or Faith-based seasonal investment of hard-earned money, it seems to me, than that!
God bless our shopping and our gift-giving. May both give glory and honor to the King of kings and Lord of lords Whose Birthday we are celebrating. Amen?