Monday, December 18, 2006

Jesus, Christmas, and Wal-Mart

Thanks Jason.


Kirsty said...


Did you hear Walmart is planning to move into India? Pretty sick!

Craig Bob said...

Wow - I couldn't help noticing that this was paid for by the UFCW International ... one of the largest labor unions. I'm just trying to trace the loyalties here: a large labor union pays a pastor to quote scripture against the largest corporation in the world. It makes the head spin.

Dan said...

I don't know...

I've heard all the standard press about Walmart and stuff. And listen, I'm no crazy conservative, either. But... I did see a news cast recently in the Twin Cities that reminded me that there's another side to the story.

There was a Walmart being opened in one of the suburbs, and there were tons of protesters. A television news reporter came up to one of the people standing near the protesters, and he asked her what she thought of the opening of the new Walmart. Given the context of the report, I think he was hoping to hear some critical protestations.

Her response was basically that she was thrilled. She was an African American woman who works near the new site, and she basically testified to the fact that masses of lower-income, welfare-dependent, and social security-dependent Americans (i.e., the poor) not only are thrilled by Walmart's prices but also depend vitally on the availability of places like Walmart. To them, Walmart is a gateway to products that they otherwise could never afford on their budgets which come down literally to a few dollars close to the bone each month.

Listen, I'm on that whole bandwagon of "Walmart has terrible practices and needs to improve, etc.," but that day did remind me that at least I have the luxury of being indignant, because I can shop at a Target or a Bed Bath and Beyond, or a Cost Plus World Imports, etc.

So, basically, I highly doubt that anything like the standard bandwagons represent things as they really are. Protesting for the sake of one disenfranchised group often results in further disenfranchising another. It's a mess, and the simplistic "Walmart [or fill-in the culprit here] is of the devil" line is ideologue bullshit.

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

1. Jesus started labor unions.
2. Target is good; Walmart is bad.

Both of these absolute statements can be found in the Book of Days. Case closed.

But seriously...of course the Wal-Mart thing is complex. Understanding how our lives and dollars intersect with systems of oppression and life are sticky. Is it always tares with the wheat? In all of us and every system? Do we need to point out the good and the bad? Call it by name? Make culprit of the bad until it is flushed down the toilet? Or just "leave it alone" and "let God deal with it"? Or create alternatives? Or live simple, quiet lives?

Man...and that pastor seemed to make it so simple.