To qualify for the group it seemed you needed dreadlocks, a swag and a whole lot of time to spare (we currently have none of those things). But we do share one thing in common; we're passionate that we want the world to be a better place.
That night we watched a report on TV explaining the unfortunate predicament school students are in when they attend a school with the least effective teachers. There is a lot of unjust situations we are faced with everyday. The two of us become a bit overwhelmed when we talk about living more ethically. And deep down it feels it will cost us too much and seems worthless.
Living out ethical lives was highlighted to us when we were both at Bible College. In fact, we were so challenged by our experience that when we were asked about what we discovered at Bible College we used to eagerly reply that Jesus' followers should not be rich. Sometimes that was meet with contempt and now we find ourselves talking about God's love. It's much more safer.
Perhaps having a worksheet from an Old Testament class with a cartoon of the 'fat cows' Amos (chapter 4), and thus God, calls the rich, unethical people of the 8th century B.C really carries the message home. God hates injustice. Christians must be concerned with the issues of injustice, unethical practices, poverty and greed in our societies.
But keeping ones-self from being labelled a 'fat cow' is indeed very tricky in our society. They never did tell us at Bible College how much money we should give away, how long we should wear our jeans before entitled to another pair and then how much we should pay for the new pair!
In fact, a controversy brewed deep inside the Bible College. The student council was confronted with the issue of Cadbury chocolate sitting innocently in the corner of the student lounge (on the first-aid-kit-for-all-nighter-assignment-writers canteen table). Cadbury was unethical in its practice of purchasing the cocoa bean.
Many of us students were divided on the issue. Quite frankly, how do you study the gory parts of Church History or memorise a Greek paradigm without munching on a Freddo Frog or by being swept away by the tantalising flow of Caramel as you bite the head of your Caramello Koala?
Personally, we weren't really keen on the idea. Surely a few hundred people refraining from consuming Cadbury would do little to alleviate the injustices of the world. It gave us a bit of a headache. And honesty we were exhausted and really needed a break (and a Kit Kat).
Although we can't yet admit we only buy Fairtrade chocolate and coffee, the student council's decision was our first encounter with purposefully making more ethical decisions.
A few more tiny ethical steps forward and our New Year's resolution this year will hopefully help us take another step. We resolve to be better users (we've been having too much waste), be better re-users (we've even had too much recycling), and be better producers (we buy too much).
We've decided that for one year we're going to try hard to shop at second hand stores. Our friends spurred us onto this after showing us a beautiful baby dress she picked up from a fill-a-bag-for-five-dollars op-shop sale. Perhaps another baby grew too fast to use all their clothes!
This resulted in a trip to re-PYSCH-lers the other day. We were meet with the most talented retail manager you'd ever come across. He was so genuinely friendly. And he went far above the call of duty to assist us. He told us proudly that all the employees were recovering from mental illnesses. Being employed by the opportunity shop gave them, well, so much opportunity! It assisted in their rehabilitation. What's more; the products were donated, the money went to charity, the staff are paid, and customers get a bargain. It is win, win, win, win.
We picked up some children's toys that really were about 90% cheaper than at the retail stores and were in great condition. As we were leaving our friendly store manager suggested that we really ought to come to the store everyday because special treasures are coming in daily!
One of the biggest hurdles we had to overcome was fear that living an ethical life would be a great burden to us. It will cost more, we would be viewed as alternate, and it would make us feel guilty on a lot more areas in our life.
But instead we've found our little steps forward to a more ethical life has been invigorating, freeing, and eye opening. We are able to take hope from the past that our little ethical steps are making a difference. We are slowly being able to view consumeristic advertising and shopping as un-needed and a vein cycle. We're beginning to feel free from the burden of 'unnecessary want'. It is almost as if we feel empowered because we are slowly overcoming being slaves to this consumeristic society.
We are enjoying the quest to live more ethical lives, as little as it may be, may you enjoy too.
Danielle and Daniel Stott are Bible College graduates who live on the southern Gold Coast. Daniel is training to be a teacher and Danielle is caring for their baby daughter.
Danielle and Daniel's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/d-and-d-stott.html