In Genesis 37, Jacob’s gift of a beautiful robe for his son, Joseph, brought about incredible jealousy. This one item of clothing amplified a terrible sibling rivalry and led to violent action. Clothing can be divisive, even today. I have vivid memories of middle school, when clothing began to sharply divide the “cool kids” from those seen as less “cool.”
God made us to love and appreciate beauty, yet anything can become a false idol. My faith has complicated, challenged, and ultimately transformed my love of clothes. The average American buys five times as much clothing as in 1980, throws out 65 pounds of clothes every year and wears only 20 percent of the clothes in her closet. What type of world is this careless consumption creating?
Around the globe, slavery and trafficking affect the lives of workers in the textile industry, many of whom create the inexpensive fashions we crave but they do not earn a living wage. What kinds of simple, transformative actions can we take to create a world that more closely resembles God’s kingdom?
This message is excerpted from “Wearing our faith” by Rebecca Ballard in the January/February 2017 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate Lydia, Dorcas and Phoebe, witnesses to the faith.
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