Category: Economics

Shopping the gender-neutral toy aisle with Jesus

As I lay snuggled under our gender-neutral down comforter the other night, I pondered Target’s plan to remove gender labels for its toys and bedding alongside a Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog post expressing dismay over the decision. I wondered where in the Bible it says that boys should have “their” toy guns and plaid bedding clearly identified for them, as that post implies. As my…  [more]

Obama’s State of the Union and a Christian understanding of income inequality

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message struck a powerful chord last night on the topic of income inequality in the United States, echoing the concern of centuries of Christian reflection on wealth and poverty. The president posed a choice between “an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well” and “an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who…  [more]

A Gospel guide to Christmas shopping

The Christmas shopping season is in full swing, and the early returns show a significant uptick in online purchases on Cyber Monday. For many, the days leading up to and following Thanksgiving are filled with alerts, newsletters, Tweets and Facebook posts highlighting the latest and greatest deals. Many sites offer tips about how to maximize your shopping experience through a variety of strategies. Most of us shop at…  [more]

A theology of billboards

Three years ago my family moved to Austin, Texas. Our very first spring we got a front row seat to the effects of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, a legacy of former first lady Lady Bird Johnson. In a place known for heat and drought, springtime in Texas kicks off a wildflower parade up and down the state’s medians and roadways. Johnson’s concern about the increasing number of billboards crowding…  [more]

Are Christianity and capitalism compatible? Three things to consider

The relationship between Christianity and capitalism is a perennial topic, one taken up recently by the New York Times’ Room for Debate feature. It’s important to distinguish between different economic forms, and labels like capitalism can sometimes obscure rather than clarify points of dispute. As the contributors to the Times’ debate illustrate, capitalism can mean anything from an emphasis on the…  [more]

Christian hospitality and the sharing economy

A recent Time article highlighted the legal issues faced by companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Lyft. These companies are part of the sharing economy, which uses technology to connect consumer demand with goods and services provided by individuals rather than traditional businesses. In my hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., there’s been a good deal of argument between advocates and opponents of Airbnb, with city…  [more]

Quitting consumerism

You see, friends, because we are not subservient to the empire but subjects of the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, we have the audacity to say to the darkness, “We beg to differ!” We will not be a pawn to the Prince of Darkness any longer, because we owe him no allegiance, and by God’s grace, through our redemption and forgiveness, our imaginations have been set free. - Brian Walsh and Sylvia…  [more]

Amazon and delivering on the Lord’s Day

Retail giant Amazon garnered big headlines this month by partnering with the United States Postal Service to offer Sunday delivery. Some might ask why this is even a story. After all, it’s not news for retailers or restaurants to be open on Sunday. And the USPS actually did deliver on Sunday until 1912. Perhaps this story has made waves because it represents the further symbolic colonization of our culture…  [more]

What ‘manfluencers’ reveal about the marketing of faith

Marketing group Midan recently found in a poll that 47% of men do at least half of the household grocery shopping and food preparation. The name that Midan’s researchers gave to this group? “Manfluencers™” (No really, it’s trademarked.) This 47% figure was surprising, because marketing wisdom has long been that women (especially moms) make most of the consumer purchasing decisions…  [more]

Why we shouldn’t feel too smug about Chipotle’s Scarecrow ad

When Gene Wilder taps his cane and dances down the steps in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, singing “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination,” the wide-eyed children following him take him at his word. They believe they have been given special privilege into a fantastical world of all-you-can-eat sweets. What they don’t know is that they are in fact being tested -…  [more]

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