Supply and Demand: Profit over People?

October focus:

  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Halloween (chocolate holiday in the US)
  • Children’s Sabbath
  • Mental Illness Awareness Week

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark.
Chinese proverb

“There but for the grace of God go I”, is a phrase that I hear frequently from people reflecting on pain and suffering, and I must admit, it makes me weary. When we look at the themes this month, domestic violence, halloween, children's sabbath and mental health awareness, we must recognize that the suffering, devastation and trauma that some people experience is not because they lack God’s grace. My behavior and choices block God’s grace from being experienced by those who are shut out. God’s grace is abundant and available to all people. However, supply and demand – a simple equation – deters justice and impedes the realization of God’s grace. Supply and Demand: when I am willing to pay for something (consciously or unconsciously) that results in the exploitation of another person and/or community, I am promoting injustice and possibly creating barriers for many to experience God’s abundant grace.

The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.
Maya Angelou

As a person who is White, I have never been profiled in Washington, DC as a drug dealer or an undocumented immigrant. With the demand for prisoners a premium, laws that supply inmates are abundant. God’s grace or unearned privilege? I have the right to vote in the upcoming election when many have been disenfranchised because of voter suppression efforts, including disenfranchisement of people convicted of a felony. God’s grace or unearned privilege?

On Halloween, I loved dressing up in costumes and trick-o-treating with friends. Navigating haunted houses and pranksters, I always got home with a large bag of candy filled with all kinds of chocolate. God’s grace or unearned privilege? Unlike many children in West Africa, I was not abducted and taken to another country’s cocoa plantations to work as slaves harvesting the cocoa for the Hershey’s and Nestle chocolate that fills candy aisles awaiting bargain shoppers. God’s grace or unearned privilege?

Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
John F. Kennedy

How do I show gratitude for the privilege I live with and how do I show this gratitude by living in solidarity with and advocating for children who harvest the chocolate I enjoy? It’s not about guilt. It’s about gratitude and a response to God’s abundance to promote justice for all people.

I hope that you will find this resource useful in engaging your faith community in demystifying this supply and demand mathematical equation. Following Jesus is a journey committed to becoming conscious and lessening demand.

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall

Resources

Domestic Violence

Halloween (chololate holiday in the U.S.)

Children's Sabbath

Children's Defense Fund Children's Sabbath Resources

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Health Ministries - provides educational resources to help erase the stigma of mental illness in faith communities (website)