OK, I'll admit it. I'm a big Dr. Who fan. In the last episode he goes to a planet of the slave race known as the Ood. When his human counterpart, Donna, asks if there was ever a time they were free or what are they like when they are born, the Dr. says he's never thought of it. When she remarks that a future human empire has been built on slavery, he says, "Where do you think your clothes come from?" I hate to admit, but I was stunned.
I'm still wrestling with that. Really I have been for a while. The reality of the matter is that our lives as US citizens are so intertwined with forced labor that we have no practical way of freeing ourselves. Most of us don't know because we don't think to ask. From clothes to car and computer parts we are consumers of slave labor. What to do...what to do?
Part of me wants to start a mass movement rejecting forced labor products. Maybe just start with clothing alone and start a movement of wearing forced labor free and/or home made clothes with a hand painted "Former Slave Trader" logo. Its a truly radical proposal for which I do not have the will at this time. Such a decision would impact every facet of every relationship I am a part of. But isn't that just the kicker of the gospel? It forces us to consider the unthinkable, to render care for our neighbor that is as great as for ourselves, to think of the survival of Burmese children as important as the survival of my own. And if we take it seriously it effects every aspect of our lives, again, and again.
The thing is, whatever we do in the face of the present darkness of forced labor, we must and can only do that which we love. If we make choices out of guilt or a sense of morality alone it will not last. We must search our hearts and find what it is that we love. For our loves befall us. Love that is real and true has at its source God's actions of love and grace toward us. We love as we have been loved. So that's the question I am wrestling with, and the one I leave you with today. With the issue of forced labor, how will we love those enslaved in the same way that we have been loved by God through Jesus Christ? What will we give up? What will we take on? How can we do any of this unless we count it as nothing but a joy to do so?