SLW! eNews #39 – Send a Message! Be the Message!
Posted December 1, 2014on:
What Do Our Clothes Say?
Clothes say much about us without spoken words. For most Americans the message is, “You can like me. I’m much like you. I’m a faithful capitalist consumer. ‘Most everything’s fine.”
Our clothes tell others our status. Fancy clothes tell others about an elevated status. Everyday clothes hide religious and political beliefs.
Some folks – such as police, fire and military – wear uniforms that tell us important things; nuns used to wear habits; some ministers still wear clergy collars. Those uniforms used to say, “You can trust me.”
Jewelry may say something about status or taste. Now many folks wear body art, such as piercing and tattoos. One of the most common body symbols for Christians – the cross on a necklace or lapel pin – now carries mixed messages.
Some folks wear shirts and caps that promote rock bands, sports teams, clothing lines or beer.
I’m urging all of us who care about the Earth and its many species of occupants to be more aware of what our clothing says and then to say what we believe. We don’t have time to be subtle anymore. We can’t afford to hide our beliefs and values.
At Fair Trade events I wear a lovely indigenous-style shirt from Guatemala. It’s just one of many shirts that tell people who I am. Some may consider them silly. I don’t want anyone to wonder what I’m about.
Part of my “prophetic ministry” is a pledge I made to wear a “Message Shirt” whenever I’m in public. Some shirts are pro-environment, such as 350.org or Interfaith Power and Light. Some promote independent, non-commercial media, such as Free Speech TV, LINK TV or Democracy Now!
I usually get a positive comment, which I use to encourage the other person. I wear the shirts less to confront opponents then to build up allies. Sometimes when I speak at events I give a good-natured fashion show of some of my message shirts and tell brief stories about them.
I’ve added a new chapter to Simple Living 101: Tools for Activists (shy or bold). The current chapters give guidance to Share the Joy of a Simpler Lifestyle Through Speeches, Workshops, Events, Study/Action Groups, Simplicity Circles and Social Media.
The new chapter is subtitled Prophetic Personal Promotion, which gives suggestions and sources for simple ways to Send a Message! through clothing and other items, such as bumper stickers, posters, postcards, greeting cards, etc.
My collection of Message Shirts has taken almost a decade to accumulate, so I wouldn’t expect one to appear over night. I’m urging people of faith to see the benefits to Send a Message, and to Be the Message!
Yes, the approach you take and the speed you take it may depend on the tolerance of others in your family. My wonderful spouse, Rita, for example, detests bumper stickers. So, out of respect for her, I only use small car magnets, such as the ribbon, “End the War! Bring Our Troops Home!”
She knows that I have pledged to wear a Message Shirt every time I’m in public, but I ask her opinion about how the whole outfit works together. (I haven’t worn a tie for over 20 years when I identified it as the symbol of Western consumer capitalism. So, wearing a tie hasn’t been an issue for us for a long time.) I complete my outfit with plain slacks and shoes, some from Thrift Stores.
Since SLW! does not sell anything – our resources and services are free of charge – we give the sources for these items in the new online chapter. Some sources are companies, such Syracuse Cultural Workers: Publisher of Peace and Justice Products since 1982. Some are non-profit organizations, such as Sea Shepherds.
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What’s NOW with SLW!
- NEW – Black Friday / Buy Nothing Day
- SLW! Podcast WHOSE Birthday? series
- #34-WHOSE Birthday? part 3 – Daniel Berrigan, William Sloane Coffin and more!
- #33-WHOSE Birthday? part 2 – Susan Vogt, Meg Cox, Art Simon, Betsy Taylor | TEXT | SPANISH text, entitled “Adviento” | Waiting with Mary, Preparing with John the Baptist | The Gift of Ritual | Giving to the Wrong People | Making the Holidays Meaningful for Your Children
- #32-WHOSE Birthday? part 1 – Igniting Christmas Simplicity in Our Hearts
- Legacy WHOSE Birthday Is It, Anyway? – GOD IS COMING! Reflections for Advent and the Christmas Season by Connie and Milo Thornberry. Milo formerly served as director of Alternatives. Enjoy them now. Share them with your family and congregation face-to-face and through your website, newsletter, study group.
- Plus, The Christmas Game
- Worshipful Ceremonies/Services: Hanging of the Greens by Lois Brokering | More Ideas for the Hanging of the Greens by Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt | Ending, Blending & Beginning Christmas Traditions by Mary & John Schramm | A Service for Food Preparation by Laura Nedeau-Owen
Come Ye to Bethlehem: Reflections by Linda-Marie Delloff. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by historian Justo Gonzalez. Reflections by author Marjorie J. Thompson. “Make Ready the Way of the Lord…” by Tom Hall.
- SLW! shares resources for this Advent-Christmas-Epiphany in many ways. 1. The WHOSE Birthday? four-part PODCAST series includes reflections and activities by Daniel Berrigan, William Sloane Coffin, Meg Cox, Betsy Taylor, Susan Briehl and many more from edition #18. Episodes 32-35 are released in iTunes and Stitcher Nov. 1 & 15; Dec. 1 & 15. Or you listen to any/all of them at your leisure on the SLW! site. 2. The new online edition of Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? #26 is ready. You can still contribute a Biblical Reflection or Family Activity. 3. Once or twice a week we’ll highlight a series of reflections from a past edition in this blog, as we did in 2013. (To find the 2013 offerings, skim through Nov. and Dec. in the Archives in the right column of this blog.) All three offerings — text, podcast, new, past — are different content.
Fall Festival Resources
- Fall Plans blog
- How to Host an Alternative Gift Fair | Planning an Alternative Christmas Workshop | How to Organize an Alternative Christmas Community Festival
- UNPLUG the Christmas Machine Workshop Leader’s Guide | UNPLUG blog
- Resource Index: Advent/Christmas
- Thanksgiving blog: How We Celebrate Says a Lot About How We Live
- Anyone can use our online Leaders’ Guide and Participants’ Manual to UNPLUG the Christmas Machine Workshop at no charge. No one is allowed to sell copies of these.
- Contribute to our most widely-read resource, “Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?” for Advent/Christmas, now published online. All 25+ editions are available on the SLW! site. Article Index | Submission Guidelines
- Simpler Living Alternative Daily Calendar – December
- Check out a few of these thought-provoking, timely resources that might meet your personal, family or congregational/group needs. They’re all FREE.
- Treasury of Celebrations*: Create Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth Earth – Sept.-Dec. | ADVENT | CHRISTMAS
- Worship Alternatives: Advent/Christmas/Epiphany
- Spirit of Simplicity: ART | QUOTES
- 10 Tips for Simpler, More Meaningful Celebrations | Spanish: 10 puntas
- Alternatives’ Seasonal/Thematic Index
- WHOSE Birthday? reflections by Jim McGinnis of the Institute for Peace & Justice; singing nun Miriam Therese Winter (remember “Joy Is Like the Rain”?)
- Nov.-Dec. – new “WHOSE Birthday?” SLW! Podcast series. Podcast Index, including “WHOSE Birthday?” 2013.
- Recent Responses to all SLW! media with links
What Others Are Doing
- Simplifying Holidays from Northwest Earth Institute
- The Common Good Podcast
Episode 54 :: Lan Richart: Pressing for Justice in the Ecosystems Where Life Thrives or Dies
- Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability – New Course from Northwest Earth Institute
- Conversation about The OneEarth Project and the book, Blinded by Progress: Breaking Out of the Illusion That Holds Us, by Lee Van Ham. | TheCommonGoodPodcast.com, episode 42 | Lee’s new Slide Show
You can access all SLW! podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3).
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Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist
*GRAPHIC – Bethel Lutheran – ELCA – Templeton, CA, Thrivent Action Team
For hard copies of Alternatives’ resources at nominal cost, contact ELCA Archives, 321 Bonnie Lane, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 * (847) 690-9410 * firstname.lastname@example.org
We do not solicit or accept donations, nor do we sell anything. All our resources and services are free of charge. We’re an all-volunteer organization. Instead, we urge Alternative Giving. Give away at least 25% of what you spent last year on all celebrations – Christmas, birthdays, etc. — to local, national and international causes.
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*Treasury of Celebrations: published by Northstone, a division of Wood Lake Publications, BC, Canada, best known for its Seasons of the Spirit curriculum.
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