Monday, July 7, 2014

my two cents on five pounds

I've been slightly obsessed with the Schrute Farms t-shirt I saw on 5 Pound Apparel's Facebook timeline several weeks ago.

Despite my latest posts about Stitch Fix, I try not to obsess over clothes and such. It's just that this was a Schrute Farms shirt, and I have been disgruntled about the end of The Office (specifically, the absence of Michael Scott) for a long time now. It's almost like I need to take a piece of the show with me to savor forever.

So I secretly plotted a family visit to 5 Pound Apparel for a few weeks until the time was right.  (Shopping with two little crazies is a ludicrous idea in and of itself unless you have reinforcements to help watch/corral/chase/do damage control, and since I thought Brad might enjoy the store, too, we all had to go together.)

We finally got to go a few weekends ago, and while we didn't buy anything that day, I still experienced a bit of obsession even when I left because the whole conceptualization of the store was amazing.

Later that day, I was thinking about my reasons for loving the whole store so much, and it dawned on me: This store is everything a Christian should be. (Stick with me here...I aim to explain.)

I understand that it seems like a stretch to compare a trendy store to a type of person. But here's why:

1. It's relevant. You want to fit in? Buy ANYTHING from 5 Pound Apparel and you will do so beautifully. The products in this store reference all genres of popular artistry, such as literature, pop music, and modern TV shows, from a wide range of different generations, from classic to contemporary...The Great Gatsby, 1984, The Office, The Hungry Little Caterpillar...what a range!

Literature isn't your thing? How about local artistry, reclaimed wood, handmade jewelry, home decor, pretty pillows, a deer head on the wall, or grammar humor? (I can be a sucker for grammar humor. I mean, this shirt...LOVE):

All photos are from 5 Pound Apparel FB.
This store, theoretically, could start a conversation with anyone and carry its weight in relevant conversation. This is good for a store; even better for a Christian.

2. It features local and global flair. Clearly, this store loves Missouri.

And the rest of the US...

But it also loves Africa. And everywhere in between.

(Tank by Krochet Kids, similar to those in store.)

And shouldn't we, as Christians, also love locally and abroad? You don't have to travel far to live on mission; you can do that right where you are. However, I really think every Christian should do everything possible to get out of our country on mission, if only for one week. It's hard to appreciate what we have if we don't see that other lack it (Clean water and health? Safety? Food? A home?)

3. It's risky. This store pushes the envelope, but not in the Abercrombie and Fitch sort of way. You want bracelets with scripture written on them? You got it? You want a classy beer bottle opener? Got that, too. I don't even drink--I don't like the smell, and why force myself to acquire a taste for something that will make me spend more money?--but, I like that this store doesn't back away from the issue. In fact, it encourages conversation about God while also allowing for a bit of alcohol. Again, alcohol isn't the issue here. It's the fact that the two are fearlessly combined. And I bet more people are listening when the topic of the Gospel comes up. Are we, as Christians, fearlessly conversing with the world without firing arguments back and forth? Are we inviting nonbelievers into conversation?

4. It gives back. Every purchase gives back locally or globally, and people in over 15 countries benefit from donations. This company began as a screen printing company that gave five pounds of food to a malnourished child, and they aren't giving up their roots. (Read more about the company here.)

As you may have guessed, I'm a bit tired of the prosperity gospel: As in "I've been #blessed because I'm pretty good for God, so I'm going to tell you how #blessed I am and continue being absolutely oblivious to anyone who hurts or has troubles around me." This store, however, gives us a glimpse into real life by educating shoppers and allowing them to continue being #blessed while also blessing others. (After all, we are blessed to be a blessing. We are blessed with a home and a family, and we want to bless Sweet C and possibly some other sweet children with a home and a family that loves them like crazy.)

This might be why I am in love. This might also be why Christians should love others.

Let's be relevant. Let's love locally and abroad. Let's value conversation instead of being right. Let's give to others. If a secular store can do this, I think we, as individuals, can too.

Let's do this, Christians.

{In the end, I went back to the store and got a tank top featuring Africa. Because no matter how hard I try to distract myself, Sweet C is always on my mind. I might as well have a shirt to wear in her honor.}

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