Most of our members loved our Ukraine designs and the intention behind them. We stated up front that for every item purchased we would contribute $5 to the 'Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund,' by Global Giving, a verified charity recommended by NBC. The fund serves affected communities as well as refugees.
Nevertheless, a small handful of people were very, very, very concerned. We will explain, and hopefully any deep, dark concerns will be alleviated. But first, we must make an observation.
After dedicating the past 13 years to this ministry, working 12 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, we're qualified to point out a few faults with our own kind. We set up this ministry because we are Christian progressives ourselves and back in 2009 we felt dramatically underserved in terms of online resources, or any other resources for that matter. We decided we would 'be the change we wanted to see in the world.' We dedicated our lives to serving this community, fellow Christian progressives and their allies.
After well over a decade of service we have to point out a very big flaw among too many in our community, rampant, knee-jerk, vicious judgmentalism. That's right. You heard correctly. Rampant. Knee-jerk. Vicious. Judgmentalism. It's an awful problem among progressives and we all need to do some serious reflection about it. For one thing it's 100% contrary to what Jesus taught. You know, that guy we all claim to follow? The guy at the center of our faith?
Liberals and progressives are WAY too quick to assume the worst, jump ALL over the perceived offending party, label them with broad, unfair and unrealistic generalizations, and castigate, cancel and ghost them. We've seen it happen over and over again. Mind you, not everyone among our kin is this way. A small but vocal segment seems to think they speak for all of us, and they get out front with their bullhorns.
Anyway, enough said in terms of describing the problem. To go on much more would be harping. It's a problem. It's a big problem, and if we don't address it as a community-wide issue it will continue to diminish our effectiveness at achieving our goals.
Now, about the $5 per item sold. By the time we pay for the shirts, pay to have them printed, pay to have them shipped, and contribute $5 to the Ukraine fund, do you know how much is left? Pennies. Pennies per item. We take those pennies and put them in our design fund, so we can pay designers to design things for us that are too complicated for our capabilities. When we hire designers we hire them locally from Craigslist. 100% of the time they are starving artists.
So, there you have it. It's a cycle that allows us to make some cool stuff for the community we serve, create jobs for t-shirt makers, printers, shippers and designers, contribute funds to charities, and continue to do it all again another day.
For that effort we were told by a few that 'It made them SICK, that we were PROFITING FROM WAR!' On, and on, and on. Please. Get real. Calm down, get a grip, and get off your high horse of judgement when you don't have the foggiest clue what you are talking about. Quit being so quick to judge. And quit being so vicious. Quit assuming the worst. It's one of the things the right hates about us, and we deserve it for tolerating it among our ranks.
As progressives and liberals we go around all the time lecturing our brethren on the right about judgmentalism, with regard to a host of issues from a woman's choice, to equality for people of color, to freedom and acceptance for the LGBTQA+ community. What does that make us when we turn around and act all judgmental? It makes us hypocrites, that's what, in no uncertain terms. And don't think for one second that they don't see it. It's one of the biggest complaints they have about us. We harp, and harp, and hard about being judgmental ... then we turn around and act all judgmental. Jesus spoke of that kind of behavior. It's important enough to publish the entire parable right here. It goes to the heart of the matter.
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
Matthew 18:21-35 NIV
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
At the heart of the lessons Jesus taught is treating others the way we would want to be treated in any given situation. Our orders are to love our neighbors as we do ourselves. That means actually doing what Paul defined as love in 1 Corinthians 13. He calls on us 'not to be proud, not to dishonor others or be easily angered, to keep no record of wrongs, not to delight in evil but rejoice with the truth, to always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere.' It's a tall order. We can't always trust all the time, but we can refrain from assuming the worst about someone right out of the gates, from jumping down their throats and throwing them under the bus based on wild, knee-jerk assumptions that are often the furthest thing from the truth.
Alright, we've said enough again. The fact is that while this is a big problem in the progressive community it isn't universal by any means. 95% of the interaction we've had with our progressive Christian brothers and sisters over the past 13 years has been positive. This has been a rewarding experience for us emotionally and spiritually in a manner far exceeding the negative aspects we must endure. That's why we keep coming back every day.
There you have it. We've said what needed to be said. If we see any further comments from anyone stating that we 'make them SICK by profiting from war,' we'll post this blog. Hopefully they'll take the time to read it.
On a closing note, we worked hard to make a contribution to the global outcry against Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the global effort to help those devastated by his actions. We came up with some cool designs. Now that you know the whole story you should pick something up. (Images of designs below)
Design One: https://bit.ly/tcl-stand-with-ukraine
Design Two: https://bit.ly/tcl-i-stand-with-ukraine
Design Three: https://bit.ly/tcl-stand-w-ukraine
Design Four: https://bit.ly/tcl-pray-for-ukraine
Design Five: https://bit.ly/tcl-praying-for-ukraine
-- The Christian Left
Close-ups of the designs below. They're pretty cool.
Never the kind to pass up an opportunity to impart hard-fought wisdom, we must make one final observation for today. It's on-topic, i.e., the faults of our own kind, progressives, so here it is.
Again, while not a universal trait by any means, it's noteworthy to point out that the left can be a bit stingy sometimes. They can be a tad selfish when it comes to the contribution of financial resources to the causes they believe in. Like we point out often, we've been at this full-time for 13 years. After all that time we still operate on a shoestring budget with a skeleton crew. A percentage of our members have in fact been generous over the years, enough so that we've been able to hang on by the skin of our teeth.
It's worth noting that we've never had a single problem with the security of online donation system. Not a single one in 13 years.
We're not in this to get wealthy, and we are far from it. We struggle to stay afloat most of the time. If we ever get ahead of the game with resources we have plans sitting on the drawing board to expand our activities.
It's one of the things the right is better at than the left. They support the things they believe in with passion and extreme generosity, as ill-guided as they may be most of the time.
So, please, make a contribution to our effort. Sign up to make it monthly. Hit the 'Donate' button at the top of this blog and be a sustaining member. There's more on what we do inside that link. Incidentally, we pay our taxes. We're not a nonprofit. We decided that a long time ago because we don't want to be limited in what we can say or do and we're not going to be dishonest about any of it.
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.