Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Post - Clothes with a mission.

As a christian, and as a young businessman, I believe it is important to ask the bigger question of what is this company ultimately for? The mission of the company? The reason for us to be selling clothes, and what to do with our profits?

I believe in capitalism. I must say that first. But I also believe we have used that for many evils, and have turned a blind eye to what the reason God would give us blessing our work. It is far too easy to go spend it on ourselves. For all "our hard work."

I don't know where this company is going, we could fall apart, we could never make a profit, but I believe in my own heart, that if there is something behind this company, then I want it to serve a greater mission than just making money.

Our company's name and symbol is the buffalo.

I feel the buffalo is a symbol of many things for a man, and american, one of which is the close association with the Native people, the first nations, the native americans. We wiped them out, us white people. And we brought over our cattle from Europe to replace the savage animals called the buffalo. No one wanted to eat a wild game associated with Indians. Our ancestors felt that if we could kill the buffalo, maybe we could kill the Indians with 'em.

We almost did.

I love what President John F. Kennedy spoke in 1963,

"Before we can set out on the road to success, we have to know where we are going; and before we can know that, we must determine where we have been in the past. It seems a basic requirement to study history of our Indian people. America has much to learn about the heritage of our American Indians. Only through this study can we as a nation do what must be done if our treatment of the American Indians is not to be marked down for all time as a national disgrace."

So what is our mission? I don't know if it is all clear. I personally am trying to pray, seek God, read, and learn from books and people with much greater wisdom and perspective in these issues than me, but I think we have a role to play. I think it is part of our time, our generation, for our history of American, to explore the past, the current issues, and how we might join up, and learn from each other. How God might be reconcilling us to one another.

Why would God put a people group here before us? What part do they have to play in this larger story of our life here and shared lives together on this planet? What did we not learn then, that we desperately need, even today?

I love what Richard Twiss writes in a christian worldview of what might still be to come, "God is going to use Native people in a unique way to accomplish His sovereign purpose of our nation... It was never the purpose of our Creator Father to crush the original inhabitants of the land in order to "manifest our destiny."

When you begin to read how we brought Native Americans into "educational learning systems of the white culture" from cutting their hair, to educating them in our systems, and keeping them from using their native tongues in class, what we essentially said was, learn from us. You have nothing to teach us. We are the superior race. We will teach you.

Isn't that so easy to believe? We are something far superior than the cultures around us? As even Americans, we assume the world needs to learn from us. I am pro-American, I believe we are a shining light, but that we somehow have all the answers? That is simply pride.

One thing I wonder today, with our questions on sustainability, with the environment, with the use of land, and natural resources, what if there was something we need to listen to from them? Didn't the native Indians originally help us on plymouth rock, help us, to keep us alive? Isn't that what our Thanksgiving celebration is about? The story of the natives and the white europeans? Where did all that go after that event?

So I wonder, could we be part of a bigger dialogue, a bigger discussion? I hope so. And this summer, our goal as a company is to go to a reservation out here in the west, as a company, to serve, and just ask questions. Hear stories, and be an ear for God to whisper to us, what role we might play. Maybe it is to just learn. Maybe it is more. But if there was any group, that truely honored the wild, the land, it was them. May we draw our inspiration from them.

For if there is a "road to success" in this company as Kennedy wrote, we must determine where we have been in the past, and yes, we have much to learn. as a company, as a mission.

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