What Would Jesus Buy?

Saving the world one cashmere sweater at a time.

Ah, the seduction of sumptuous cashmere.

Lulled into a lustful stupor, I recently stood in the sweater aisle of an apparel store in Seattle and wondered, What would Jesus buy? Immediately, I knew the answer: Jesus would shell out $198 for the cashmere sweater that had me spellbound. Next question?

Just to be on the safe side, I counted off the reasons why this purchase would make the world a better place.

One: The pullover felt dizzyingly soft against the skin. (I'd stop here if I weren't a Christian.)

Two: The sweater felt just as easy on the conscience. The clerk informed me that the soft fibers had been combed gently—and not sheared—from the shedding underlayer of Kashmir goats on Mongolia's frigid high plateaus. Not only did the animals not suffer, they practically got a massage. Animal welfare: check.

Three: No harmful pesticides were used—so none seeped into the ground—as a result of the garment's production. Creation care: check.

Four: My purchase would move the world a little closer to ending poverty-level wages. The Mongolian herders—for whom the goats are a sole livelihood—were compensated fairly, the clerk said. Social justice: check.

Five: The sweater wasn't even for me. It was a gift for my husband. Magnanimity: check.

Six: I was sipping a cup of fairly traded coffee bought at an independently owned store that gives back to the community. Righteous intoxication: check.

Surely Jesus would be the kind of consumer I try to be: compassionate and fair to people and animals involved in production processes, concerned about the effect of products on the environment, and, at times, lavish in his choices (as the woman who anointed his feet with expensive perfume knew). He would buy organic eggs from ...

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Taste and See
Agnieszka Tennant is a former associate editor and editor at large for Christianity Today. She earned her master's degree in international relations at the University of Chicago, where she focused on how religiously-rooted norms influence world politics. Her "Taste and See" column ran from 2006 to 2007.
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What Would Jesus Buy?
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February 2006

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