In a typical blog post, we try and pose a relevant question in which you, the Faith Driven Consumer, might benefit from the answer. We then work through the best way to approach the question or issue, in accordance with our biblical values and beliefs, and hopefully arrive at a faith driven solution. Finally, we aim to encourage you or point you toward other resources that will help you accomplish these goals and implement these solutions as we all strive to be the best Faith Driven Consumers (FDCs) we can be. This week’s blog will look similar, but with a key difference, because this week’s question is not only one you must ask yourself, but it’s also one we had to ask ourselves at Faith Driven Consumer™ (FDC). That question is: how should we engage with brands that are not faith compatible? And, should we ever spend money at these establishments or promote them among our communities?
These questions are important for many reasons. First, we inhabit a commercial landscape in America that is largely hostile, or at the very least, indifferent to our beliefs and values as FDCs. We need to know if it is acceptable to do business with these companies that are incompatible with our faith. Is buying a product from one of these companies tantamount to supporting their incompatible beliefs or anti-Christian efforts? If this is the case, then we must abstain entirely, no matter how much we like or even need the product. This important question was addressed in an earlier blog where we concluded that there is no biblical mandate against making these purchases, but that it is mostly an issue of wisdom and personal conviction. (If you want to read more on this question and our answer at FDC, click here. “Making Everyday Decisions, Pt. 1 & 2”).
It may be OK to shop at these places, but we as Christians should heed the Apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 10 when he says that “all things are lawful, but not all things edify.” So, if it is not cut and dry, and we aren’t sinning by shopping at these places, then we needn’t be legalistic about every single consumer decision. But the question still remains: how should we engage the businesses who are incompatible with our faith? Which practices are edifying to me and my community? Is boycotting the only way to create change? Or even, buycotting – is that the only way to make a difference?
At FDC, we do believe in buycotting. We believe in supporting businesses that take us seriously and commit to faith compatible corporate actions. This is primarily how we envision the FDC Community making a difference. However, to answer the question raised above, FDC believes there are other ways to make a difference as well – ways that even include occasionally making purchases with these brands who have not scored well on our Faith Equality Index. And, this is good news for those of us who might be enthusiastic about supporting most faith compatible brands, but have a few places we love to shop, or a product we just can’t live without, and are conflicted because they are not a faith compatible brand. So, how are we able to make a difference while shopping with these brands? How is it acceptable to ever spend money at these establishments? Well, as we said earlier, some may have personal convictions that compel them to refrain from any of these purchases. But many recognize that if we only shop at places that are faith compatible, unfortunately, the options will be very limited.
For these individuals who want to make an impact but still need or desire to buy certain products or shop at certain places, we have created the FDC Marketplace. The FDC Marketplace consists of thousands of money-saving deals on travel, food, home goods, electronics, and everything in between. The Marketplace offers money-saving and cash-back opportunities to every kind of business, no matter their compatibility rating on the FEI. So how do we offer these deals without compromising our values and our mission at FDC? And, how do you take advantage of these deals without compromising your values and mission as a Faith Driven Consumer? The answer lies in the FDC Marketplace’s ability to qualify and quantify data from our Community. If you listen to this podcast with our founder, Chris Stone, he elaborates more on what this means. Put simply, when you use the savings offered within the Marketplace to purchase products and services from these brands, you enable FDC to utilize that data and demonstrate the power of your choice to these businesses. When you go through the FDC Marketplace to make a purchase, you are amplifying your voice – making sure you are heard in the marketplace – and compelling your favorite brands to listen to you. FDC is able to take that data directly to these brands and demonstrate the importance of our Community for their respective businesses, and to compel them to hear our Community’s collective voice and make an effort to acknowledge us.
As our Community rapidly grows, making thousands of purchases through the FDC Marketplace (and saving money as they do it), Christians will finally have a recognizable and quantifiable presence in the overall marketplace as many other identity groups do. The implications are obvious. Once we demonstrate the values and commitment of our Community, and become a community that cannot be ignored, then we will start to see change in the corporate actions of these businesses. And when we start to generate these actions, we will begin to see a culture take shape that reflects the values of Faith Driven Consumers – biblical values which can transform a nation. If you haven’t yet joined, we hope you will consider becoming a member of the FDC Marketplace. We commit to provide you with countless ways to save money, but more importantly, to Purchase with Purpose™. We also commit to our goal of ensuring that each and every one of these decisions is leveraged toward transforming the marketplace and culture to be more compatible with the faith that defines us.