Ethical Living Tips

As part of our commitment to become a more responsible community and church, we recently used the Abundant Life Bible study series produced by the Congregational Federation and CWM, which covers topics such as living well with others, with the environment, and ethical money.

During our Bible studies some really interesting suggestions emerged so I thought it would be a good idea to create a living guide of ethical tips. Living because it will be updated regularly with new suggestions from our own members and from our local community.

These tips focus on small changes that most people should be able to try easily. If you have any suggestions drop us a comment below.

Please be aware that all links are suggestions from our members or community and links do not constitute endorsement, or medical and financial advice.

Environment

With problems such as climate change and pollution, the environment is an obvious first choice. But increased media attention is not the only reason why it is at the top of this list: climate change affects people in the poorest countries, and is a major source of conflict and poverty, which in turn result in the humanitarian crises we see with refugees.

The first step in addressing environmental problems is to determine how much our individual lifestyle contributes to them. Whilst most pollution and emissions come from industrial activity, we can still make a positive impact.

  • Check your carbon footprint. You can find out how much carbon is produced as a consequence of your lifestyle through simple quizzes such as the WWF or the United Nations ones. You can play around with the answers to see how much difference small changes can make.
  • Greener houses. Whilst the price tag might be off-putting to begin with, switching to a green tariff will greatly cut the environmental impact of your house. Replacing your light bulb with longer-lasting LED ones and remembering to switch off unused appliances is good for your bills and the environment. You can also consider more expensive options if you are having work carried out on your windows, radiators, etc.
  • Greener Diet. If you currently enjoy eating meat, cutting down how many meals include meal can help reduce emissions and save water. In the case of red meat, it’s also recommended you cut down for health reasons. Additionally buying local and or Fair Trade products can help ensure your food is sustainable or doesn’t need to travel for miles on roads.
  • Greener rubbish. You can check what you can recycle and where on your local authority website or here.

People and Money

Our second main focus in our Bible studies was how we can use our money wisely to help people, whether it is by buying different products during our regular shopping, our charity donations, or our savings. Because of the focus of Abundant Life, we have come up with charities that help the environment or people who are most likely to be affected by climate change or unfair trade practices.

  • Buying Fairly. Many foods we enjoy are produced in countries where the risk of exploitation is high, luckily supermarkets are making it easier to buy certified Fair Trade food. You can also find out how other products fare on an ethical scale thanks to a free website.
  • Giving More. There are many worthy charities you can donate to, both in the UK and abroad, but not many allow you to re-use your donation multiple time by lending money to an entrepreneur in a developing country. Alternatively you can help plant trees to absorb some of that excess carbon, whilst also lifting people out of poverty.

Modern Since the Seventies

Already in the 1970s Congregationalists knew what pressing answers the Church refused to answer, this excerpt from the flier “Forward into the Seventies” – which was written during the difficult time of the Congregational-Presbyterian union – shows the modern insights that were present amongst Congregationalists.
(excerpt from “The History of the Federation” by R.W. Cleaves)


HUMANISTS say: We don’t like fixed dogmas and creeds.
We say: Neither do we. Be committed to Jesus Christ, and in reverent freedom follow on to know him

REVOLUTIONISTS say: Too much money is being spent in administrative structures in ‘Christian’ high places – while two thirds of the world population are starving.
We say: Let every congregation maintain itself with modest means. Then use the surplus for the Third World.

ECONOMISTS say: Too much time, energy and money has already been spent, and more is allocated to be spent, on ‘Take-over bids’ of denominational structures, fostering internal arguments.
We say: Forget it. Get on with the job. Preach the ‘glorious gospel of the blessed God’. Relieve the poor (wherever in the world they may be). Comfort the sad. Calm the troubled mind. Join with all ‘seekers after truth’ and find it.

CRITICS say: Christians “fiddle while Rome burns”.
We say: The fiddling is the interminable dissension about church structures. The fire that burns is the Want, Hunger, Oppression, Suffering of a world without Christ. “We must obey God and not man”.