No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “put your money where your mouth is.” I agree with that saying, but have just recently been thinking about how we should put our money with where our faith is, in things that support our beliefs.
The thing that got me thinking about this topic was the book, I Found Jesus in the Stock Market: How Biblically Responsible Investing Can Change Your Heart, Too. In the book, the author, Cassandra Laymon shared her story about her journey into Biblically Responsible Investing, also referred to as BRI. Up to this point I hadn’t really heard of BRI, but the more I read about it, the more I began to think about how as believers, we shouldn’t invest in companies that have values that are at odds with our faith. At times these opposing values are demonstrated through company policies and other times they are demonstrated by the company’s investment portfolio.
The book came to me at a good time, as Chuck and I are in a better position to invest more in our retirement accounts than was previously possible. I haven’t yet researched this as thoroughly as I ideally will, but reading the book did prompt me to begin researching what various companies fund.
Boycotts or Buycotts?
Somewhere in the process of doing that research I came across the website, Faith Driven Consumer. Whereas the book, I Found Jesus in the Stock Market covers what not to invest in, Faith Driven Consumer gives insight into which companies you should go out of your way to do business with; it’s an approach that is basically a reverse boycott, or what some people call a “buycott.”
Choosing not to invest in companies that support things in opposition to the Bible and choosing to make purchases from companies that are more faith-friendly both have a lot of merit. The biggest difference between them is that the reasoning behind not investing in companies that hold values contrary to Christianity is that when you invest in companies that have anti-biblical values, you take ownership in and profit from such companies. In other words, you potentially increase your riches at the expense of your faith.
In the Faith Driven Consumer/buycott approach, you help Christian companies, or companies that are better aligned with Christian values to prosper. This approach can be seen as more effective than a boycott, where you simply choose not to make purchases from companies that hold different values than yours.
What Faith Has to Do with Pizza
One way to utilize this information is to compare the FEI (Faith Equality Index) score of two similar companies, and then spend money at the one with the highest score.
For example, Trader Joe’s has a score of 40, and Whole Foods has a score of 24, so if you’re following the “buycott” model, and you want to shop in a grocery store with a reputation for healthy foods, you’d choose Trader Joe’s over Whole Foods. Another example is Applebees vs. Chili’s. Applebees has a score of 46, and Chili’s has a score of 36, so if you’re deciding between which of the two restaurants to go to for dinner, lean toward Applebees over Chili’s. In the mood for a pizza? Dominoes, with a faith-friendly score of 45 is the clear choice over Pizza Hut, with a score of 29.
The thing I want to caution you on is to not fall into legalism. While I believe that one of the best ways to “vote” is with our dollars, there’s no need to fall into condemnation if you end up spending money at one of the places with a lower score. The key is to increase your awareness of what different companies support and make a conscious effort to support businesses that are in better alignment with faith-based values.