The Theology of Thrift Stores

When it comes to clothing Jana and I don't do retail. Just about everything in our closets we've gotten secondhand, from either consignment sales and stores or thrift stores, Goodwill being a favorite place to shop. Looking at us, I think people would be surprised by that. But you're not lacking a sense of fashion if you shop at consignment and thrift stores. You're just refusing to pay retail prices for it.

The other say Jana and I were having a conversation about the theology of consignment and thrift stores. The obvious points are those about simplicity, materialism and justice. When you shop at consignment and thrift stores you're living more simply, stepping away from the materialism of the culture and contributing less to the injustices in the worldwide clothing industry.

But Jana went on to make a theological distinction between consignment and thrift stores. "I really like thrift stores," Jana said, "because thrift stores are about resurrection."

Both consignment and thrift stores are selling second hand clothing. But the crucial difference is that in consignment stores the person bringing in the clothing is selling them. They bring in the clothing to sell to the consignment store or they get a percent from the store when the clothing sells. And this profit motive generally makes consignment stores nicer than thrift stores.

But thrift stores like Goodwill? That clothing is simply given away. That clothing is no longer wanted.

Consequently, when you pull something off the racks in a thrift store it's resurrection and restoration.

Something discarded is brought back to life again. Something deemed useless now has a purpose. Something that had no value becomes valued again.

That's Easter.

That's the theology of the thrift store.

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