7 read-a-long (chapter 6: spending)

I hate to be largely absent from this week’s discussion (again), but, alas, life doth not stop for read-a-longs. A big ol’ bunch of my grandma’s descendants are gathering today to celebrate her 91 years of life on this earth and rejoicing that she’s hanging out with Jesus now, just like she was born to do.

She and Grandpa made some really great babies (and grandbabies and great-grandbabies), and out of their 100 descendants, there’s not a one I don’t like.  That’s pretty spectacular right there.

We love you, sweet Grandma!

Chapter 6. Spending. It’s been awhile since I read this chapter, so I skimmed through just now and glanced at all the marks I made (this is how I can tell in 10 seconds what kind of impact a previously-read book made on me at the time).

Lots and lots of this: ***. And this: ****** (except I write them vertically in the margins). A bunch of “AMEN!” And some “hahaha!” And a few “same”s. Some “love”s. Several “yes”es. And lots and lots of smiley faces.

I very much liked this chapter. And I need more than one post to tell you how much. And I’ll probably talk less about actual spending (it’s amazing how much you don’t spend when your husband quits his job) and more about using our resources to love the poor (my passion, which you know).

So how about those Pharisees and the wealthy on pages 158-159? For starters, let’s recognize the fact that most of us fit in one or both of those groups more likely than not. I used to think that I most definitely did NOT, but there was a small (and by small, I mean gigantic) plank in my eye. Religious and judgmental about it? Check. Very, very, very rich compared to most of the world’s population? Check check.

And what does Jen point out? “Jesus never utters a positive word about the wealthy.” And “a brave believer admits, ‘He’s talking about me.'”

“It is terribly hard for us to receive His kingdom, harder than shoving a camel through the eye of a needle. That’s really hard. If this is true, more than fearing poverty or simplicity, we should fear prosperity.”

If tithing the minimum and consuming the rest is okay, then we can dismiss Jesus’ ideas and act obsessed about other stuff He said.”

“What if we are camels, on this side of the needle, dangerously content with our fake gospel and avoiding the actual Christian life described in Scripture?” (159)

I think this is a very, very important question to ask. Is my gospel fake?? Or, to put it more nicely, is my gospel missing any key parts?

And this next line got a “hahahaha!” next to it. “Today is a good day to steer clear from David Platt or Mother Teresa or Francis Chan or Martin Luther King Jr. And anything Jesus ever said. And the prophets. And the disciples. Or God.”

I’m a little bit of a mess right now. Missing Grandma. Super tired. We’ve had a crazy week on the Gabe’s-Mental-Health front (mostly good, some not). ON FIRE about caring for the poor. (Looking for something “fun” to watch on Netflix? Small Voices is a documentary about Cambodia’s street children, filmed right smack dab where the boys from the boys’ center live and work. And the precious children who live at the dump and scour through garbage and dead bodies for 50 cents a day. Oh, sweet Jesus, have mercy.)

I want so desperately for people to make the connection between how much we have and how much others don’t. How many children (25,000) die every single day because they don’t have enough to eat or the water they’re drinking is contaminated and filthy or they don’t have money for medicine or whatever it is that’s killing them AND DOESN’T HAVE TO.

“Never has so much wealth been so concentrated; our prosperity is unprecedented. If enough of us decided to share, we would unleash a torrent of justice to sweep away disparity, extreme poverty, and hopelessness.” (170)

Oh, friends, let’s unleash that torrent of justice.

9 thoughts on “7 read-a-long (chapter 6: spending)

  1. Lori

    Hi Ladies!
    Oh how I missed reading the chapter, blogging and reading all your comments this week. I’m having a busy work travel week but plan to read it on the plane Friday.
    Great comments from you all.
    Many prayers to you and your family Marla!

  2. Danielle

    Sweet Marla, thank you so much for hosting this read-along during all of the life chaos that has been going on. Your sacrificial love of all of us by continuing to post is remarkable. I love your beautiful heart and am so thankful to see your perseverance through struggles. Enjoy your wonderful family.

  3. Tonia

    This chapter is super convicting and truthfully I feel really guilty. I feel guilty about our new home and the fact that I’m constantly thinking about what to buy for it.

    I claim to have it figured out in the spending area, since I don’t have debt (well, ha, yes I do now….a big fat mortgage). I have a “budget”, which is really just a spreadsheet that I log all of our expenses in by category and then feel like crap about how over budget we went in most categories.

    I am so totally feeling Jen on today’s churches issues. It’s really quite sad, especially because half of my family doesn’t follow Christ, and really they see no reason to do so. Breaks my heart. We just have it all wrong. It’s ingrained in us as Americans, but it’s not an excuse…

    This really doesn’t have to do directly with spending, but I remembered this quote when reading the end of this chapter. Tony Campolo spoke at my little Christian College’s chapel and said, “50 thousand people die each day of starvation and you people don’t give a shit. But, the worst part of that is you care more about the fact that I just swore than the fact that 50,000 people will die today from no food!” Yikes, he has a point there.

  4. brooke

    thanks for the reminder that i haven’t worked on the budget yet this month. (yikes – so not like me)

    i don’t have a problem not spending, but that doesn’t mean this chapter means nothing to me. i do *great* at saving. i do great at not spending because being mortgage free means more to me than a fancy phone, expensive makeup, or even the latest running gadget. what would my motivation look like if i were giving to others instead? that is the great unknown.

  5. Loraine Erickson

    And Jesus never utters a positive word about the wealthy. And the brave believe admits that is me. Love this (in the kick in the gut sort of way) and love your heart for the poor.

    1. Lori

      I was wondering if that was true – that Jesus never utters a postive word about the wealthy. Because there were some quite wealthy people in the new testament. I mean, he certainly went off on the Pharisees and others but truly no positive word? (But I’ve not read the chapter yet so maybe this is just out of context for me.)

      1. Marla Taviano

        Good question, Lori. I’d have to re-read the Gospels with that in mind to be able to answer it for sure. I’m wondering if he said some positive things about particular wealthy people but not in the context of talking about their wealth? Hard stuff, but yeah, no positive words are coming to mind.

  6. Andrea

    I am surprised that this was one of my favorite chapters. I shared more of my thoughts on link 1 (On not letting money burn a hole in your pocket), but let me just say here that the stats on spending (page 167 in paperback) were so eye-opening. And shaming. Oh, you temptresses, you Christian Dior and Max Factor!? In many ways, it made me think about how weak we are as Americans (granted not all of us and there are certainly other weak people in the world) though we put up quite a different front. We hardly never say no to self or marketers and so many others have dealt with real oppression and need and having to ration food or give theirs to babies and mamas and someone else. Do we even know how to deny our needs and control our pocketbooks? I could go on but will stop before I spin into a pit of sadness and lost hope. And I am right there with the worst of the offenders.

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