I copied our last chat and have posted it here for our readers to ponder. I hope you do not mind but I felt this was relevant to what we are trying to accomplish on this blog. The readers can get a real flavor our how we talk when no one is listening:
12:55 PM Bryan: People are taking the Dave Ramsey thing pretty seriously.
12:58 PM me: It is a good discussion – there is some real popular TV evangelist who has a big following because he endorses material success.
1:00 PM On accumulating and spending – there is a thing called prudence.
Bryan: But even you said that faith systems have consequences and that goes beyond good judgment. If you accept that Jesus is the way, then you have to own that and make an effort to live it.
me: Yes you do – so I am careful not to claim any specific faith system
1:02 PM Bryan: otherwise you are not suffering the consequences and not owning your faith.
me: God gave us brains and rational thought – he expects us to use that
Bryan: I agree, but if you say “I am going to live my life as though I were walking in the footsteps of Jesus – owning his teachings as a student, then you have made a commitment.
1:04 PM me: I think you have to put Jesus into a historical context – I think you have to understand his culture and who his audience was. Jesus also understood very well that everyone could not quit their jobs and walk around the country side talking about him.
1:05 PM Bryan: That is where this post is important; I never said that. That is the justification that the argument usually follows. And then we are driving around in big SUV’s and spending whatever money we want.
me: All I am talking about is balance – and Jesus was a balance man. He never fell off his donkey.
Bryan: Jesus was about challenging the established way of thinking; calling out the Pharisees and living a pretty radical life for a Rabbi.
me: Personally, I have a very low comfort level – so I don’t require a big SUV or fancy clothes – it works for me – l live a simple and modest life.
1:08 PM Bryan: That’s right, and the challenge is not for you because you don’t claim to want to be like Jesus – and that’s not wrong.
me: The excesses of America today are completely disgusting – when one considers that 50 million people cannot even get adequate medical care.
Bryan: I am saying that if you claim the same value system than you have to evaluate that. Right?
1:09 PM me: You are right – there are consequences to stating a value system – you can only honor yourself by being true to what you claim is important.
Bryan: That’s what I’ve been trying to tell ya.
1:10 PM me: I think the character trait is called ‘integrity.’
Bryan: If your value system is luxury, then you should drive a Lexus; if it is sacrifice, then you should walk.
me: If your value system is luxury at the expense of others then you can go Dick Cheney yourself.
1:11 PM Bryan: But you can’t claim that it is sacrifice and then add a bumper sticker to your Lexus to spread the word about sacrificing.
me: If your value is that all have luxury – then that is a different matter. Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice is nonsense.
Bryan: It is nonsense; and I never suggested otherwise. I understand the value of the middle path. Wesley said “gain what you can, save what you can, give what you can” and he is right.
1:13 PM me: When I go into a public restaurant and I see some have their food delivered and they pause, fold their hands, hang their head, and pray – I think what an exhibitionist – to publicly demonstrate righteousness is to edify self – not Jesus. I like that Wesley guy.
1:14 PM Marx said “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
These are nice philosophies – they get a little confused in the manner of execution
1:15 PM The Community of Christ Church says they should tithe 10% of their NET – after their needs are met.
1:16 PM I was attending a session there one day and one of the men said that needs are different for different families – his example was that there were three teen age boys in his family when he was growing up so their need for automobiles and gasoline was different than for people who did not own cars.
1:17 PM That is what I mean about execution of philosophy – it gets mixed up. Humans have a way of distorting just about anything they want.
1:18 PM One might also argue that if a person has legitimately earned some wealth through industrious hard word that he is legitimately entitled to some reward.
Bryan: If he is not a Christian
1:20 PM I threw that one in to get you going.
me: I know a man who ran a service station – it was on Frederick Avenue in what would one day become prime real estate. That man opened the station every morning at 7:00 am and closed at 7:00 pm – then he worked another hour to finish his paperwork. He did this seven days a week for thirty years.
me: In his late fifty’s he sold the station and had accumulated some real wealth. What was his Christian duty?
Bryan: I am just saying that we justify our behaviors rather than evaluating them
1:24 PM the guy at the gas station can do whatever he wants with his money; if its me, I’m only keeping what I need; And I am giving the rest away so that others may not go without. And that is the point. What will I do with my money. not what will he do with his? People ask me about my lifestyle, and then they defend their own, when I never mentioned their lifestyle.
1:44 PM me: So – how do you give it away? That is much more complicated that it appears on the surface.
1:46 PM I talked in a post on corruption in United Way Agencies. I have seen the same sort of corruption in churches. So how does one know where to give – how to serve?
Readers – what do you think?
Talk to you later – Son,