Posts Tagged ‘ money ’

Life update . . . live from Seoul

It’s been many months since my last blog post. In over ten years of blogging, this is definitely the longest stretch between updates. Unlike other recent quiet periods on the blog, I have also been very quiet on Twitter and Facebook. As you’ll see below, it’s not as though I’ve had a boring life this year, I just haven’t been living it in a public way. There’s no way to do a thorough life update here without being unreadably boring, so I won’t even try, but here’s a quick overview: –       After moving to London in the Fall of 2011 in order to start my PhD research at King’s College London, Sarah and I made the decision to return to the Seattle area in Spring 2012. This was much sooner than we had originally planned, but our financial game plan didn’t work out as we had hoped. Sustainable employment was […]



2 Days to Exegeting A City

I write this from a café in London. I arrived in this amazing city less than 24 hours ago, and am going to be getting on a train out of town in just a couple hours. Not a lot of time for all things touristy, which is fine by me, because I’m a terrible tourist (and proud of that). Good tourists, though, use an array of guidebooks that can take you on a tour of any given city according to their favorite criteria – “London on $5 a Day!” or “Top Ten Restaurant Experiences in New York” or “The Two Day Guide to Copenhagen.” I haven’t ever read those guides, but I’m sure they’re fun ways of learning a city if you on a limited time frame and/or budget. As a blue collar missiologist/theologian, I’m much more interested in the process of “reading” a city than I am in seeing […]



Mustard Seed Associates – Seed Sampler

Last month I mentioned having gotten the opportunity to participate in a brainstorming session hosted by the Mustard Seed Associates, regarding recession preparedness.  Obviously, it was a timely event, as the financial markets went full-force into crisis mode just a few days later. For those of you who don’t follow MSA, last week they published their latest edition of their newsletter, the Seed Sampler.  I’ve not had much time to do more than quickly scan a couple of the articles, but based on what I’ve seen, this is really important stuff.  I’m really eager to clear a bit of time to sit down and read through this and allow it to disturb me into some forward movement.



Thanks for the bailout, can I have another?

I’ve been too busy to follow the markets much this week, except to note that they’re going down and down and down.  I’ve blogged negatively about some of my thoughts on this . . . mostly in a cranky sort of way. So how about this for a change of pace?  Perhaps one of the most Jesus-y responses to all of this financial chaos, uncertainty, and fear is to do something completely counter-intuitive.  We are the wealthy young rulers, right?  Selling all our posessions and giving the money to the poor is unlikely.  But what if we took on a challenge, and looked at the Dow Jones Industrial Average chart over the past thirty days?  And whatever the percentage of loss turns out to be (note: I have not even looked at this myself), we commit to giving that same percentage of our gross monthly income to the poor?  That’s […]



Personal Responsibility & The Empire of Greed

Almost as soon as I hit the “publish” button on yesterday’s post, I was already thinking that I needed to write a follow-up.  So here goes. First things first, I’m big on citing my sources, and I just wanted to say that when I write things that refer to consumerism as patriotism, that means I’m ripping off my good friend Jason Evans.  He’s a really good example of how I try hard in life to surround myself with people that are smarter than me. Speaking of people smarter than me, my dear wife, Michelle, commented on yesterday’s post with some of the very same thoughts I had in mind for my follow-up, so let’s jump in now.  Among other things (some of which she and I may have to agree to disagree on), she noted that we have participated quite heavily in this financial empire, and we’ve certainly benefited from […]



The Empire of Greed

It’s nice to know, in the middle of a presidential election campaign, who/what is really in charge around here.  The almighty dollar.  For years, we’ve been told to drink from the fountain of never-ending economic expansion – “buy more houses and cars and HDTVs for more money, but with less money. Don’t quit spending, whatever you do, because (wait for it, you know what’s coming . . .) if you stop spending money, the terrorists win.  Those nasty fascist religious wingnuts hate our consumeristic decadence, do they?  Well they ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  We’ll prove exactly how much more consumeristic and decadent we can get.”  Why?  Because it’s the patriotic thing to do.  “I”m proud to be an American* / Where at least I know I’m free**.” I sat in my car today yelling at the radio as the Speaker of the House gave an absolutely idiotic interview blaming all […]



Recession Preparedness

Last night, Michelle and I had the pleasure of attending a brainstorming session hosted by the Mustard Seed Associates.  It was an experimental session to creatively bring people together around the issue of the economic recession.  From the handout we were given: “One of the surprising positive side effects of the devastation of [Hurricane] Katrina three years ago is that numbers of churches and denominations have developed very sophisticated disaster preparedness strategies.  In fact, surprising numbers of churches were ready for Gustav.  But we haven’t been able to identify any churches that have developed recession preparedness strategies as we head into uncertain economic times . . .” This is an issue that is increasingly important with rising costs of food and fuel, as well as the mortgage crisis taking place.  More and more people at all economic levels will experience difficulty.  Even people who are in comfortable middle class, seemingly […]



The Great American Throwaway

This morning, an appliance repair man came to fix our oven, which has been limping along for the past few months.  Since he was on the spot anyway, I had him look at our microwave oven, which went on the fritz while I was away for three weeks. Oven repair?  No problem. Microwave oven?  Apparently, this piece of equipment, which was manufactured less than four years ago (according to the serial number info on the back), will cost around $120 to repair.  Why?  Because the part that needs to be replaced costs $85.  I remember purchasing this microwave when we moved to Seattle – we paid $60 or $70 for it.  How is it possible to sell a new microwave for less than the cost of the parts? Any normal American would say, “Well, I guess I’ll just throw the old one away and buy a new one – it’s […]



Signs your tenant is a con man

1. Claims to have been a missionary in Latin America with a faith healer ministry. 2. Pays rent via Swiss bank account wire transfer. 3. Can’t pay rent on time, but drives new BMW, and children each have plasma TVs. 4. Pleads guilty to investment fraud after stealing 6 million dollars, and faces up to 20 years in federal prison.   All of these and more are signs that you made the right call on not renewing the lease when it came to term.  Oh, and by “you,” I do mean “we.”



The topic that just won't go away

Yes, we’re still on about this stuff. The pace of blogging seems to have slowed a little, but I think that may just be a brief lull to ponder what’s been said, and what’s left to mention. For some reason, I feel a need to say something for the record – this conversation about church, seminary, paid pastoral ministry, and money is not just another flavorofthemonth topic, which the blogosphere lights up with. Mike Bishop gives a brief mention to having been relationally connected with some allies in thinking this way since around 2002. That’s about the time I met some of the same group of folks, online at first, and then in person eventually (except for one or two, like Mike). In some ways it seems like forever ago, and in other ways, I stop and think, “What? I only started talking to these guys six years ago?” It […]