Monday, November 9, 2009

Money and stuff

Begin with quote from a book Jennifer and I are reading:

...But the lion told me I should undress first...I was just going to say that I couldn't undress because I hadn't any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins...So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling of beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana...But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before...Then the lion said-'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it...The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off...Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off--just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt--and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been.

I want a new cell phone. Android 2.0 has just been released, Qualcomm's snapdragon core for mobile devices, breaking the 1GHz mark IN A CELL PHONE (though, current iterations have underclocked it for power savings), is starting to enter the market. Android is gaining more and more steam as it gains support in smart phones.

The geek in me goes googly-eyed with the thought of it, and drooly with how I would tweak the open source OS.

And the Christian in me sighs and fears; for I am torn free of what i was, but that does not always imply the form cannot grow back. When my desire for new gizmo's exceeds my desire to help those around me that need help (close and far from me), scales start to grow back. When I read (in that story) about how they left the gold behind and something in me said "now wait a minute!", and I would love to think that voice was crying out for all the worthwhile things that could be done with it, but I know that's not true...scales start to grow back.

I don't want to live for myself; I don't want to live open handed, but always keep a good slice for myself; because then the open handed living is not a selfless desire, but a way to assuage a social protocol to commit to "the greater good".

And above all this, I fear a day will come when I no longer realize this about myself, or realize it and I do not feel convicted that I am made for greater things then cell phones, gold, and self pat-on-the-back's.

I don't live in worry, or guilt, or whatever; I'm not saying that. But I hope to live aware of the true value of things, not only of my selfish desires of things. And I think that's something worth fearing and hoping for.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I can honestly say that up until this point in my life, I think that the "challenges" I've faced (social, physical, emotional) are things that I did not enjoy. I appreciate them, certainly, because they have helped to mold me into who I am and who I am becoming. I fully acknowledge that how we react to adversity is critical in who we become. But I can't really look back at any "real" (video games don't count) challenge that was fun...

So I am...interested to say that for perhaps the first time in my life, I have a serious challenge that I am enjoying. Jennifer and I have found a group of friends here in Columbus that we meet with once a week to read and discuss Scripture. Suffice it to say, this isn't a "everyone thinks pretty much the same thing and comes from roughly the same place" sort of group; EVERYONE is coming from a drastically different place from everyone else in the group. We don't all see God the same way; salvation the same way; Jesus the same way, living life the same way, money management the same way, etc. And I am falling in love with these people. And they often frustrate the snot out of me.

It's odd; it's not like I like the two here, and that one there; the rest I'm sort of indifferent towards. I really like each and every one. I'm growing to become more and more concerned, compassionate, and interested in who and what each of them are. And there are times I think "how in the world can you really think that??". And so I am worked over by God, to help me to see that people don't have to grow in faith just as I have grown; that God is willing to take the smallest part of your life that you are willing to offer up to Him, and use it, hoping that you will offer Him more. That it's okay, sometimes even good, to really care for and about someone, and to disagree.

And in the midst of this loving/frustrating relationship I have with these people, I realize that...I enjoy it. I am excited to see God change my heart, because it's not something that I think I alone have the capacity to do beyond a perfunctory level. It's REALLY exciting to God work on and with these people; active evidence that though they may do it differently, does not mean that they do it *wrong*. We are a fallen people, in need of grace far beyond our own ability to generate; and God (through His Son) is willing to meet us wherever, however, and in any fashion to start that conversation, and that transformation. It's good to be reminded that I don't have the responsibility (or power) to pick the right or wrong way to accepting and living in that grace; simply the responsibility to walk the right way as God leads me, and to be open, honest, and loving along the way.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hello! Contentment and Money

So it's been a while.

So I am very happy with the stuff I have. I have a 17" monitor for the desktop, and a older (but flat glass) CRT TV (like 23" or so). And until a couple of weeks ago I was very content with that; we run a pretty tight budget, and so while newer stuff would be good to have, I didn't really think about (and therefore want) much more.

And then I got an OPA (a "good job" at work, with monetary bonus) and some birthday money from my parents. And suddenly I had enough money to get a flat panel, or a projector, or a new cell phone, or...

And I pursued these things; but in order to get a new discounted phone, I was required to get a data plan (for $30 a month) too; which I neither wanted or needed. I could get a flat panel, but Jennifer really preferred a projector. I could get a projector, but LED technology is starting/currently shaking things up, and prices look to be coming down over the next few months...

And then it sort of dawned on me; I was a lot more discontent with all my searching and wanting then I was with what I previously just had. And at the end of the day, if I am given a bunch of unexpected cash, is satisfying my own desires really the way I want to use it?

It may seem silly; I mean, it's not a new car whenever I want one, I know. It's not thousands upon thousands; what I am talking about is well under the 1k mark. But when I didn't have a real income (high school, college), I thought that if I ever win the lottery, I'd give this much away (family, charities, what have you), then use this (relatively smaller portion) on some really cool stuff for myself. But I am starting to think that if I don't follow that same pattern with smaller unexpected money, will I really follow that pattern with larger money that I will have later?

Just some interesting thoughts that I've been going through recently.