Sunday, April 29, 2007

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Read a crazy book awhile back (Shelley recommends some great books!) This book was extremely challenging, convicting and inspiring for me. Shane Claiborne (the author, who founded The Simple Way) is living his life for God by loving those around him in the inner-city of Philadelphia. (The Simple Way is part of the New Monasticism movement).

This book, my trip to Africa, and some other stuff I've read/watched over the last year or so have resulted in a shift in my thinking. No one's reinventing the wheel or anything (there's nothing new under the sun, right?), but I have been forced to rethink some of my own values and attitudes. My concepts of Jesus, Christianity, church, and my life's purpose have been challenged. It's funny how we grow up with a certain idea about how something is, but then later the Lord shows us that we weren't as right as we thought we were. It's been sweet for us to talk through this stuff with Darin and Lara.

In thinking through the idea of consumerism, for example, I always end up with more questions than answers. What should an American Christian's life look like in this regard? What's an extravagance, and what's not? Is there a standard we should adhere to or does it not matter? If we have a finite amount of money coming in, how do we decide how much to give away and how much to spend? Do we buy all our clothes used, for example, and give the savings away to those in need?

I realize maybe some of this seems extreme in our culture and I guess that's yet another question, should it? Ever since seeing Ethiopia I think about some of this. About why I've been blessed with so much, while they have so little, and what that should mean for me. (So far I don't buy my clothes used, but I still feel compelled to at least think about it.) I can't save the world obviously, but I so want to "love God and love others". So I thought I'd do a few blog posts about it. I'm interested to hear peoples' thoughts on this.

9 comments:

Jeannett Gibson said...

You know, I read Randy Alcorn's Treasure Principal and I was completely changed in the way I spent money since I've read it. (which surprised me, since I typically assume that "popular" books are silly). Anyway, it's been liberating to look at money totally differently. And, you don't have to LOOK like you rummage for garbage in order to live more simply. Our latest car purchase, for example, while very nice and listed as a "luxury vehicle" (although not sure what that means), we got for sooooo much less than not only it is worth, but for an amount that is so small (in car terms). It's really about being economical and creative. You can make a lot of stuff, if you're handy, or you can just quit going to Target and spending $60 and not remembering what it was you bought.

Brianna Heldt said...

Jeannett thanks for sharing, that is awesome! We have that book (thanks to the Borlands I believe!) but I have yet to finish it, funny since it's not even very long. I'd love to hear more about how it changed your views on money, you should blog about it!

I totally agree that you don't have to look like you rummage for garbage, ha! That's great about your car (we're getting our upcoming car for a good price as well). It's about being creative like you said I think. I think I'm going to try to find more things on ebay too.

lisa said...

this is a very interesting topic that i'd like to explore more. in some ways i live simply--buy things on sale at the cheap store, drive used cars, enjoy our smallish house, but in other ways i am SO materialistic and have way more than i need!

Brianna Heldt said...

Lisa I totally relate, we live simply in many ways (need I even mention our cars?)--but I remain quite materialistic. It's a complex issue and not very popular to talk about. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts about this!

Kristen Borland said...

this is a huge topic! it is so hard to know where the balance is, and honestly to know what we NEED. we are putting our house on the market in a couple of months and looking for one that better suits our needs. but what are those needs? how do we know what to look for? ideally we want more space (because of our ever growing family). how do you plan for that? i want space for when we home school, but how much space and how important is it? if i was better organized, would i really need more space?

such a good topic, brianna. let's all think on it and discuss it more. i have and do buy used clothing and also new clothing on sale (go, Ross!). i do the same for the boys, but also they seem to do well with getting clothes for birthdays and Christmas. (hey all you mommies out there, i'm always looking for hand-me-downs!)

Lara said...

I am always asking the same questions too! Why is it that a woman in a different country can be perfectly content in a one room house with a dirt floor and I can't stand even to share a bedroom with my daughter for more than a week? And I wonder if it is important to have a home, clothes and other things that are socially acceptable so that we can be a light in our own culture or if that is just an excuse because we really like to have stuff. I'm about to start a book called "Freedom of Simplicity". My dad really liked it. I think it relates to all this stuff. I'll keep you updated.

shell said...

I cant wait to hear your posts! I have been thinking about all of this stuff, mostly lately about how much I TALK about it, but how little I am doing. God is reminding me everyday how big he is, how much power he has, and how little I utilize it. He wants to do big things and I am too busy asking him for something like a good parking spot! (okay, i really havent prayed that in years, but i remember in my younger days praying that!) I think he wants to heal, turn peoples lives around and change this world. And I dont live like it! I live like he is this little god that is stuck in my humansized mind.
anyways, your are always encouraging and i am always amazed how god puts us on the same page.

Kate said...

Oh, Brianna. Its seems that you have been eavsdropping on many of Travis and my conversations lately! This has been a hot topic in our home lately. Ever since we have been reading missionary or world outreach books (we started this last year) together our minds have been blown away at how much we have and how used to it we are. I mean, I didn't really really know poverty levels were so so low. I guess I kinda just thought that poverty was of the past and people are doing better now. How fooled I was. Whenever I want to go shopping for some fun outfit or just "pamper" myself a little bit, my mind goes to the stories I've been reading of people who are still living with nothing and are in absolute poverty. It really puts things into perspective and then I am really able to be content with the pants and skirts, and shirts and shoes, and etc. that I OWN. Humbling! So we have been pushed to start thinking about what do we do with this wealth? We aren't just supposed to sit on it...what are we to do? Trav and I are at a point of really eagerly searching for where God wants us to serve Him. We'd love to get together with you both and talk sometime. It seems that much of your topics have been our topics at home lately too.

Allison Brown said...

Another eye opening blog, Brianna. I wish I had some answers, and honestly, I wish I had the same topic on my heart more often. I get so easily caught up in materialism and consumerism, right along with this world of ours, and I don't even realize it! Why is money such an attraction, and why do we feel that we need more to be happy? I'll have to look into the book that you referred to.

 

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