Collaborative Preseservation & Financial Intentionality

by Ben Younan A few years ago my wife and I began a journey of financial intentionality, open to conversations and inviting others to consider alternative economic realities.  Often times discussions would lead towards the importance of budgets or the exciting possibilities of collaborative consumption.  Frugality and simplicity are themes that often flow through the veins of our personal financial framework. But I have always been careful to leave space for each person I discuss personal consumerism with, not to push my ideals, but to respect anyone’s personal choices.  I have often said that the values we hold are not necessarily the best values, but one of many.  I do usually suggest, though, that intentionality is always important.  Whether my budget is tight or I feel I am living large, purposefulness does not hurt anyone. Earlier this summer I was at the Wild Goose Festival, a gathering of people around art, justice and spirituality.  We had discussions on war, the economy, theology, justice, family among other things.  During the weekend, I had a conversation with a good friend on personal finances.  I was sure to slip in that values like frugality and simple living are values I subscribe to, but don’t necessarily need to guide everyone.  I’d like to call it consumer relativism. I think I lean in the...

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Redefining the Health & Wealth Gospel

If you’ve happened upon any religious broadcasting channel, you’ve no doubt encountered various viewpoints on what God wants for you life–from wealth and health to prosperity and climbing the corporate ladder–each of these plays into our most base human desires.  Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, in this video trailer, offers some insights into how we might redefine both these ideas and the scriptures from which they are erroneously derived in order to provide a way forward that honors the way of Jesus. TRAILER: Redefining The Health And Wealth Gospel from The Work Of The People on Vimeo. You can also find more information...

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Charity and Taxation; The Economist: Sweetened Charity

There’s a very engaging article in the June 9 issue of the economist that deals with charities and their tax-exempt status. here are  two small paragraphs that I thought were very interesting for consideration. America has the most generous tax incentives for charity, and has the highest giving as a proportion of GDP, at 1.67%, according to a rare comparative study by Britain’s Charities Aid Foundation. Britain’s tax breaks for charity are the next-most-generous, and it had the second-highest share of charity to GDP, 0.73%, followed by Australia, 0.69%, which also has significant tax breaks. By contrast, the relatively weakly incentivised Germans give only 0.22% of GDP. The correlation is not perfect, though; despite their generous tax breaks, the French give just 0.14% of GDP. Overall, American donors give more than half of their charitable donations to religious organisations, according to a study by Mr Reich of Stanford University. Only a small part of total American giving was in any sense redistributive from rich to poorer people, the study concluded. The churches, synagogues and so on that received most of the money were typically attended by the donor, and thus could be interpreted more as a membership fee than an act of charity (the study did not include religiously linked charities engaged in good works under the heading of...

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Let’s Talk About…Money, Baby!

by Mike Little Why is it so hard to talk about money in Church?  Why are we reluctant to connect our faith with our money? Money is the second most frequently mentioned subject in both Hebrew and Christian scriptures—second only to idolatry in the Old Testament, and to the Kingdom of God in the New Testament.  So obviously our scriptures consider money and material resources to be of great significance. Jesus talked about money, possessions and wealth more than any other subject other than the Kingdom of God: the parable of the rich young ruler, the widow’s mite, the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, the woman washing Jesus feet with expensive oil, Zacchaeus, the Good Samaritan, building of bigger barns, the parable of the talents, the loaves and fishes, the birds of the air not worrying about how they look, and many more. Yet as John Haughey writes, “We read the Gospel as if we had no money, and we spend our money as if we know nothing of the Gospel.” Money is a big part of our everyday lives, and if we can’t talk about it in Church, with our church family, where else can we talk about it?  We need to get money “out of the closet” so it is a natural, normal part of our life together....

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