Hiatus

Hiatus

Two Cents will be taking an open-ended hiatus during 2015. We value these conversations and believe it is critical that intentional spaces are created to host them but presently do not have the organizational capacity to continue filling that role. That’s not to say things are over; we are simply moving Two Cents to the back-burner until such time as we are once again able to pick up this mantle. Think of it as the ellipses to a vital conversation that must continue… While we regroup, here are a couple of great resources to get your teeth into: Head on over to Two Cent’s parent organization, Common Change. We’re practicing what we’ve been preaching: helping people to pool resources with those they know, to share with those they care about. Check out the work Faith and Money Network is doing to equip people to explore and transform their relationship with money within the grounding of their faith. For practical steps on simplifying, visit Becoming Minimalist Interested in continuing the conversation in your own circles? Check out Mark Scandrette’s Free: Spending your time and money on what matters most. It’s packed with helpful exercise for getting a handle on your money story, and designed for healing and generative money conversations with friends If you’re interested in Two Cents continuing to...

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Should Christians Live In the Suburbs?

Let me start with full disclosure here; I live in the suburbs. All around me are pristine sidewalks, manicured lawns, and SUVs. I live here for what are probably the same reasons as most people. First, I am raising a family. And secondly, because I could. However, I have begun to wonder if I am just another person contributing to the problem. More so, I am wondering if I can really follow Christ in the suburbs. White Flight Here in America, we have a phenomenon known as “white flight.” It is the somewhat obvious fact that whenever an area starts to have problems with poverty or social integration, the solution to those with resources is to, well, leave. This “flight out of harm’s way” removes the ability for money to flow across economic and social classes, making the poor even poorer. The suburbs are an unofficial “boundary” keeping out those without the money to afford the price of entry. Segregated Community While there aren’t any more laws keeping us apart, we are doing a great job of it on our own. Within 10 miles of my house are FIVE megachurches with huge university-like campuses, the parking lots of which are their own satire of suburban life, looking like a SUV dealership. Within the churches, are a sea of people...

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I hear the sharpening of pitchforks…

I stumbled upon this article on Politico.com a few weeks ago and it really caught my attention. Titled ‘The Pitchforks are coming for us Plutocrats’ it takes the form of an open letter from Seattle-based entrepreneur Nick Hanauer to his fellow 0.1% ‘proud and unapologetic capitalists.’ While it definitely applies to the super rich, I believe there is something there in principle for all of us who fall into the marginally rich [as in reading this article on a computer or phone] to take heed of. In the article, Nick shares a little of how he managed to get super rich by anticipating the success of the internet before it was huge and investing in one of his friends and a little idea that became Amazon.com and then he shares some of his observances about present times and circumstances: But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all – I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks. At the...

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Do Christians Really Need to Be Poor To Follow Christ?

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. – Luke 16:13 (ESV) Many of the heroes and Saints of Christianity are known for their intentional poverty. For some, like Mother Theresa and St. Francis, it was as serious as taking a vow. For others, such as George Mueller, they just kept refusing wealth. Most of us can recall the story of the Rich Young Man, where Jesus says, “sell all that you have… and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21) Because of all this, Christians often struggle and wonder, “Do Christians really need to be poor in order to follow Christ?” To answer this, we need to look at the purpose behind choosing to be poor. The Freedom to Serve Others We all have to make choices in life and prioritize our decisions. Sadly, the priority which usually rises to the top is the need to make money. While money is not the most important thing in the world, neither is oxygen, but you kinda need both to live. Because of this almost all of us, at one point or another, trade off our principles and youthful ideals to appease those writing our...

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Blessed are the Poor [as long as you keep them away from me!]

I could not believe this article when I read it. But it seemed legit and so I started writing this Two Cents piece. But then I realised that both the sources I had were from the same source which was called Gawker.com which sounded a little potentially dubious and so I did a typical ‘Name of site/Hoax’ search and saw the words  ‘Gawker’ and ‘Scam’ and so figured I had been caught and so deleted the whole thing with a sigh of relief that I had avoided sharing the story and then finding out I had gotten it wrong. But then something in me made me check myself and I did a google search for the original premise of the story and found that there actually were multiple sites reporting on it and so this ‘dreadful hoax’ does in fact seem to be a more dreadful truth. The article, ‘Outrage over Separate Doors for Rich and Poor in Manhattan High-Rise’ sums up the story like this, In an effort to secure tax breaks and other building allowances as part of New York City’s Inclusionary Housing Program, Extell Development Company has offered to set aside some 55 Affordable Housing units for low-income families inside the 274-unit luxury tower it is constructing in the Upper West Side. The “catch” being that 40 Riverside Boulevard will...

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When my Helping has Hurt – a shared post of Sarah Binos

  Sarah Binos is the Executive Director of the Common Ground church initiative and non-profit known as ‘Common Good’ – she wrote this article ‘4 Common giving mistakes I’ve made’ on the Common Good blog page and you should totally go and read the full article, but here are some excerpts which stood out for me.   Instead of giving you a blueprint for giving – because there isn’t one! – here are some of the mistakes I’ve made in the area of giving. Hopefully this will equip others not to do the same! Mistake #1 I haven’t prioritised building relationships enough as I try to live out Christ’s call to do justice My friend explained how much it would have meant if her donor had been more like a distant aunt – who checked in with her occasionally and saw her as a person with hopes and dreams as opposed to a project. Mistake #2 In my attempt to “fix things”, I’ve communicated that “I am the adult and you are the child” Instead of engaging, asking insightful questions and giving the person I hope to bless the space to process and think through a way forward, I present a quick solution with a whole lot of uninvited advice. This can communicate the idea that I’m wiser, and...

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