Aug 19, 2007

Fair Money

We went to the California State Fair today. It has become a tradition and Carolyn and I had set apart some money for the trip (it always seems to cost a lot more than we anticipate) and made sure it was in cash so we wouldn't be tempted to overspend. We loaded up the backpacks with healthy snacks, the Kleen Kanteens with water and headed off for a day of fun.
We had to park a LONNNNNG way from the gate and enjoyed the walk. On the way we passed a man who was just sitting down to pan-handle. Wyatt saw him first, "Dad, that man needs some money, do we have some to give him?"
"Yes, we do." I handed the man some of our fair money and had the pleasure of exchanging smiles with someone that often goes overlooked. As we walked away, I was able to praise my son for his willingness to give without a second thought. I told him that he was a very thoughtful person and that he should never think twice about giving to those in need, especially when others have excuses to not give. "There is never a good reason to not give to someone when you are able to, Wyatt."
Many of you have asked about what we have been reading, learning, and thinking over the past few months. Poverty has been the foremost on my mind. A little while back I read a book called The Irresistible Revolution, and it is just beginning to take hold of my daily actions...a little. (Check out the Author here) I wish more Christians thought and acted like the author of that book. Apparently, we have gone the way of zealots rather than radical lovers of God, people, and this world. It's no wonder that Jesus had a lot of nasty feelings for the religious leaders he ran into.
We will always have the poor. I'm beginning to understand that simplicity demands equality. If we remove the boarders of race, economics, or whatever; we are all on the same plane, and life is a lot less complex. We don't have to pretend, posture, ignore, or save face...we can just simply live, together. So poverty is a simple border to remove.
Let's all be honest with ourselves for a moment. If we are reading this blog, we have access to the internet and a computer...congratulations, we are richer than 90% of the world.
So, what can you afford to give? Only you can answer that question. But, let me finish my story before you go and figure it out.
We had a great day, we saw all of the livestock, petted a few animals, checked out a sustainable farming exhibit, ate cotton candy, ate some decent Thai food, walked a lot, and the kids each rode several carnival rides and even got a prize to take home. As we drove out of the parking lot I realized that we still had $8.00 left. Our entire day cost less than we had planned and we were able to give a very nice gift to a homeless man who needed it more than we did. It was a great day.


Caren said...

Matt, I'm psyched that you've read the Irresistible Revolution. Shane and his cohorts are friends or ours, and it is so encouraging to be part of a network of folks who are doing the Christian thing in new/old ways. I'm so not interested in much of what makes up status-quo Christianity these days, but the good news is that the margins of the faith are teeming with people living out the call of Christ in vibrant and refreshing ways. Please be encouraged in your journey, and know that you two are not alone in the questions you're asking/living.

Judy said...

I am so enjoying reading your journey. (And that book is on my list to read.)

We will always have the poor among us, because poverty isn't just ME having more than YOU. Having been in uncommon ministry among the "unlovely" I can tell you there is more to it. Knowing international politics I can tell you there is more to it. That doesn't mean we have to over-consume or neglect to give. The basis of living simply (hahahaha is there really such a thing? Only on Walden Pond I'm afraid---and notice he didn't have any children along!) is to focus on what's important...and what you are showing your kids is priceless!

My advice to you is to not be anxious about the future. You mentioned feelings of hopelessness in considering it. I recall those feelings as a young mom. Now I wish I hadn't wasted the energy. You can count on the fact that things change,WILL change! Seasons come and go. I spent a lot of time thinking I was waiting for something to happen, waiting for the future, when what was happening was all around me. I think you realize this, demonstrated for instance, by Carolyn using her artist abilities like she did. The studio can come later-"Be here now" as the saying goes.I know you get this, I'm just trying to cheer you on.
Lord bless you guys!