Monday, November 01, 2010

Adam Hamilton: "Enough": Christians, stewardship, and financial planning

Author: Adam Hamilton

Title: "Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity"

Publication: Nashville, Abingdon Press, 2010; 110 pages, paper. ISBN 978-1-426-70233-4

The Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington has been selling this little book for a stewardship class, and in the fall most congregations hear a lot about stewardship. That’s been especially true since the financial collapse of 2008.

It’s not hard to imagine the arguments against consumerism and materialism. The author goes into a few of the “seven deadly sins”. And there’s no question that the Financial Crisis was fueled in some part by the gullibility of many consumers, who, following a herd mentality, were duped by unregulated banks into believing they could get a lot of house for nothing.

But this book doesn’t repeat Suze Orman’s lessons on financial discipline (valuable as they are). It is also prescriptive against careless consumption even by those not in particular financial trouble or debt (either credit cards or mortgage).

It maintains that a financial plan starts with a tithe first. I once (in the 1980s) heard Rev. Don Eastman at the old MCC Dallas (before the Cathedral of Hope) answer a question about before or after –tax tithe: “Do you want a before tax or after tax blessing?”

But consumerism is a relative thing. For some people, consumption of media or technology related items or even entertainment gets turned in to income (think about people who write Facebook applications and make a good living at it, or think about professional musicians). Many such individuals have to deal with the whole issue of gadgetry vs. family time, too.

Picture: From Jon Stewart's Rally:

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