Christians in the Marketplace

This book (4th edition) was published in 1986. Like Jake has been saying, we don’t really read much in this time period. Books from the 70s and 80s are not quite old enough to be classics, but not new enough to be well-read. Jake got this book from a Mennonite couple while he was spending the past year in Oklahoma. The cover is cheesy, but since it looked to make a good work-out book (i have certain qualifications that these books must meet before I take them on the bike/elliptical/stair-stepper with me), I decided to give it a shot.

And I’m glad I did. It was really good! Nothing new and earth-shattering, but it made me love Bill all the more. This was written in his early days, and he was still as humble and loving as he is now. He talked about reflecting God in the workplace through work ethic, being a prophet, using money with the kingdom in mind (2 chapters!), being careful about your schedule, and not being a workaholic.

Probably the 2 chapters I liked the most was “Scheduling for Sanity” and “The Christian Consumer”. I really cannot get enough exhortation about the need to have a sane schedule (not doing every “good” thing that comes our way), and also not being a consumer. He speaks a lot to advertising– being very aware of what people are trying to sell us (ALL THE TIME), and not falling into that. He talks about spending on things that you need, and then spending a significant portion of the rest of your money on other people around you (or saving it so you can spend it later on things you or other people need). He talks about how if someone makes $12,000 a year, they will spend $12,000 a year. And if someone makes $120,000 a year, they will spend $120,000 a year.

The BIGGEST thing from this chapter though, was that we, as communities of faith, should be VERY OPEN about talking about money. Currently, it’s unheard of to talk about how much one makes, or how much one gives away, or asking why people chose to spend their money on such and such. He encourages Christians to be open with their budgets, how much they make, and how they are giving.

I was thinking about the time I confessed this huge thing to a friend of mine, and after I did, I felt a ton better and the sin lost it’s hold on me? Why? God clearly communicated to me that it was because I brought it out of the dark. Things exposed to the light lose it’s power over our lives. My extrapolation of this is what if we were more open about our money? Would the greed and selfishness and unthoughtfulness of how we spend our money be lessened in our lives? I’m not sure! But I want to find out.

Soooooo, in clear step with the Holy Spirit as our guide, Jake and I are opening up our finances for the world to see. Yikes! I’m nervous. But it’s okay. I don’t want this to topic of money to be a taboo anymore. I know I can’t change the world in this, but I can change my own behavior, and hopefully this will encourage others to not be afraid to talk about money in their communities of faith. And since only my friends read this, ya’ll are certainly a part of my community of faith. So, if you ever see anything on here that concerns you, let us know. We’re open to be held accountable in this. We want to live in the light. Always.

Here’s our financial spreadsheet. I’ve started keeping track of our finances as of january 2007. This is every penny that comes in and goes out of our bank account.