Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A step in the right direction

An earlier post of mine that concerned my desire to see our culture, and more importantly, our synod and church culture, move in a more frugal direction made a few people angry. But again, I find frugality a difficult concept for any Christian to attack. Not rushing like a lemming to join the secular world's commercial crash-and-burn into debt, materialism, and greed seems to be a common thread that runs through the Scriptures themselves.

But even apart from the concept of Christian stewardship, the ideas of self control, moderation, savings, delayed gratification, the wise use of resources, and plain old fashioned thrift just make good sense from a purely economic standpoint as well - especially as the dollar continues its downward spiral, the price of crude oil continues to skyrocket, politicians of every political stripe promise bigger and bigger government, and the world of mortgages and banking continue to be on edge.

Of course, frugality doesn't mean being a miser. Rather it means that when you do spend money, it is wisely, it is based on budgetary constraints, and it is not a matter of "I want it" and "I'll just charge it."

In the midst of my pessimism with the economy, I was encouraged to see that some young people are starting to see the writing on the wall, and are less subject to corporate manipulation that they "need" to have the latest and greatest expensive clothing. They are thinking for themselves and adopting a mindset of frugality and prioritization of resources. This shows maturity, and perhaps even the tremors of rebellion against the "youth culture" (which is, in fact, cporporate manipulation) that has contributed so much to the devastation of families - Christian families included.

Hopefully, this youthful experimentation with frugality and common sense will become a trend, and these young people won't repeat the mistakes of their big-spending "keep up with the Joneses" parents and grandparents.

Good for them!

1 comment:

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Here is the irony. In this sinful life we are more likely to be wise stewards of the things that are "ours". We can be frugal in what we eat, but if someone else is picking up the bill, if we are going to be reimbursed, if the District is putting it on - well, that's something different. Now we get to live high on the hog. If the government is going to be footing the bill, well, let's just spend, spend, spend - just tax someone other than me.

Yet what is the heart of Christian Stewardship? Precisely that - we are Stewards, and what we have is not fundamentally "ours" - but it is God's. God has delegated these things to us to be used (so no misers) responsibly and in service to others.

The world will spend what belongs to others freely while hording what it sees as belonging to itself. A Christian gives freely, but wisely, knowing that it all is of and from God - yet doesn't try to demand more of God.