The Middle Class Entitlement Mentality has an interesting article about how certain things we deem “needs” more likely belong in the category “wants” or even “entitlements.” Jay McDonald writes, A lot of us in wealthy, overspending America are either born or raised with a tremendous sense of entitlement. We say to ourselves, ‘I work hard or, I work at a job I hate — at least I should be able to have a Starbucks coffee every day or eat out for lunch.’ But of course, those are not needs, they’re wants. They’re pleasures. A more theological treatment can be found here. Personally, about 10 years ago, I had been buried under a pile of credit card debt that took a lot of discipline to pay for. I wish I had this perspective during those childish years of plastic swiping foolishness. McDonald lists 12 things many Americans feel entitled to that can be a big…

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When College Costs More than a House

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. He knows a couple who is about to get married and who has a debt burden from college that exceeds $100,000 between the two of them. That’s a bad place to start a marriage. Are these Ivy League graduates or med school students? No. They’re graduating from Cedarville with degrees in education and English. To put it in perspective, my first home in Louisville cost my wife and I less than $100,000 and we mortgaged that amount for 30 years. Our monthly payment was around $850 per month. This makes perfect sense when you’re purchasing an asset that appreciates in value  over time, like a home. But that is a crazy amount to pay for degrees in education and English from a small Bible college. With this kind of sticker price, is this worth it? Most people go to…

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9 Years of Gas Price Increases has a helpful article tracking and attempting to explain how the price of gas went from 90 cents to $4 a gallon in around 9 years.

Give Until It Hurts

If every Christian is called to be generous with their resources, how much should we give? To what extent should we sacrifice? I am reading Tim Keller’s book Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road and he offers a helpful principle. “Be sure that your giving cuts into your own lifestyle so that the burden of the needy falls on you.” He is essentially arguing that if your giving habits do not alter your lifestyle in someway, you aren’t giving enough yet. You should give until you feel pinched. He also quotes another book by Thomas Gouge, who said that “the poor have a right unto part of thine estate.” God supplies some of us with abundance so that we can steward it properly by giving to meet others needs. Gouge says that the poor man’s bread rots in my cupboard, the poor man’s clothes hangs useless in…

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Race and the Evangelical Slavery Problem

Pop Quiz. First Question: Who are some of the most beloved figures of American Evangelicalism? Answer. Consider these names: Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Hodge. Great theologians and preachers all. Second Question: Even though most African American Christians believe in a generally evangelical theology, why do so few identify with evangelicalism as a broader movement? Answer. Consider these names: Jonathan Edwards (owned at least 6 slaves), George Whitefield (slave owner, fought for legalization of slavery in Georgie, used slave labor in his orphanage, bought 20+ slaves in his lifetime), Charles Hodge (defender of the slave trade). Also, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody and Billy Graham all preached to segregated audiences even while on some level denouncing the slave trade (source: The American Evangelical Story by Doug Sweeney). In other words, history shows us that white evangelical heroes of the American past have either outright participated in slavery or at least…

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More Help With the Mortgage Mess

The NY Times has a helpful article about the process leading up to the current financial mess in the housing markets.