The UNkingdom of God

The UNkingdom of God

Holistic, Resource Review
By Mark Van Steenwyk, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2013 Mark is founder and pastor of Mennonite Worker, a small intentional community (commune) in a poorer neighborhood of Minneapolis. The second and fourth chapters of Acts portray the church after Pentecost as a community of radical simplicity and sharing. While not evident much in the rest of the New Testament, and while always a minority position, this model of community has a persistent presence throughout the history of Jesus-followers, including the Mennonite Worker community today. The book, parts of it autobiographical, is about Mark’s understanding of what it means to follow Jesus here and now. Mark will make you uncomfortable. To give you a flavor of the book, here are some quotes: “Our entire way of life depends on this pursuit…
Read More
Kids, Money & Values: Creative Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

Kids, Money & Values: Creative Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

Children, Resource Review
Patricia Schiff Estess and Irving Barocas, Betterway Books, 1994 It’s no surprise that Kids, Money & Values is still in print: it gives practical ideas and exercises for parents and other adults to use with children. Authors Estess and Barocas first present a developmental chart of usual interests, skills and abilities of children from preschool age to the early teens as they relate to arithmetic, money, property, and honesty issues. Next they invite readers to answer a quiz about their own goals for the children they have in mind. Each chapter presents a scenario, then discusses different options for adult response to the child. Topics range from parenting and passing on values, to earning, saving and investing; and from spending, sharing and caring, to making responsible choices. Allowances can help…
Read More
Simple Rules for Money: John Wesley on Earning, Saving, & Giving

Simple Rules for Money: John Wesley on Earning, Saving, & Giving

Resource Review, Simple Living
James A. Harnish, Abingdon Press, 2009 In Simple Rules for Money, James Harnish offers Methodist founder John Wesley’s guidelines for financial living, still strikingly appropriate for us today. “Wesley’s rules are not about fund-raising for the church,” he states. “They are about practicing the spiritual discipline of generosity so that we become generous people whose lives are shaped in the likeness of an extravagantly generous God.” In this small book, individuals or study groups can delve into Wesley’s admonition to “gain [or earn] all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” With help from the included discussion questions, it prompts readers to realign their daily habits. Earn all you can, says Harnish, but not by harming your health, hurting your neighbor, or damaging your soul. Work at…
Read More
be thrifty…not cheap: How to Live Better with Less

be thrifty…not cheap: How to Live Better with Less

Resource Review, Simple Living
Edited by Pia Catton and Califia Suntree, Workman Publishing, New York, NY, 2010 Want a practical guide for living the simple life? Try reading be thrifty* (…not cheap!). The book’s subtitle summarizes the content beautifully: How to Live Better with Less. It even provides a little help by embedding a brand new penny in the front cover! In the introductory chapter, the editors point out that the noun thrift is derived from the verb thrive. This book is not a guide about how to live on the cheap. Rather it is a great resource for learning to thrive using the resources available to us. To be sure, the book is thoroughly secular. There are no references to faith or God. So, if you are looking for a practical daily living…
Read More
The Power of Enough: Finding Contentment by Putting Stuff in Its Place

The Power of Enough: Finding Contentment by Putting Stuff in Its Place

Resource Review, Simple Living
By Lynn Miller, MMA, Evangel Press, 2003 In his book, The Power of Enough, Lynn Miller teaches the importance of being satisfied with enough. Guided by biblical principles, Miller writes from the Anabaptist cultural perspective that has historically valued simplicity. Miller explains in theological, philosophical, and practical ways how individuals can consider their relationship with money and how to take a healthy perspective within a North American culture that values the newer, bigger, and better. He makes even the most theological passages approachable with his casual, personal storytelling style. Instead of telling readers that money is bad or that they should deny themselves, Miller emphasizes a measured attitude toward money and things that leaves a person satisfied because they have “neither too little nor too much.” The book includes study…
Read More
A No-Price Yard Sale

A No-Price Yard Sale

General
The T-shirts said, “Will Starve for Food.” Every member of the youth group wore one during their World Vision 30-Hour Famine lock-in. We were fasting together, 30 hours with nothing but juice, to heighten our understanding of world hunger and deepen our commitment to God’s justice. We hit on a fundraising idea that empowered our kids to raise over $1,100 for World Vision. We held a giant yard sale on the church property, with one major departure from the norm: there were no prices. “Pay what you like,” our signs proclaimed. “All proceeds reduce world hunger.” Church members brought us their stuff, glad for the opportunity to clean out a closet or garage. (Some of them had just completed a Lenten study about de-cluttering their lives.) Early Saturday morning we…
Read More