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
Free: Spending Your Time and Your Money on What Matters Most

Free: Spending Your Time and Your Money on What Matters Most

Resource Review, Simple Living
Mark Scandrette, InterVarsity Press, 2013 Free: Spending Your Time and Your Money on What Matters Most is a refreshing mix of theory and practice, filled with stories from the experience of the author and his family without saying everybody has to answer the questions or to live in the same way. Scandrette notes his hopes for the readers of the book: take steps to become free to spend time and money on what matters most. Based on three core beliefs—that we were created to seek the greater good of God’s kingdom, that we have enough, and that we can make intentional choices about how we spend our time and money, the book’s chapters include practical and thought-provoking exercises, tasks, and experiments, including: naming what matters most to you; valuing and…
Read More
Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity

Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity

Giving, Money management, Resource Review, Simple Living
Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity is a great guide for making personal money decisions. It is also well suited for a group study exploring money dynamics or for creating personal financial plans and strategies. In a concise writing, Adam Hamilton explores how a life lived in concert with God’s good intentions is blessed through living simply with generosity toward God and neighbor. Drawing deeply from scripture to highlight themes and illustrate points, he puts forward an easily adopted outline for living an abundant life. In a concise writing, Adam Hamilton explores how a life lived in concert with God’s good intentions is blessed through living simply with generosity toward God and neighbor. Drawing deeply from scripture to highlight themes and illustrate points, he puts forward an easily adopted…
Read More
Money and Faith: The Search for Enough

Money and Faith: The Search for Enough

Resource Review, Simple Living, Workbook
Edited and compiled by Michael Schut, Morehouse Publishing, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-8192-2327-2 This book is crammed with mind- and heart-stretching quotes like this one from Walter Brueggemann: The central problem of our lives is that we are torn apart by the conflict between our attraction to the good news of God’s abundance and the power of our belief in scarcity—a belief that makes us greedy, mean, and unneighborly. We spend our lives trying to sort out that ambiguity. This marvelous anthology of short articles—none more than twelve pages—by theologians (e.g., Ched Meyers, Sallie McFague, Henri Nouwen) and others (e.g., Bill McKibben, Dave Barry, Lester Brown) is designed to help us answer the question, “How much is enough?” Through most of human history, “more”—that is, “growth”—has meant better. That is no longer…
Read More
Swimming Upstream: Reflections on Consumerism and Culture

Swimming Upstream: Reflections on Consumerism and Culture

Resource Review, Simple Living
By Christine Roush, Design Group International, 2009, ISBN: 978-160844-020-7 Christine Roush asks if the Christians we know are different than non-Christians with regard to their perspectives on things such as clothes, cars, housing, saving, credit use, entertainment, divorce, and concern for the environment. She then proceeds to show through her own experience as well as through the stories of others how easily we are all enticed to practice materialistic and high-consumption behaviors. Each of twelve brief chapters guides the reader to understand how these behaviors have been adopted. Roush offers questions for reflection, options for action, referrals to further information, and an illustrative story. This approach makes the book a good resource for small-group discussions and for conversations around the dinner table at home. Roush concludes by naming the church’s…
Read More
Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Resource Review, Simple Living
by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (Penguin Books, 1992) Review by Dave Klumpp, stewardship resourcer for the Arkansas/Oklahoma Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Why review a thirteen-year-old book from an essentially secular source for a religious audience? Good things endure. Reading this book and writing a “money autobiography” were my most helpful experiences when I signed on to become a resource person for stewardship. If you haven't read this book and put your own “house in order,” it's time you did. Joe Dominguez was a successful financial analyst on Wall Street before retiring at age thirty-one. This book grew out of workshops he and Vicki Robin conducted around the country to help people move toward financial intelligence, integrity, and independence. Debunking the “more is better” myth, they…
Read More
The Art of Debt-Free Living: Living Large on Less Than You Earn

The Art of Debt-Free Living: Living Large on Less Than You Earn

Money management, Resource Review, Simple Living
By Deborah J. Nayrocker (Winepress Publishing, 2005) Review by Michael Meier, associate executive for mission support for the Synodical Relations unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This is one of the better books available to help Christians with personal money management. It is accessible, practical, and encouraging, and it includes a number of helpful tables and worksheets. Nayrocker begins with a brief description of the current culture's financial realities and pitfalls. She then discusses roadblocks to becoming debt-free. After describing the benefits of debt-free living, the author invites the reader to do a financial self-analysis and to develop a manageable plan for getting on the right track. She emphasizes following through to achieve debt-free living. One chapter eloquently makes the case for giving and generosity. This book encourages…
Read More
Time Warped: First-Century Time Stewardship for Twenty-First-Century Living

Time Warped: First-Century Time Stewardship for Twenty-First-Century Living

Resource Review, Simple Living, Stewardship, Workbook
by Steve Ganger (Herald Press, 2004) Review by Leonard Dale, stewardship specialist for the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Steve Ganger believes that being good stewards of our time brings us closer to God. His book emphasizes holistic stewardship, which looks at the interconnectedness of relationships, money, health, talents, and time. One of the challenges for busy modern day people is the appropriate use of the time God has given. Time Warped looks at society's inclination toward busyness and offers practical steps for seeking God's wholeness. No one who keeps a schedule, has a PDA, or looks for free time in their daybook can argue with the principles Steve Ganger lifts up. Less is more, balance is normal, the tyranny of time, the real meaning of rest…
Read More