What is money?

Really it’s just a tool — a means to an end in a fiscally fueled culture. But, unlike people and life, time and joy, thought and freedom, it lacks any inherent value at all.

 

Yet how does it so easily ensnare us? Is it the perceived status or a safety net? Is it the potential to do and experience more or a facade of sophistication?

Why is it this hindrance that is weighty against our mission to pursue God?

I believe that God can bless us through money, and that we can bless others through money. But there are sinister strings attached. That sneaky sense of entitlement and reward, that cultivated spark that grows into an insatiable blaze of greed.

For now, my macro-intentions are good. I want to work hard and get out of debt fast, so I can live frugally and be generous. Travel and be free. But the immediate gratification of online shopping is pyrite. I hate real shopping, which perhaps fuels the glided glint of perceived avoidance. And my credit card will pay for it, which distances me from the tension of purchasing with real, hard-earned money. Money which equals hours of challenges and tears, unfair arguments and getting hung up on. Hours of petty drama and prickly personalities. And when I think about it like that, even Groupon feels cheap and stale, wasteful and frivolous.

But there are horseback riding lessons. And a chiropractor. And pearls. And somehow those feel like needs.

Everything breaks. Even us. I need to be more aware of that.

 

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Why Butcher Novels with Film Adaptations?

Reading. Writing. Spying.

“The subject of reading, of absorbing and interpreting, of assimilating the book’s narrative into the narrative of our lives, becomes inextricable from the text. There are schools of literary theory that focus, with varying degrees of complexity, on reader response and the “event” of reading. But the underlying concept is simple. Reading isn’t passive absorption; it’s an active rewriting based on who you are, where you are, how old you are and, possibly, whether or not it rained that morning. […]

The question remains: Why reduce these novels that grow so much bigger than their 1,000-odd pages into 2 1/2-hour movies, plays and ballets?

In her 1926 essay The Cinema, Virginia Woolf is obsessed with this problem. In reference to some of the earliest film adaptations of Anna Karenina, Woolf considers how strange it is to see someone else’s face imposed on a character that “the brain knows almost entirely…

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Time Travel on Facebook

“If I ever needed a reason to read and write stories, it is this: they explode the moments, magnify the minutiae and put some meat on the bones of our lives. Between youth and endings, tragic or not, we are more than our milestones, births, marriages, deaths.”

The Green Study

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I’ve written before about my aversion to some social media. Besides the conspicuous consumption of time, Facebook is how I found out that my best friend from 5th grade had lost the use of both her legs and arms in a car accident. Which led me to a search where I found out that another classmate and her brother were both dead in their early 40s. It was jarring and traumatic. These faces, frozen in my mind’s eye, were young and healthy and living happy lives in some far off world. Anything beyond that failed to reach my imagination.

When I was in my teens, we moved to a house, town and school far away from where I’d grown up. It was, in reality, only about 40 miles away, but rural miles. No public transportation or extra family car or cell phone plans to keep in touch with old…

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The Educated Eater

This is a good reminder. Our struggle is not against ignorance, but against the external forces and desperation that fuel convenience and cheapness.

Fat Heffalump

Recently I was part of a conversation on Facebook about the concept of fat tax/junk food tax/whatever you want to call it.  The current food being demonised is sugar, and this particular conversation was about a proposed sugar tax in New Zealand, but I’m pretty sure that wherever you are has had something similar in the not too distant past.

A lot of the conversation centred on how taxing any particular food is over-intervention by the government, however it ended up in the territory of possible ways to get people to eat “healthier”.  As always, there’s a faint air of moralisation around even the most well meaning conversation about improving people’s general eating habits – the old binaries of fresh/processed, healthy/unhealthy, junk-fast/”real” are ever present, as though food is somehow either all good or all bad, which no food ever is.  Foods have varying levels of usefulness/nutrition/substance to every person. …

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This Temporary Life.

I bought a camera. and I am feeling ambivalent.

The earth is beautiful, and I want to be a person who finds and appreciates all of the tiny things that may be overlooked.

So in some ways it seems like a natural progression to want to be able to document my discoveries in a sustainable, sharable way.

But the more I think about it, it feels like I am stifling the glory, cheapening the awe by trying to make a collection of inferior copies. What picture can truly capture the splendor of a sunrise? Even if the quality is enough to capture the splashy yet deliberate palate of hues in the sky, what picture can retain the sleepy joy of the birds welcoming the morning? The pregnant damp of dew in the breeze, the gradual purr of engine and city coming to life.

And I don’t want to miss that. I don’t want a shred of my attention to be diverted. I don’t want to mess with camera settings and angles when at best, the results are still 2-D.

I love the people in my life. But I don’t want to sacrifice a second of my time with them to capture how we look. I am in love with their souls, their kindred spirits, and it feels cheap to steal a precious second so that we can broadcast it on social media.

So I have a camera. But I don’t want to use it.

Unless it’s to take pictures of things I don’t really like that aren’t that important to me.

Then it will be perfect!

I have really cool friends.

Sometimes I am just blown away by how awesome my friends are.

They have passion and drive to do incredible things, and they are making their dreams happen.

They love harder and more completely than anyone I know.

They are brave and confident, intelligent and wise.

They work hard and have honesty and integrity.

They learn from mistakes and are moving forward.

They love the same God, and we are kindred in spirit.

They love the world and adventure, travel and culture.

They know my crazy, foolish side and appreciate me regardless.

They listen and advise, share memories and secrets.

Everyday, I get closer to who I want to be because of my friendships with them and I will never ever stop being grateful for that.