20 February 2012 ~ 6 Comments

Buying Gas

When I was a kid I thought my dad (an accountant) was such a cheapskate.  Whenever we wanted something new, we were encouraged to check the outlet store first.  Generic soda and other generic groceries were a part of our kitchen.  And my dad always knew where the cheapest gas in town was, and usually timed his stops there perfectly to not go out of the way for gas.

We talked about money growing up, but watching and participating in saving, budgeting, and splurging once in a while learned is where the magic happened. I learned about money.  The teaching was both intentional and unintentional.  I saw the results of my parent’s practices in the results of their lives, and the lessons were internalized.

As I read chapter two I was struck by how un-natural some of the conversations the authors set up seemed.  I don’t know that I would start where they started, or use the same language.  However, I do think that when we can speak God/faith into everyday matters such as fights with friends or team tryouts, we are creating sticky faith.  I think we need to be intentional about this, and it needs to happen so often and we need to live it in a way that the intentional moments are a reflection of the unintentional moments.

I’m not sure what this looks like or sounds like (though I think it sounds different than the authors portray).  I think each family has it’s own language, but naming God and words like Trust are powerful, even if they do feel uncomfortable.

More than a transaction

I used to help lead a retreat with a group of youthleaders, twice a year- one for jr. high and one for high school.  I was the new kid on the block, so I was never on the inner circle that helped plan the theme or the big “spiritual” stuff.  After a few years I notices something about our themes.  Every year, every theme had something to do with a newness, and the big spiritual moments where focused on Jesus dying for our sins, and we are now to live differently.  The theme was always about the “transaction” of Jesus paying for our sins, but gave little tools on how to respond.

We could communicate the forgiveness of sins really well, but living the life of a disciple was never articulated at this retreat.

I think this is an area that the Episcopal church (generally) has some advantage.  I would say that we have articulated what a faith looks like at moments besides “mountain top” experiences.  The sacraments are a regular part of our lives and worship.  Serving others, not for the sake of righteousness for the sake of serving others, is a big part of who we are.  Funerals and grief are topics that we’re comfortable with and something that is a regular part of the church’s ministry.

We have a rich faith to share, and our kids are learning from it.  What do you think?  Are we (as a church, church culture, youth ministry) doing enough naming as we live?  Are we talking about saving money while we save money on gas or are we just dragging our kids across town to the cheap gas and not explaining why?

NEW exercise:

We’re a group.  We go to church together, we care about our kids, we love Jesus, we’ve got a lot in common.  Let’s try to do a little personal sharing in addition to talking ideas.  This week please include the best part of your week and the most challenging part of your week so the group can remember you in prayer and celebrate with you.  (obviously, this is in the internet, so keep it web appropriate- as if your boss were reading this).

Feel free to respond to the questions in the back of the book, my thoughts above, or in some other unguided way.


6 Responses to “Buying Gas”

  1. Andy 20 February 2012 at 7:06 pm Permalink

    My high this week was simply being back in town and having everyone healthy again (colds, etc.). We had a remarkably normal week which was nice for once.

    My low this week was Thursday, when I had a marathon handyman day around the house and sat down at the end of the day and it didn’t feel like the list got any shorter. We have a lot of work to do on our house…

  2. Angie 20 February 2012 at 9:36 pm Permalink

    There are times when I catch myself doing something, and I stop and think “I sound just like my mom.” I would feel so blessed if my children found themselves looking to God for answers or guidance in their daily lives and realized that they “sound” just like me. Unfortunately, because I don’t always provide that model, I think communication about my faith journey is important. I agree with Andy that the language used in the book is not the language I would choose, but I think it is vital for my kids to hear me say “I trust God in this” or to actually see me in the act.

    Highs and lows…my high this week was a beautiful religious ceremony for children of some friends. My low was missing my sister and her family who’ve recently moved to Japan.

  3. Christi 22 February 2012 at 1:16 am Permalink

    I have trouble with the “trust God” as I like to be the one in control. This chapter reminds me that I need to let God be in control, and me be the trusting follower. Terrific reminder. Use the word trust with our children, as Angie said. It is easier for me to model an “external” Christian and act on my faith than to show the “internal” trusting in God in the midst of uncertainty. As westerners, we are much more external and extroverted and internal, so perhaps this is our culture put into play. (Visit the far east or study the far eastern religions and there is a cultural shift.)

    Also, I continue to appreciate Beth’s point from last week that as parents we need to articulate or explain why we are making certain decisions. Connecting the dots for our kids. We choose to go to church to live out our faith in community, we make snack bags with the Edge to help children in need because they are made in the image of God, just as we are.

    Highs and lows — watching my son carry the cross for the first time at ESD chapel and photographing him with Fr. Harmuth, who baptized him 5 years ago. Seeing that relationship continue is priceless.

    Lows — balancing my career with my role as mom of 3 and wife. Often feeling overwhelmed, particularly from 5:00-7:00 in the afternoon before Cory arrives home.

  4. Greg 22 February 2012 at 5:26 pm Permalink

    Obedience and trust: I really like this topic because it gets to the core of who we are as believers. Our friends in other denominations are encouraged to learn that these terms have a particular order – but I am not so sure Episcopalians see a particular order in scripture. I think God works in us 1)any way He can, and 2) any way we will allow Him. Sometimes it is an orderly working and sometimes it is messy. Compare the order of Baptism and the coming of the Holy Spirit in Matt 3:13-17 and Acts 10:44-48. Obedience and trust are deep threads in both of these stories.

    I think how we can also see this lived out in our church is in our behavior as a community. As a thought experiment, try this: If we really believed…really trusted that Jesus was the Way, would our common lives be different? Would it influence our church attendance and our giving? How would that core belief show up in the way we use our parental authority – allowing our kids to have activities that impact their church attendance? Would we not attend more to our religious education and that of our kids if we really thought eternity was on the line?

    If we can step back and assess the “sticky” consequences of our choices – we might be able to see encouragement in hard questions of trust and obedience.

    Philippians 3:20 gives that our citizenship is in another country – heaven. It makes sense that believers are required modify our behaviors so we may align our actions with that truth.

    This book is a good way to at least examine our choices as believers and parents.

    For my high – I have to say the Preschool Ash Wed. service today. The low that is and has been keeping me down is my need to do house chores and not making the time to do them.

  5. Noralyn 25 February 2012 at 11:32 pm Permalink

    I think we can have those natural conversations about God in the family community – making them natural comes from how comfortable I am at the time. Sometimes I am trying to make “my point” and then the conversation is stilted or pushy. When I think about what God wants me to say it comes much more naturally, but also if I let God speak through me without over analyzing everying. Moving in to conversations about clothes, makeup…. all sorts of teen angst. Some of the earlier discussions we’ve had about modesty, bodies and beauty have laid the groundwork to easier “no(s)” and a willingness to hear the “no”. I pray that how we talk now about choices and God’s perspective on our choices will continue to help in future – tougher – conversations.
    I am enjoying these conversations!
    Low this week: unhappy co-workers. High this week: “Date night” with my husband and “girls-day” shopping with my daughter. We lead full lives with work and activities… so important to take time together.

  6. Christina 29 February 2012 at 10:21 pm Permalink

    I know this is late but I am keeping up with the reading. Last weeks was nutty. That was the low. Abigail was having a blast in the play that was the high.
    Trusting is God is something I am learning to do more and more as I walk in the doors of SMAA. One of the most amazing things about Dallas for me is SMAA. I have learned and truly begun to appreciate that trusting in God and letting go is a process. Greg I liked that you said God works in us in three ways. One is truly anyway we allow him. I am beginning to grow in the allowing part. I am noticing daily how God is at work with and in my children. It is still very hard to let go. As the book states “In life and in faith , growth is a process” I would love to have it all figured out.
    Also I do notice that as the chapter stated “often we talk about the everyday issues of life in a way that leaves Christ in the corner of the room or even outside.” Growing up as a cradle Episcopalian, Christ was not in the room of the conversations about everyday life. This is a new concept to me even as a parent. I am finding the idea to be quite comforting. Knowing and believing that Christ is not only in the room now but always has been. What a great thing to notice and talk about.
    I am loving this book. Thank you to all that are participating in these conversations.

Leave a Reply