I'll never look at a $20 bill the same way again

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You never know the meaning of money until it's in short supply.

I remember the shock I felt one day. We'd been paying our basic bills on credit, a while after Dad lost his job.

So that day I overheard a girl talk about a great deal she found at a salon where she had French nails done.

"It only cost $20," she said to another girl, who seemed impressed.

My jaw hit the floor because at that time $20 was a fortune to my family. It could've bought healthy groceries, or gas for our car, or heat for our home. (One winter we kept the heat so low, our house felt like a fridge.)

Since then I've learned how easily we middle-class folk throw our money into non-essentials while others quietly exist in want.

I want to be more mindful of how I use my money and what it's value really is. What's pocket change to us might mean the world to another family who's fallen into hard times.

So I've tried to change my spending habits, and sort of see them in the bigger picture. I ask myself twice if I really need the item, or whether the 'sale' is really a good deal after all.

And I'll never look at a $20 bill the same way again.

Jesus Christ is far too generous

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"The God revealed in Jesus Christ is far too generous. He gives His all in love for others, and expects us to do the same. Such a God is too demanding for most Christians.

"They want one that only requires a tithe. They sing about total self-giving, but in the end they would like to sing, 'One-tenth to Jesus I surrender, one-tenth to Him I gladly give—I surrender one-tenth, I surrender one-tenth.'

"Ultimately, they want a God who declares as an abomination all of those who offend their social mores. They don’t like the God who touches lepers, embraces Samaritans, declares women equals, and has the audacity to say to gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals, 'Whosoever will may come.'

"They don’t like the God that is revealed in those red letters of the Bible because Him embraces those whom they want to reject."

- Tony Campolo

Shades of Red

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We had a house full of friends and family with us yesterday and over dinner someone mentioned Tony Campolo's book, "Red Letter Christians." Immediately, one person replied, "communist Christians?" and someone else thought the title referred to the red light district. Funny how the phrase 'red letter' instantly brings up different associations for people!

Well, here's the actual book, for anyone who may be curious and hasn't heard about it:

The term "red letter" is a reference to Bibles where Jesus' words are printed in red ink, so basically it refers to his teachings.

And here's the gist of Red Letter Christians; it's a quote from the inside flap of the book:
I want it to be known that there are millions of us who espouse an evangelical theology, but who reject being classified as part of the Religious Right. We don’t want to make Jesus into a Republican. On the other hand, we want to say loud and clear that we don’t want to make Jesus in a Democrat, either. ...But Jesus refuses to fit into any of our political ideologies.
If you've read it, what did you think? I'd love to hear your take on it.

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