Thinking through financial freedom, Part 2 (The Original)

NOTE: Although edited to make sense with the actually-published first part, this is in fact the original post.

The fact of the matter is Lexi and I have financial freedom. Although we may not have this luxury forever with future investments, kids, etc, we have always been able to maintain our comfortability no matter what our needs and subsequent financial status, probably in part to our general frugality. We honestly don’t make all that much money between the two of us, but we also live in a place that has a low cost of living, which translates to lower real estate costs, lower gas prices, and lower overall food prices.

In embarking on the Lenten Compact, Lexi and I realized that if we added up all the food-based expenditures we have from month to month, we don’t spend that much, not even reaching the monthly maximum in our most hectic months. We contemplated how to deal with the Lenten Compact, then, to make it more of a challenge, but that is not the point of Lent. We are, as previously stated, simply planning to donate the amount we spend during the Lenten season.

However, financial freedom is a burden and an idol over time because what you end up with is the ability to think less about where you spend your money; this is the point of the compact! In fact, the Lenten Compact is always about rethinking our relationship to the content, as well as content needs and spending habits, only the content changes from year to year. As a minimalist, I strive to spend less money on things I don’t need in the attempt to save for quality in those things I do need. Food should be the same way. I will attempt to share some of my Lenten Compact recipes on this site to show just how easy a cheap but healthy meal can be, perhaps with the help of my favorite recipe app, Basil; again, financial freedom is a relevant idea in every facet of life, even in the app purchase process.

Financial freedom, as a concept, was initially brought back to my full attention last week, as Lexi and I had car trouble. Both cars went into the shop and one had a long list of plausible repairs to have done. Though we did not venture to perform all of the repairs, we were able to write-off a few of them as necessary, put our credit card down, and move on with life. Many in this country do not have this liberty and a nail in one’s tire means they are out of work, out of food, and, at times, out of options.

This year’s compact has brought an interesting problem about, one about which neither I nor my wife gave much thought. My birthday lands the weekend before Easter. We would normally be able to go out for dinner, which would more than likely mean a drastic bill. Instead, we are unable to partake in such a ritual, even though we have the financial freedom to do it. This sacrifice will more than likely hit the point of the compact home more than any other situation we encounter during the compact timeframe. A low-key lunch with the family will just have to be enough.

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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.