Money Monday: Experimenting With Faith. Permission to Fail
Next week begins the Money Experiment-A Community Practice in Financial Simplicity, you may have noticed the new menu option that leads to the forum. Whether you're taking the money experiment or not, feel free to check it out and share your thoughts about money, time, faith, and all the other resources God has given us. The closer Money Experiment kickoff gets, the more neurotic I become. Several of the people signed up to go through the book and contribute their thoughts are the sort of people I look to for inspiration. I feel like a small fish in a big pond. I'm tempted to make success relative to my surroundings, which in this case means I've probably already failed. But it doesn't mean I'm giving up.
A few years ago I heard a man by the name of Mark VanSteenwyk speak at Rosedale Bible College's student chapel. Mark lives in a christian community in Minneapolis called Missio Dei, where I'm sure he daily has coffee and conversation with Rob Bell, John Piper, and Greg Boyd.... or not.
Mark is not a part of a strain of Christianity that most of you are probably familiar with. He recently wrote a book called That Holy Anarchist, a primer on Christian Anarchism (which I can assure you is probably a much different concept than you think). As I've facebook stalked Mark over the past few years he has impacted me with his love for Jesus and others in very real and practically active ways. The man loves Jesus. But the biggest impact Mark has had on my life was probably what he said at that chapel at RBC.
I remember nothing from that sermon with the exception of one point about experimenting with the manifestation of our faith. While discussing Jesus' call to the rich man to give all he had to the poor, the group at Missio Dei decided to see what would happen even if they only gave away half of what they had. What they realized was, even in their deep sacrifice they revealed their attachment to their 'stuff' as they decided which half of their things to give away. Giving away a hat for example was easy, but what about the iPod? Was this half of the money value of items, or simply by the number of items?
The thing I appreciated about this approach was that they were willing to detach themselves from the all or nothing mentality I so often tie myself to. They decided to work with what they had and where they were. As a result, they learned something and moved closer to Jesus.
This Money Experiment is the same sort of animal. Sometimes I'm going to jump in the deep end, but other times I'll probably wade out slowly. We need to give ourselves room to fail rather than giving up before we've even started.
During my final year in college I decided to get into the gym at least two times a week. While I did try to maintain some form of a workout routine, on the mornings that I told myself that an extra ten pounds might not be so bad, I gave myself permission to show up to the weight room only to leave after ten minutes. There were two or three of these in and out sessions, but more often than not, once I was there, I ended up putting in a vigorous workout.
So before I start the Money Experiment next week, I'm giving myself, and you, permission to fail –miserably.
Now that we've got that out of the way, we're free to try and maybe even change.
If you are taking the money experiment with us, check out the forum and maybe get things flowing with some opening thoughts. What excites/scares you about the Money Experiment? Even if you aren't buying the book and doing the experiments, feel free to stop in and leave your thoughts about others' experiences.