Category: Money

Why We Let Our Friends Review Our Bank Account

The most radical thing about our family's tax return this year isn’t that we used it to pay off a student loan. Plenty of Americans use their refunds for that purpose. This tax season, those who get refunds will on average see an extra $2,800 in their bank accounts—a sum large enough to generate the annual news stories about how massive numbers of people will spend the cash. Plus, we’ve…  [more]

National Returns Day and the Consumer Liturgical Calendar

Any savvy consumer knows the shopper’s triduum of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the relatively recent addition of Green Monday. How many, though, have heard about National Returns Day? Last week, on Jan. 5, shoppers returned 1.3 million packages. That’s only the number forecasted by UPS. Other carriers like Federal Express and the United States Postal Service will add their own returns, creating a…  [more]

What if your feet aren’t ready for their Toms close-up?

Last week marked the ninth birthday for Toms shoes. Since 2006, Blake Mycoskie’s “One for One” company has, for every first-world purchase of its shoes, given a pair to someone overseas in need. Now the company sells coffee for clean water, sunglasses for eye-care, tote bags for maternity kits. Given how much they talk about gift-giving, it’s no surprise Toms also has a One Day Without Shoes…  [more]

What my family gained when we lost our Christian school

A funny thing happened on the way to the library. Just fresh from the post office - where I had chatted up a neighbor in line and then laughed as the long-time clerk behind the counter teased me about my “usual” request  - I walked up the tree-lined path that leads to the library. Where I ran into a fellow mom from my kids’ school. And then a dad. After I nodded at one and stopped to talk to…  [more]

A new way of ministering to stay-at-home moms

When a friend posted a Slate article titled “Why Are Stay-At-Home Mothers More Depressed?”, another friend simply commented: “Captain Obvious.” Indeed, it was to me too. Those of us who’ve been stay-at-home moms or spent any time around stay-at-home moms don’t need a Gallup study to tell us why a woman who spends day after day after day after week after week after week with no…  [more]

Invisible Children and informed giving

Over the past week, there has been controversy related to the nonprofit Invisible Children and the war criminal Joseph Kony. In short, questions have been raised about Invisible Children’s simplifying the narrative surrounding Kony and their goals in “stopping him.” How can Christians be sure they’re affecting positive change in the world through their charitable giving? By doing their…  [more]

Can living simply become its own sort of idolatry?

When I was growing up, there weren’t a lot of extras. There simply wasn’t money for them. Everyone got about three Christmas presents - and there was a clear price limit on them. Hand-me-down clothes were standard, vegetables were either frozen from the garden or the canned variety and vacations consisted of camping a couple of weekends in the summer. As a child, I’m sure I was disappointed that I…  [more]

Giving up excess for Lent (and hopefully longer)

I’ve gradually been giving up excess. Over the last few months my husband and I have gotten rid of half our stuff. Lent seems like a good time to go the rest of the way with the process. We recently downsized from our 2,100-square-foot house in a suburban community outside Austin to a 1,060-square-foot apartment closer to church and about 10 minutes from each of our workplaces. We paid way too much money…  [more]

Christian giving and the myth of charitable tax deductions

Charitable tax deductions are easy to defend. Who doesn't like the idea of rewarding people who give to their church, their community or some other worthy cause? It is an extremely difficult issue to touch politically, because nobody wants to be against rewarding charitable people. There are a bunch of problems with that line of thinking, but I’ll offer one in particular. Charitable tax deductions…  [more]

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