Monday, February 6, 2012

Lox Pop 2.0

Instead of tracking my family's progress following Dave Ramsey's plan, I've rediscovered a book whose message I need more. First, if you'll permit me a few words about Total Money Makeover. Ramsey is convicting and compelling, but not inspiring. At the core of his program is the goal of affluence. I have no general contention with that, in the sense he delivers it --- true affluence, not borrowed bling or living in debt. He frequently emphasizes charitable giving.  

There is nothing objectionable in his program. It's a mathematical solution which begs people to confront their financial dysfunction and assess their long-term goals. He writes about sacrificing now to insure stability later. It's all admirable and we've appreciated the discipline of his steps. I will still be using them and including that information as it seems relevant here.

Most people, if they commit to his program, are able to make phenomenal gains in as short as twenty months, even on a modest income. I just can't find the parts of the Bible or Catechism that say buying four duplexes is actually going to help me do anything except have four duplexes. (again ~ not a bad goal. Anthony and I see the true wealth in our family and friends for those who buy and hold real estate.)

However, without veering off into "I'm so unique" territory (because I'm not) ... I just need to make clear that math and plans and charts are stimulating but not sanctifying. Our income has been boom, bust and in between. Our needs have been met, we've enjoyed excesses and I have learned plenty.

I am a dirty sinner in need of conversion.
Let's read this one instead.

From Amazon reviews:   
"To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn't simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests?

Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much? The renowned spiritual writer Dubay gives surprising replies to these questions. He explains how material things are like extensions of our persons and thus of our love. If everyone lived this love there would be no destitution.

After presenting the richness of the Gospel message, more beautiful than any other world view, he explains how Gospel frugality is lived in each state of life."

This also ties into my more political interests, since human greed and corruption perpetuate so much innocent suffering. I cannot transmit radical stewardship and sacrificial generosity to my children unless I undertake the lifestyle myself. What's the 12-Step aphorism? "You can't think yourself into a new way of living, but you can live yourself into a new way of thinking."

I think Mindy at the Devout Life will join in posting with occasional reflections about family economics, and maybe Allison at Northern CF Family? (No pressure, Bellisima!) Other blogs are welcome too. I hope you'll join us. I'm thankful to a friend for initially introducing me to Dubay, and Jen for mentioning it again yesterday over coffee after Mass.  Friends who recommend good books are not to be trifled with.

My second note, more of the housekeeping variety -- is that I have deactivated the comments feature on this blog. There's a note with an explanation on the right top sidebar under "Pages". It's essentially a time management thing, and I trust you will understand. Isn't Facebook just a huge combox, anyway? Chatter away about anything you read here. You just need to find a human to say it to, first.