Thursday, November 15

Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz: Synchroblog

When it comes to Money, I'm afraid that the Church in the West often finds herself parodied by an old Janis Joplin song.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

"Come on God, baby, I've worked so hard for you, can't you just..."
As Westerners, we tend to believe that God owes us financial providence in exchange for our allegiance and (our sometimes occasional) obedience. I know I've believed the lie. It's deep within the fabric of the American Dream. It's deep in foundations of the Western Church that was coddled by the Industrial Revolution. I know, because I'm a part of it.

Jesus sent his disciples out on journeys and told them to take nothing with them, to make no lodging arrangements, and to bring no provisions. He taught them to give up their rights to "things." He taught them how to rely on the Father for their needs.

I would like to be a part of calling the Church in the West back to doing what Jesus did, and teaching what he taught. When it comes to Money, Jesus warned us that our allegiance to God would be challenged by the stuff. Shouldn't that scare us, just a little?

I'm in my late twenties, and I'm only just starting to make sense of all of the mixed-messages I've received from the local church concerning money. In short, I wish the voice of the Church sounded more like the voice of Jesus. I wish I was taught to avoid debt at all costs, to live simply, and to rely on the Father, even if that means looking foolish.

I've failed enough at money. But I've resolved to learn all over again. I'm working to pay off my student loans as soon as possible, to ride a bike to save money, and to do my best to live simply. I really believe that simplicity is Sabbath. There is Rest in letting go. God has taken excellent care of me as I stumble along. I like that.

(Janis' Passport photo by Savaman)


Pastor Phil said...

Hey! I own a Mercedes - of course it's a 1987 Diesel and has 250,000 miles on it.

Great post on simplicity. Fantastic topic.

Alan Knox said...

"Simplicity is Sabbath. There is Rest in letting go. God has taken excellent care of me as I stumble along." I think this attitude would go a long way in helping us have a more healthy relationship with both God and money. Thanks for this post!


fernando said...

"Simplicity is Sabbath." That's a great line!

You are right on the spiritual implications of debt, especially in this age of easy credit.

Agent B said...

Whenever I perform my Minnie Pearl on steroids (Janis Joplin) imitation, this is the song I sing.

Good words Nell. You are the wise one...and a rare find in your age group and culture.

Sally said...

oh to find ways of living simply- this is at the heart of many a cry- great post.

Steve Hayes said...

Amen! Preach it, Sister!

Bryan Riley said...

I agree with Alan that your sentence on simplicity is quite the quotable.

Maria said...

beautifully illustrated by the musical accompaniment.

"As literary theorist Linda Hutcheon puts it, ' imitation with a critical difference, not always at the expense of the parodied text.' "
- thank you Wikipedia.

In this case, I think the message hits a little closer to home that most of us would like. If it is at our expense (and I speak as a "product" of the western church culture), then may it be so. We need to be jostled into an alternate way of living out what it means to be a true Christ follower.

Simplicity is a rare jewel and difficult to achieve, both relationally and practically. When it is found, grasp tightly.

Thanks for your insights Jenelle.

rebafallawake said...

Great entry. I wish I lived in a town that was not so reliant on a car. I would love to bike more

olivia said...

beautiful words.
gracias a ti.

Jenelle said...

Pastor Phil,
And '87 Benz? And Diesel? That's a pimped ride.

Jenelle said...

Yes, may we welcome the jostling. It is true, we are the parodied text.

Jenelle said...

Bike lanes are really an incredible gift. I never had them on the East Coast.

sue said...

Oh how we love the simple, bike-riding, coffee making, dodgeball playing, hungry-for-Christ, giggling, deep thinking, adorable NELLY!

Sue said...

Simplicity is Sabbath.

That rocks

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