MONEY, Part 1: Not the Root of All Evil

By

A few questions were raised about the Counting Stars pre-order tiers we sold here, and about the pricey $20 Rabbit Room mugs. If a few people were brave enough to question it by commenting, I’m sure there were even more who kept quiet. There are a few more of those patronage plans on the horizon so I figured it would be a good time to explain our thinking.

Years ago I played several shows with a few members of the Kid Brothers of St. Frank. Remember them? It was the unofficial pseudo-Catholic order started by Rich Mullins in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and included a few younger musicians like Eric Hauck, Michael Aukofer, Mitch McVicker, and Keith Bordeaux (who wasn’t a musician, but who was on the verge of moving to Arizona to serve however he could before Rich died). I was as big a Rich Mullins fan as you could imagine, so in the years after his death I was honored and a little frightened to find myself occasionally doing shows with those guys.

mvc-639f

Eric in particular embodied the spirit of the Kid Brothers. He was hilarious, gentle and kindhearted, had a long biker goatee, a braided ponytail, smelled a little funny, drove a motorcycle, and played cello. You read that right. He played cello, and he played it well. Also, he never wore shoes. The only time I saw him with footwear was in the airport (because the FAA requires it). When they stopped him from boarding the plane Eric pulled out of his grimy backpack a grimy pair of flip flops to appease them. He was perfectly content to bounce through life without anything to tie him down, money least of all.

I, on the other hand, was married and had two baby boys. I couldn’t just crash on random couches from night to night. I was responsible not just for myself but to provide food and shelter for my family. I couldn’t up and disappear like a burp in the wind whenever the mood struck. The day I got the advance for my first record deal we threw a party at our little house in Watertown, Tennessee (a 1000 square foot farmhouse we rented for $500 per month), and I splurged on the following: one cheap propane grill, some ground beef, and one Nintendo 64 game system. We used the grill to make burgers for our friends (several of whom were Kid Brothers) and the Nintendo to play the James Bond shooter Goldeneye until sunrise. All told, I spent $200. I remember one of the guys pulling me aside and gently questioning my materialism. I was flummoxed and a little defensive. Was I being materialistic by purchasing a $100 video game? Was I being materialistic to have bought a cheap grill to cook the food? (Food they were happily eating, I thought to myself.) These guys, back when they were official members of the unofficial order, had taken vows of poverty and chastity. I hadn’t. And besides, for the first several years we lived in Nashville (even after the record deal) we were living well below the poverty line. I stood there by the new grill thinking, “I haven’t taken a vow, but I’m living it, by golly.” It wasn’t a big deal, though. I shrugged it off and partied on. It was a good day, and the fun we got out of that James Bond video game was worth every penny. I love those guys and the mighty honor they paid me by letting me do shows with them.

Just a few weeks before that, I was on a plane to Bolivia with Compassion International along with Keith, another Kid Brother. There, I met little Elba (whom we still sponsor), and I wrote “Land of the Free“, about my whirl of emotions, convictions and confusions over Elba’s joy in the midst of such poverty. I didn’t know what to do with the discontent I felt with my own lifestyle. The answer, I decided, must be poverty. If I want joy, I must live in a hut. I must follow the footsteps of St. Francis and Rich Mullins and become a mendicant bard. Houses are bad. Money is bad. People with houses and money are bad. I was fired up. I came back to the States ready to sell everything and live a communal lifestyle with a few other folks, and we even went so far as to look at some land where we’d sing hippie Jesus songs and share packets of Ramen noodles for the rest of our days.

I was still grieving the death of Rich Mullins (we weren’t friends or anything, but I was still grieving in some sense), trying to sort out how to emulate the way Rich lived out his love for Jesus. I saw joy on the faces of the Bolivian Christians, and it was a joy I didn’t see at my church back home. I remembered Rich saying, “Following Christ is not about having your perfect little life with your perfect little house, far away from homosexuals and minorities.” How very true those words still are. But I couldn’t figure out my place in this way of living. I was thankful for our sturdy little house and our community, and didn’t want to leave it. I was haunted by the truth that if I asked Elba and her family whether she’d rather live in their house or mine, they’d choose mine. If they could opt to have running water in their home, they’d choose it every time. They’d choose to have good shoes, clean clothes, and plenty of food. So the answer for me, a family man, wasn’t poverty.

Around this time I read an excellent book by Richard Foster called The Freedom of Simplicity, and I had my answer. What I envied about the Bolivians wasn’t poverty. It was simplicity. They didn’t choose it. It’s a necessary result of living in poverty, the silver lining on a dark cloud. That’s why people come back from Africa with that infectious gladness–not, of course, because of the terrible smell or the sickness or the injustice–it’s the simplicity. It’s a life uncluttered by television and power bills and traffic jams–a life enriched by the intense joy of interacting with other souls at a profoundly deep level, which is what we were meant for. What we miss when we come back from mission trips and church camps and spiritual retreats is life at its simplest.

American culture is one extreme (a land of plenty at the cost of simplicity) and the Third World is the other (poverty with the gift of simplicity). Each has its blessings and its curses. This point of this isn’t to get to the bottom of which of these extremes is better, but to propose a better way. A Christ-centered life of intimate fellowship unharried by either sickness and starvation or the chaos of a capitalistic rat race might be a good picture of the order of the day in the New Jerusalem. We don’t want to thrust electronics and trinkets and McDonald’s fries on Elba’s family any more than they’d want to thrust their dirt floors and malnutrition on us. What I wish for Elba is clean streets and sturdy houses, good food and warm clothes: hope. What I wish for us is walks in the woods, good friends, a tight community with a loving church at its heart: peace.

The only way to usher in that Kingdom is to walk in the way of Jesus. To love well, to push back the fall, to let the Spirit lead. Now, the beauty of it is that each of us carries a peculiar gift to light the darkness. Rich Mullins, God bless him, was single. That meant he could give most of his money away and hitchhike barefoot. It meant he could up and move to Arizona to live with Native Americans and he didn’t have to ask a soul. The Wind blew, and he floated on it. He wrote about his long, lonely, love-struck journey with Christ, and we, the Saints, were edified.

But what about the rest of us? As much as I’d like to be as cool as Rich, I can’t. I got married at nineteen, so as long as I’ve been writing songs I’ve had a family to care for. That means I want a roof over their heads, and shoes on their feet (sorry, Rich and Eric), and beauty and safety and health. In my walk with Christ I have found that at times my footprints align with my heroes’ and other times they don’t, no matter how hard I try. Most of the time, their shoes are just too big for me to fill.

Speaking of shoes, I grew up fairly poor. We never missed a meal, but that’s because many of those meals were a cheap tuna casserole called Peterson Special. (Mom named it that because we all loved it and the name gave the pot of noodles some dignity, I suppose.) Back to the shoes: I remember walking to school in 4th grade and noticing that I could stick my big toe all the way through the sole of my thrift store sneakers. I understood that new shoes weren’t in my immediate future so I duct taped them every other day. I remember sitting at my desk staring at the other kids’ Chuck Taylors, wondering why I couldn’t have a pair. I dreaded the days they’d ask us to take off our shoes in P.E. because my socks were so gray and ratty while all the other kids’ socks looked brand new. They stared at me and I stared at the floor. I know what it’s like to be the (relatively) poor kid in the room.

Now, as a thirty-six year old father and husband, I have a thing about shoes. I’m disproportionately excited whenever I get to buy a new pair of shoes. I feel like the king of the world walking out of the store with those new cushiony insoles, and I’m embarrassed to tell you that I’m constantly checking myself out when I see my reflection in a store window on New Shoe Day. The same goes for my kids. My own 4th grade shame carries itself over into my kids’ lives so that Jamie knows to send me out with them to buy their shoes; I don’t trust her to choose cool enough shoes for them.

The point: being poor is not the only way to radically follow Christ. Some people are called to it. I have long felt a tension between all that I learned from the Kid Brothers and Rich Mullins about identifying with the poor and the weak, versus my holy responsibility to tend to my family’s spiritual and physical needs. Had Rich ever married, I’m certain his wife would have appreciated a nice dress every now and then, or a bouquet of flowers, or a decent kitchen, and she probably would have lovingly insisted that he not give all his money away, especially after she bore his children and needed to buy diapers, and school supplies, and shoes for goodness sake. And the other thing is, Rich Mullins had hit songs that are still making money. He gave a lot of his money away, but he also had a constant stream of it flowing in. Lots of it. And I’m sure the ministries he supported with the surplus were grateful that he channeled it to them for Kingdom work.

Money isn’t the root of all evil. The Bible doesn’t say that. Here’s the verse: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10) We’re called to keep watch so that we don’t fall in love with money. To be sure, wealth is a heavy burden and isn’t for everyone, just as poverty is a burden and isn’t for everyone. The people of the church are varied in strengths and weaknesses. Money itself isn’t evil. In fact, money can be a great tool for Kingdom work. It’s easy to tout ideals about how wrong it is to be wealthy until you’re on the receiving end of someone’s generosity.

After all, someone has to buy the burgers.

Next: Part II, The Extravagant Gamble

Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


81 Comments

  1. Adam Whitley

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. In fact, that’s what I pay you for. 🙂

    I was disappointed I couldn’t swing the top tier, but I met you for free at one of your concerts. I’m all on your side.

    //AW

  2. John Haney

    Wow . . . I just had one of those CS Lewis moments where you say, “What, you too?”. I’ve thought many of these same thoughts, Andrew. Do y’all think that maybe God calls certain people (like John the Baptist and Rich) to live differently, not so much that we would live exactly like them, but that their lives would sort of shock us to examine our own?

  3. Susan Mansfield

    Well said, I like it when common sense prevails on such things. I know too many people who seem to be quite ‘proud’ of their poverty. (insert very puzzled face!)

    Oh, and those glorious mugs with p&p would have cost this English lass nearly 50 dollars, so stop complaining! 😉

    I knew I was living in the wrong country!!!!

    Susan

  4. Abbye West-Pates

    Deepest thanks for this post.

    As someone who has been married for 3 years, no children, with the 4th housemate in less than 2 years about to move in, I can resonate with the temptation to call a certain lifestyle (ours) of communal living the “best way.” Yet, fortunately, little gems like ‘Freedom of Simplicity” kept me on track… oh, yes, and Jesus’ love for simplicity AND celebration!

    This post helped me put more clearly into words what it is people might see in Bolivians, inner-city Memphis, or in our house: simplicity (not poverty – certainly not in our house). After all, that seems more like the root of why Jesus asked the young man to get rid of his wealth so many years ago – he was too cluttered.

    When I’m trying to pass on some kind of nugget from the journey we’re on as a Family and community, I usually start with this: what is simple is not always easy (and in fact, what is simple [i.e. making your own laundry detergent] is almost never easy [buying it off the shelf would be easier, yet more expesive]).

    Onward –

  5. Tymm

    ya know what man? that spoke to me at the exact right time – I so needed that today. been struggling with that a bit ourselves here and this gives such a great perspective for me…

    Thank You.

  6. Kjoy

    Love it! My sentiments exactly, well, except I’m not really a shoe girl. My daughter, however, is very much!

  7. Scott Goldsmith

    Very well said, Andrew. I especially appreciated …”wealth is a heavy burden and isn’t for everyone, just as poverty is a burden and isn’t for everyone.”
    In 1 Timothy 6, Paul goes on to say, 17Command those who are rich [yeah, that would be almost all of us] in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain [many have learned recently how uncertain], but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment [yes, it’s okay to enjoy that which he provides]. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share [did you catch that? generous AND willing to share…we can’t check the box on generosity; we have to continue to look for opportunities to share]. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves [talk about eternally “paying it forward”] as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life [to let go of many things in this life is to take hold of the true life].

  8. Shane Werlinger

    What Adam said (except I was going to buy the top tier but AP wasn’t coming anywhere near me. And in the spirit of The Proprietor’s post, I would love to do a road trip to see him but, being a Family Man with little ones, I have to put the needs of those in my care above my own wants. Were I single, or at least without kids, I would be following AP all over the place. Or pay money just to bring him to our town. Once the youngins are bigger, expect to see us at shows farther from the Great Mitten.).

  9. Mark

    Just a few verses over in 1 Timothy 6:16-17, Paul reminds, “the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”

    Who gives the stuff? God How does He give it? Richly. What does He want us to do with it? Enjoy it.

    Perhaps God calls some people to poverty because He knows He couldn’t trust them with the riches. More money equates more problems. Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 tells us that God gives the money and God keeps the poor.

    Paul reminds us of his secret to contentment in Philippians 4: I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

    His contentment was found in Jesus the Christ and not in his ability to get rid of stuff. God knows the heart and how easy it is for us to becomes lovers of money instead of lovers of God. Good post, Andrew.

  10. Missy K

    My first post here, but it is just this sort of essay that keeps me coming back to the Rabbit Room– the willingness to wade into what is messy and real. One of the things that is so compelling to me about the Christian life is the myriad permutations of what our calling looks like. It is so tempting to look at others– they’re cooler and closer to Jesus because they’re barefoot, her house is too big, my camera is too new– and make Law from our observations. It is much harder to ask, quietly and honestly, “what has my heart?”

    Thanks. Keep it coming.

  11. Justin

    Andrew,

    Thanks for this post. I am a minister serving in southeast Tennessee. my fiancee and I love your music in fact we where able to catch one of your shows last fall @ Covenant College on Lookout Mt, we really enjoyed it. I have also given this topic much thought as we take the plunge headlong into ministry. Growing up on the states I have, although as much as I have tried to avoid it, been bombarded by from all sides with this, I think American idea, that as you progress in life you should always better you situation. For example, if I made $5,000 a year at my first job then at my next job I should make $10,000, and with each step moving continually “up the ladder”. Growing up in church we had a slew of ministers pass through the pulpit over the years and almost all of them felt, “led by God’ to other positions where it just so happened that the compensation was better. Not that each of those occurrences were not legit, just that it always seemed to be the case. Now here I am, in ministry, on the verge of marriage and trying to decide how to be the best stewards of what resources we do have and honor God with our finances. It is very tempting to be constantly on the lookout for a better paying position, while losing sight of the task God has given me here. The sad thing is I could find a job tomorrow with great pay and benefits and everyone I know would be proud of me and think of me as successful, all the while forsaking the call to serve here where God has placed us. Thanks for the reminder that our lifestyle does not have to be contingent on our income. I trust that God works all things together for the good for those who love Him. We don’t have kids, but when we do I hope that they know we love Jesus, however more importantly, I want them to know we follow Jesus.

    P.S. My fiancee is from Watertown, haha. Small world..

  12. Tami

    Well said. Very well said, actually. And the way you said it spoke to my heart – mom of 6 kiddos that are obviously going to need a roof over their heads, shoes on their feet and food in their bellies. It is easy for me to almost carry the gift of financial “blessedness” as a curse or a burden to bear. Thank you for the reminders today…

  13. Josh Bishop

    Excellent post — thank you. I’ve found myself slowly but surely gravitating toward a simpler life, and I’d be lying if I said The Rabbit Room hasn’t played a big part in that.

    I just ordered a copy of “The Freedom of Simplicity” and I’ll be picking up “Jayber Crow” from the local bookstore on my way home from my well-paying job. I’ll get there in my SUV, pay full price for a new copy because I’m like that, then take it home to my roomy air-conditioned house and sit on my new couch to read while drinking the better part of a six-pack (expensive = bad, local + craft = good).

    One of these days I may actually live a simpler life, rather than just reading about, thinking about, and admiring it. Am I a horrible person?

  14. Alan

    Thanks for your thoughts bro.

    I am single, in poverty, living in Africa, and I love it, but I still miss Chic-fil-a. I love my fridge made out of buckets, but I also love the fact that someone has a real fridge to keep the Cokes cold. I know that gladness that you talk about in people coming from here, but I also know that there is gladness at home with my parents and little bro and college friends. Its important not to close ourselves up in one dimension of this world and assume that’s the best dimension.

    All that to say, what you said about simplicity is so true. Poverty is an easy road to simplicity, but some in poverty refuse simplicity, and that’s when nothing’s going for you. And wealth is an easy road to non-simplicity, so its blessed to meet or hear of those who could have-it-all, but choose to share and be simple. Their kindness is at the expense of luxury, but certainly not at the expense of their joy. After all, Jesus didn’t have a place to lay his head on earth, but he did have all the treasures of heaven.
    “I will drive these roads in thunder and in rain…, and I will praise you Lord till your Kingdom comes, and I will follow where you lead till there’s no more faith, and no more hope…and only love remains.” Simplicity.

  15. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    AP, Thanks for the balanced words. I have been in both places. In childhood at times I lived in crackerbox trailers, and for three months when I was 10, in a tent, in a campground; also in a three bedroom house with eight kids, mom, and stepdad, in my aunt’s and uncle’s house with my cousins and brother when mom couldn’t make ends meet. As a teen I went to live in middle class materialistic southern California suburbia, working for my Dad’s music store and playing music. As an adult I’ve been a below-poverty-level musician who didn’t even bother filing taxes from 20-26 yrs old, and a musician in a high level band making a good living. In the past three years we haven’t played or made a record. Finances have dimmed; God has used it to show me again what really matters: Christ. Family. Doing my work. Community. Food. Shelter. Clothing.

    So your post really hit a resonant frequency in me. Like nearly anything else, money isn’t the problem; it’s our attitude to it, our use of it that determines “good” or “root of all evil.” George MacDonald said, “If it be things that slay us, what matter if it be things we have, or things we have not?” There are those without money who are every bit the materialistic mammon-worshiper that a rich man can be, decrying materialism outwardly but harboring inner resentment due to coveting. I’ve learned in our band’s time off that all I really need is what will provide food, shelter, clothing for my wife and kids – and that cruse of oil has not stopped; the Supplier is still in business.

    I also agree that not everyone has to give all their money away, or take vows. Should a married believer take a vow of sexual abstinence? Should the owner of a company with thirty employees suddenly sell off his assets, give away the money, and let all his employees go?

    If everyone became a monk cloistered away, who would be there as a vessel to express God in the ordinary streets to ordinary people? What matters is that each one of us really comes to God, really opens the heart to Christ, and says, “Work your will in my life, no matter what the cost.” The path becomes more and more clear as we continually do that.

    The danger of making vows to God is that if we fail to keep them, we feel condemned; if we succeed, we often feel above those who don’t, qualified to give them advice on how they should be like us. I often have the movie The End come into my mind, where Burt Reynolds has tried to commit suicide for the entire movie. Finally he has swum out into the ocean so far that there is no way he will make it back, and he says, “I DON’T WANT TO DIE!” He starts praying and making vows. “LORD, I’ll give you FIFTY PERCENT of everything I make!” He swims and swims, and comes to the beach exhausted. He lays there for hours, and finally gets up, starts walking up the beach, and says, “Lord, I’ll start working on that ten percent right away.”

  16. John

    My wife and I are currently working towards a life of a little bit more simplicity. And…it’s expensive! Here in the States in the NE, we are trying to make our own stuff….buy local…and teach ourselves and our children what the life of God is about. Both of us grew up – well, less than well-off, and we have shifted from a dual income with no children life when we were both in the Navy to a single pastor’s income while she stays home and home-schools our kids.
    People say sometimes that they’d love to be independently wealthy and teach thier kids at home…never been sure how to answer that. We’re not. We sacrifice things that aren’t as important to us. And we do others that are – like buy local meat. And good books. New (usually), so we don’t feel wierd about writing in them. And good music that we hear a word from God through.
    God calls people – as individuals and as families – but none of us are exactly the same. Each has to choose what is important, and what they ought to let go. Is a hand-thrown mug worth the cost in order to support someone else’s gift? Is the cost worth the grace it gives? Are tickets to a concert worth it – when the music reveals God to you?
    To paraphrase Bonhoeffer’s ideas of discipleship – cheap grace in anything ends up being nothing. And if we find and are given grace in a beautiful mug that we know was made by hand with love, or with a ticket to a special concert that speaks to our heart…? $17 bucks sounds inexpensive to me, for the grace we recieve. Or even 50…for the music we hear through the gifts of grace…
    So, to end this awful rambling – Mr. Proprietor, charge enough to feed your family well, and we’ll choose what’s important enough for us. I’m sure God will continue to watch over you. And I’m sure you and this community will continue to give grace to those who need it.

  17. Leigh McLeroy

    True story: Almost 10 years ago…in a village near Recife, Brazil. I was in the home of a young woman…dirt floors, a few plastic chairs for furniture. She offered me a seat in one of the chairs, and fruit picked from a tree in her yard. As we talked together I asked her about Jesus…did she know him? Follow him? She said she used to, but not so much anymore. She had a job in the city, she said. She worked hard and was very busy. I asked her what kept her from Jesus now if she used to follow him, and looking around she answered–as if it should be clear to me–“Material things.” Those things weren’t big to me, but they were to her. It’s not the stuff, it’s how big it is to me. I’ve never forgotten that…or her. I like what Richard Foster has said: If I have anything I cannot bear to give away, I don’t own it, it owns me. Thanks for the post Andrew…and the comments, all. The Rabbit Room is a good–and gentle–place to learn.

  18. Sondra

    Andrew, thank you so much for this post. It hits me deeply in my heart as I have been wrestling with this topic myself. Also, I just wanted to say that it made me smile when you said you had such an admiration for Rich. Not only because I did (and do) as well, but because the first time I listened through your beautiful album, “Counting Stars,” I marveled at how much your songs reminded me of his. Beautiful poetry set to soul-stirring music. I can hear it especially in “The Magic Hour,” and “God of My Fathers.” I just moved to Nashville in May, hopefully I’ll get to catch one of your shows sometime. God bless!

  19. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Also, would it not be optimal for us, rather than choosing poverty in order to gain simplicity, to work for honest wages and choose simplicity?

  20. Ben Ward

    As far as I can tell, there’s little or no connection between having money and having “the love of money”. I have often seen the latter without the former and vice versa.

    Further, the subject of “value” is more complex than most people think. When I saw that there were new mugs in the RR store, I was ecstatic and charged in to get an “Old Jack”. I wept as I saw that there were none of those in this shipment (hint hint!) and struggled with whether to get one of the others or risk not getting one at all should there be no more shipments. In the end, I decided that a) I couldn’t justify buying two mugs, and b) the possibility of getting an “Old Jack” was more valuable to me than the certainty of getting one of the others.

    Because I was forced (by my limited supply of money) to make this decision, one more person out there got a “Professor” mug. And this is the way it should be, since they valued that mug more highly than I did. Now… when “Old Jack” shows up again… better get outta me way!

    Great post! I can’t wait for Part Deux!

  21. Paula Shaw

    Thanks Andrew. It’s amazing how I know exactly what you mean when you talk about the shoes issue. And the embarrassment and feelings of shame. One pair a year was the way I grew up. Now that I’m a mom, I am the one who goes shoe shopping with my boys, and they get the best pair of shoes they can find for themselves, and that is often not the best money can buy. Still, I make sure they get shoes when they need, and a lot of times when they want. What’s so funny (and cool) is that they never, ever ask for shoes more than twice a year. I have to make them go shopping!
    The best lesson I’ve learned having lived both ways: poverty level and financially comfortable, is that the reality is ALL WE HAVE IS HIS, no matter what. Our job is to be the best stewards we can be with it. To love Jesus more than the “stuff” he affords us. To follow His call, and to be His hands and feet, and often times His pocketbook to those in need, and to share what we have, since it’s His anyway. Things just work so much better that way.
    Even after having grown up poor, I cannot remember a time when I went hungry, or when I wasn’t well loved. I thank God for every step I walked in this life in regard to poverty, riches, meeting Him and keeping Him the Lord of my life. . . His love is indeed abiding and abounding. Thanks be to God!

  22. Matthew Sample II

    If I can add a word to back you up, I hope that you aren’t offended by the following thoughts. I deeply admire both your music and Rich’s. The following is not meant as a critique, in any way.

    Sometimes the ragamuffin life can be a selfish life. (Ok, I know I lost some of you there, and offended others, but if you can hang with me just a little bit longer, I might be able to dig myself out of this hole.)

    Sometimes the married life is the more sacrificial life. As men we are called to sacrifice ourselves for our wives. We are called to teach our children, to raise up godly seed.

    It’s easy to get up and do what you feel like doing, when you are single and don’t have many commitments. It is not easy to get up and do what you do not want to do, when you are married and are committed to your wife and children and local church family. It is easy to stay up all night praying or playing the guitar or in my case painting. It is not easy to stay up all night walking a sick child. Oddly enough, it can be relatively easy to love a stranger that you will never see again. It is entirely another act to love your wife when you believe that she is entirely in the wrong.

    Sometimes it’s not in the freedom of the unfettered life that we discover Christ, but in the bonds of the sacrificial life where we live out Christ’s love in any and every circumstance.

    So getting back to money. Sometimes it is a good and holy thing to provide for your family, to balance the budget, etc. Sometimes it is downright wicked to irresponsibly give away your money, depriving your parents (Mark 7:9-13) or wife or children (1 Timothy 5:8) of the means to live. In fact, a man in the Old Testament was required to provide food, clothing, and sex. If he didn’t provide those things, she was free to divorce him (Exodus 21:10-11).

    But yeah, money is only a means of a life. What we build onto that is another thing entirely. We can give away most or all of our possessions, provide for our family and live the fulfilled simple life before God. We can also live a very materialistic life on very little money.

    So finally, leaving families and money and just getting down into: making a product and asking money for it. I think that’s the fundamental question. Is it wrong to ask for money to compensate you for your time and energy? Paul contrasts stealing or depending on others, with working in 2 Thessalonians 3. It is better to work, and eat our own food that we have earned, than to not work and enjoy the fruit of other’s labors. Paul goes so far as to say that if someone does not work, he should not eat.

    Sometimes the ragamuffin life can be an escape from one materialism, to another form. I deny myself the pleasure of my own possessions in exchange for enjoying everyone else’s.

    So yeah, I don’t know if I’ve dug myself out of any pit or even if I was in one in the first place. I do think I’m going to return the copy of Counting Stars that I’m borrowing from a friend and go earn my own copy! Thanks for getting me to think a little deeper about my own life and some of the issues that we face in the post-hippie generation.

  23. David Axberg

    Charge on brother. My first batch of cups broke and you replaced them. There is cost to all that. Have a cup of Joe and watch the Hummingbirds and think wow God made them in such away that their wings flap in a figure 8. My coffee tastes better because I help to put a roof over your families head. God Bless Now!

  24. Susan Mansfield

    I thought I must add, I particularly liked where you wrote, “Now, the beauty of it is that each of us carries a peculiar gift to light the darkness”.

    I think that is beautiful. Following Jesus, and not following someone else who is following Jesus is key. To know what He wants us to do, how He wants us to serve, instead of striving after what looks right in someone else’s life and trying to apply it to ourselves. That leaves us (and has left me if I’m honest) miserable. No one afterall has got my husband, my children, my extended family etc.. I need to follow Him from where I’m living right now, and not try to carve someone else’s life into my own.

    I’m left with much food for thought as always.

    Susan

  25. Matt Blick

    Great post Andrew. In the last 20 years I’ve been at every point on the scale from the Rich to the Andy. Once I too would have rebuked you for your BBQ’s (and mugs)! Now I have a wife and four kids. I’m pretty sure God would say “if you breed ’em, you better feed ’em”. Shoes come in handy too.

    Keep the balanced wisdom coming.

  26. Bill

    Appreciate the post, reminded of the one on mailbox money a couple years back, honesty is great. I think I have pretty much everything Andrew ever recorded (yes I have the original walk cd) and all I can find of richs’.
    Thanks to family connections I have had the opportunity to kick these ideas around 2-3 times with a Nashville music producer familiar with CCM stuff (by stuff I mean politics,rights management etc).
    I think the challenge for many of us non-industry types comes to this, we all understand the need to meet financial obligations. The question, for at least myself, is the model. We are all very comfortable with the church is free, give money to meet needs of staff facility etc. model. I think most of us would have a hint of hesitancy maybe more than a hint) if ,as we arrived this week at church, there was a ticket taker at the door sayin that’ll be xx$ for adults and $xx for kids/ Sunday school additional$/ backstage meet the pastor only a 100$. The pastor has to feed the kids argument might seem less than genuine, though potentially true. In general I believe as Christians we should not mix our tentmaking with our ministry(as Paul modeled). The goal I believe is to prevent a situation where those being ministered too get the very best ministry they can buy and those who can’t afford the indulgence are left in the cold. Over time, study, and experience I have come to believe that those in vocational ministry are intended to be funded by 1.Freewill support/offerings 2. ministers’ tentmaking (whatever non ministerial work god provides).

    Musician example X people agree to support an artist each month and the artist releases music as they are led online for free no copyright use restrictions etc. or by cd for the cost of S&H. Simply trying to spread the message/encouragement etc. as far and wide as it can go. No worries about how many of those unscrupulous poor folks are trying to steal a blessing by illegally downloading from the internets.

    This is not intended as a critique but as a guy who wonders about 20$ christian coffee mugs, vacamissions and the homeless guy who just wants a cig(sorry don’t smoke)

  27. Jenny

    Reminds me of John Wesley saying something like, “Earn all you can so that you can save all you can so that you can give all you can.” (That’s a severe minimizing of his message, probably, but something to that effect.)

    Great post, AP.

    And as an aside. . .look at me, I just made my first RR post after years of being a total wallflower!

  28. Kirk

    You spoke well something I’ve thought long and often about. I too was a RM fan, and also being 36 with a family have struggled with my desire to blow freely on the wind of the Lord like he and others did. At some point I realized and accepted that I have been called into a different story than certain saints I admire. But here’s a cool thing. I found you and your music on a sunrise drive home from a third shift job while still mourning Rich’s absence (and the impossibility of any future songs of his). -The Lord gave me your music. Different, but connected still. The drive was tearful, my heart welled with thankfulness through the hammered dulcimer background. I was given a continuation. And in addition I was given a new picture. That of Rich-like faith in a different context, -a family man. Your life and art, and now this post, have helped me process the Lords will for a guy who is in love with his Creator AND his wife and kids. Thank you, your words have blessed this guy.

  29. Matt Blick

    @Joe Thayer – great point. Thanks for reminding us that we ALL have been getting this wonderful blog for free for years!

    @Bill – some good points. Keith Green’s story is interesting as he worked through some of these same issues (back in the days when giving music away for free was a lot more costly to the artist).

    However I don’t agree with your ‘backstage pass to meet the pastor’ analogy. If AP is ‘ministering’ to me in anyway it’s through his songs. If I did get to meet him I wouldn’t be expecting him to ‘pastor’ me I’d just be getting to hang out with him. Getting a physical copy and a digital one, a pre-release copy, or even a life size AP poster certainly would not be ‘paying for ministry’ in my mind.

    I sometimes think we over AND under emphasis ministry. Without regressing into the clergy/laity divide AP’s music does ministers to me, but it’s not the “ministry of the word and prayer” that my local pastor has “devoted himself to” and gives himself sacrificially to. THAT’S the basic package.

    Do we get too twitchy about music? I wonder if AP would have felt the need to write this post clarifying his position if he fixed our water pipes, painted our kitchen or cooked the food in our favourite cafe?

    That’s ministry too…

  30. carrie luke

    I loved the last few thoughts. It’s one thing to be critical of someone’s wealth and how they use it until they are the one’s slipping you a check to replace your broken air conditioner, because you were unable to do so.

    The greater question is are we open handed? Can we give and receive with grace when God calls us to do so? Whether it’s in plenty or in want.

    I for one feel better about attending your concerts knowing that your family, who constantly sacrifices their time with you, is well provided for in your absence. That your wife feels safe and has what she needs to be faithful in her calling as a wife, mother, and teacher while you are pouring yourself out to us. It’s a small price to pay to free you both up so that you can bring us Light in our darkness in a way that only you can.

  31. luaphacim

    I’m reminded of Proverbs 30:8-9:

    8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.

    9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’
    Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.

    I am a miser by disposition (maybe because I, like AP, grew up without much money), so there’s a part of me that loves to watch my bank account’s balance creep steadily upward. In my ideal (fleshly) world, I’d tithe, since that’s what good, frugal Christians do, and I’d probably have to buy food and give my wife and son enough to get by on, but every extra cent would go into the ever-mounting pile of cash in my fiduciary institution of choice.

    The problem: I know from scripture and from experience that money, like all of God’s provision to me, is made to be used and enjoyed. I also know that when I die, I leave this world naked as the day I was born.

    So I enjoy a nice meal with my wife every once in a while. When the waitress brings us the check, I tip more than she is expecting me to. I give unbudgeted contributions to ministers of the gospel. I collect good books. Every once in a GREAT while, I buy technological toys I know I’ll enjoy.

    In short, I spend money like it’s not going to be around forever. Because it’s not.

    So that’s my take on the materialism question — and I absolutely love that by spending a few dollars here and there, I can help people like AP encourage and lift up others! 🙂

  32. Kevin DeYoung

    Great post Andrew. Very wise. I love your music and the way you wrestle with these important issues. Grace and peace.

  33. Mike Horne

    Thanks Andrew, you’ve expressed something I’ve felt but haven’t been able to verbalise.

    We’ve done things the other way round, I left a high flying job in London as an advertising exec so that I could be involved in the lives of my wife and kids. Now we survive on half the income, but life is more simple, and we wouldn’t swap it for the world (although I must confess there’s a part of me that still misses the luxuries!). We have less, but we value it more, and have more of each other, and also I think, more of Him.

  34. JamesBrett

    one of my pet peeves — i’m going to come across as a disgruntled missionary in saying this — is when people come to africa (or latin america, etc) on short term mission trips and return to the u.s. talking about how happy the people in tanzania are. “they don’t have anything, and they live in mud huts, but they’re just so happy and content. that’s what’s wrong with america; we have too much stuff and we always want more.” etc, etc.

    but the guy with the small mud hut envies his neighbor’s bigger one. and the guy with a thatch-roof wants tin. the father of 3 kids needs 3 or 4 more if he’s going to get the respect of his village, and half of those kids will move to the “big cities” to make it big and get a good job, so they can solve all their family’s problems and buy shiny new shoes and bicycles and radios and watches. [but not cell phones, because they all already have those.]

    if the people you meet in a village in africa are content, it’s most likely because of Christ. the same thing goes for mexico and honduras and russia and watertown, tennessee. simplicity will lessen the demands on us, and allow us to enjoy our families and our free time. but Godly contentment is what makes joy a possibility even in times of sadness, persecution, and loss. the answer’s not having less money. it’s having more of the Spirit.

  35. Around the Web – Kevin DeYoung

    […] Andrew Peterson on Poverty, Simplicity, and Raising a Family. You really should read this piece. Peterson, who is best known for his wonderful music, has written a thoughtful, balanced, wise article about the tension between his respect for the radical Christians who grow long hair and walk around barefoot and, on the other hand, his need as a father to provide. […]

  36. Combing the Net – 9/1/2010 « Honey and Locusts

    […] Money Isn’t the Root of Evil — Andrew Peterson has long been one of my favorite songwriters, but I’ve also become a big fan of his fiction and non-fiction writing. Today he begins a new series on his blog, looking at issues related to money. Please read it! I was especially intrigued to see how his views on poverty have changed since writing the song “Land of the Free”, which he mentions in this post. If you’ve never heard the song, you can hear it here, but I encourage you to read Peterson’s comments about this song from the liner notes of a later album in which he recants some of the lyrics from the song. It’s a very humbling thing for a songwriter to do, and I admire him for it. […]

  37. Chad Ethridge

    So glad you posted this Andrew. I’ve been thinking that if a man has a family and he is not providing for them, then his children might as well be orphans and his wife a widow. We know what the Bible says about our obligations to the fatherless and the widows.

    That being said, I’ve read that in Rich Mullins case he capped off his income and didn’t know what the “constant stream” of added income even amounted to. (Sorry for ending that sentence with an open preposition). I’ve also read that his uncle advised him not to become poor for the sake of the poor, but to become rich and spend it all on the poor. Seems like he did that.

  38. Kimberly

    Absolutely fantastic, AP. And full of a whole lot of good sense. There has to be a balance… No matter which side of the pay scale you are on. Thank you!

  39. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    James Brett, good word. People are people. It isn’t the outer circumstances that matter; it’s the inner relationship with Christ. But we see the same attitude in many Hollywood movies: “All natives were peace loving, good, kind, compassionate other-centered people before our culture ruined them.” But people are people.

    To re-quote MacDonald: “If it be things that slay us, what matter if it be things we have, or things we have not?” I can be just as big a mammon-worshiper as a poor man as I can a rich man. The real solution is in each individual heart, co-operating with Christ there in the Holy of Holies.

    Bill: the same applies to whether musicians who are Christians who play Gospel should take pay. I believe that Rich Mullins’ lifestyle was fine for him; it is what he chose. With a wife and kids to support, my choices are different. “Whatever support was for you, wife, is now devoted to God.” That doesn’t really fly with God. I can cut out materialism, submit myself financially to God, and the outcome of that is going to look a little different than the next guy. Musicians are not pastors. In the music world, as in any other profession, tent making and ministry get mixed together. We are all called to ministry, that is, living with a heart wide open to God, wide open to faith in Christ living in us, wide open to other people. We are called to love God and others (a love that springs from Christ within the believer), and not a system of “This Is What Everyone Ought To Do” imposed from without.

  40. Judi

    Hello and thank you for sharing these thoughts. I hate to rain on the parade of love you seem to be receiving in all of the comments I just read but you mentioned two things in this post that really frost me.

    The first is: “Rich Mullins, God bless him, was single. That meant that he could give most of his money away and hitchike barefoot…he didn’t have to ask a soul.” As someone who has has been married, I understand the distinction you’re trying to make with those comments. But as someone who has been single, I also feel as though you neglect to acknowledge that each person actually has an accountability to God, first and foremost. And then there are communities that are impacted by decisions that ought to weigh heavily in the thinking through stuff. Married or Single.

    To be clear, I am not commenting on Rich Mullins or how he lived his life. I am commenting on your words in this post and how they contribute to an already existent divide between people who are married and people who are single.

    The second thing you mentioned: “Had Rich ever married, I’m certain his wife would have appreciated a nice dress every now and then, or a bouquet of flowers, or a decent kitchen, and she probably would have lovingly insisted that he not give ALL his money away…” That may be true for some women, and I wouldn’t necessarily judge that as wrong. Regardless, however, I do think there is something wrong with suggesting that women are the reason men leave lives of poverty behind. Interestingly, once again, you weave in some apparently unconcious bias about being married vs. being single and in this case, “blame” the woman for choices a man might make about money.

  41. Kelly Webster

    God demonstrates that the practice of blessing the righteous is not a hindrance to the development of true righteousness in the book of Job. After all of Job’s suffering God gave him twice what he had given him before and the bible indicates that he was the greatest man in the East because of all of the things that he had (sheep, camels, oxen…..and a very great household). God clearly does not think that the riches that He gave to Job were evil. Interesting to think about.

  42. Chris L

    Judi,

    Not to speak for Andrew, but Paul’s advice to Timothy is thus:

    If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    And he also writes to the Corinthians:

    Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. […] An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

    If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.

    As I read it, Andrew is just echoing Paul’s words, which are actually in praise of those who are single, so I would not take offense…

  43. Laura Peterson

    Judi – phew, thanks. I was thinking some of those same things but was too chicken to post about it. Those two sections also made me a little rumpled in spirt. As a single gal, I struggle with the tension between “can” and “should”: because I am relatively untethered, does that mean I should follow a lifestyle that takes the most advantage of that quality? Is it a “waste” of this time of singleness if I’m not doing things I wouldn’t be able to do if I were married and had a family? Those are tough questions and not entirely within the scope of this post. But I am grateful that it prompted me to think about them for what feels like the billionth time, to reaffirm what I believe God has called me to for now and to remember to hold on to my plans (and money) with an open hand.

  44. Profile photo of Pete Peterson

    Pete Peterson

    @pete

    Judi said: “I do think there is something wrong with suggesting that women are the reason men leave lives of poverty behind. Interestingly, once again, you weave in some apparently unconcious bias about being married vs. being single and in this case, “blame” the woman for choices a man might make about money.”

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. Andrew’s suggestion is that a person, man or woman, who is married and/or has children has a completely different set of responsibilities than one who is unattached. Correct me if I’m misunderstanding you, but are you suggesting that married folk and single folk exist on the same plane of financial responsibility? As a single guy, I can assure you that’s not the case.

    It also seems to me that the word ‘wife’ could easily be changed to ‘husband’ in any of the post’s context without changing the point at all. So I’m confused about the source of your disagreement, I guess.

  45. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Judi, I don’t know about anyone else in here but I married a Canadian girl 22 years ago. In order to get her papers to reside in the States, the U.S. government made me sign a paper saying that I would support her and that she wouldn’t become a burden on society. So, technically, yes, she made me do it. True story.

    But seriously, I don’t see where any “blame” is at issue. The real issue is that when I got married, the money I earn ceased to belong solely to me. There is someone else to consider. It isn’t that “my wife made it so I can’t be a real Christian.” If I give all my money to the poor but have not love for my family, it profits me nothing. If in trying to alleviate poverty I create it in my own wife and children, what am I doing?

    When I was single I thought as a single person. But now as a married person I must put away single thinking. That was then. This is now.

    It isn’t putting down single people. Single and Married are simply two different mindsets, one not above the other. They both come with their own unique challenges and rewards. I have been both single (until I was 24; I didn’t date because I was so into music) and married. Although it has been a long time since I was single, I remember being seriously lonely, and also seriously free. The freedom enabled me to practice for 12 hours a day, have no job, go to Bible studies, movies, or bookstores, and eat or sleep whenever I felt like it. The loneliness made me dig into God, and sometimes into activities which were less than optimal.

    I don’t think I’d take a vow of poverty even if I were single. I like guitars with great tone, and I think God does too – at least he seems to come through at times when I’m playing.

  46. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    The other thing is I don’t think we can say, “Single people, since they are unattached, should take vows of poverty and chastity.” If you are a Christ-indwelt believer, there are no oughts or shoulds or should-nots on you; Jesus Christ nailed the ordinances to the Cross. What you are now is a vessel filled with Christ, and the more you rely on that Person, the more he will be expressed through the daily life. Some people are called to one thing; other people are called to other things. Some are called to be missionaries in Africa; others are called to be homeschool moms. It would be a pretty boring (and useless) Body if we were all exactly supposed to do the same cookie-cutter thing.

  47. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Mt 6: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  Therefore, ​a​when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret ​​will Himself reward you ​​openly.”

    Question: Can taking a vow of poverty lead to self-righteousness?

    “We must be jealous for God against ourselves and look well to the cunning and deceitful self – ever cunning and deceitful until it is informed of God – until it is thoroughly and utterly denied…..Until then its very denials, its very turnings from things dear to it for the sake of Christ, will tend to foster its self-regard, and generate in it a yet deeper self-worship.” George MacDonald

  48. Abbye West-Pates

    We’ve been talking a lot about “holding onto” and “giving away” and responsibility for others – all necessary to talk about! But let us remember that no matter how little or how much we have, if we can’t physically give outwardly, can we invite inwardly? Meaning, can we invite the neighbor to dinner? Can we let the transient young couple into the living room and give them a bandaid (when what they need is much more) and some sweet tea and talk in the living room for 20 minutes?

    Sometimes giving away is easier; inviting in is the hard stuff.

  49. Judi

    Laura, thank you for posting your comment.

    Pete, if the word ‘wife’ had been changed to ‘husband,’ I wouldn’t have had as much of an issue. You really think it’s the same? I’d appreciate that if that were true but people don’t talk about the financial decisions women face after getting married to a man. I might have felt less frosty if ‘wife’ was used and instead of followed by “appreciate a nice dress, a bouquet of flowers or a nice kitchen…” ( all material goods!) was followed by “..appreciate practicing hospitality together toward their neighbors, being able to travel to visit aging family out of state, or support local musicians with gifts of financial support.”

    Abbye, I appreciate your comment.

  50. Keith Schambach

    Ron (or any MacDonald fans, though Ron seems to be the expert)-
    I would like some suggestions on where I should begin enjoying the works of George MacDonald. He is so often quoted, but many times the reference is not given. I am a big fan of Lewis, but I don’t own a single book by MacDonald. Where, in your opinion(s) is the best place to start a MacDonald book collection? Also, where is that quote from?
    Thanks

  51. kelli

    Keith…there are so many good places to start with George MacDonald!

    http://www.johannesen.com/ carries his unedited works. They are beautifully bound and a treasure to have, but they are also a bit more expensive than a standard book.

    You can also find many of his works online here… http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/m#a127 and here… http://www.online-literature.com/george-macdonald/

    I have actually printed out many of the works above to read (I don’t love reading online).

    There are also 2 different men who have edited quite a few of GMD’s works…Michael Phillips and Dan Hamilton (Dan’s wife, Elizabeth, has also edited a few). I have read many of the edited versions, as they are much easier to find. Most of them are no longer in print, but used copies can be found on PaperbackSwap, Amazon, Albris, Abe Books, etc. GMD’s truths in his characters still spill out in these editions, and I will continue to read them until I have fully built my Johannesen library!

    As far as where to start…this is always a hard question! The quotes that Ron shared above are from Thomas Wingfold, Curate. It is an excellent place to start! The edited title of this book is The Curate’s Awakening. ! What’s Mine’s, Mine, Sir Gibbie and Donal Grant, Malcolm and Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood are a few of my favorites.

    To find the edited titles, this is a good resource… http://www.macdonaldphillips.com/newclassics.html

    GMD’s fantasies are also a good place to start…Phantastes and Lilith are his two adult fantasy novels.

    I hope this helps, and hopefully someone else will better be able to recommend a good place to start. It’s just so hard for me to choose from this man who has taught me more than any other author about my Maker and my relationship with Him!

  52. kelli

    Oh, Keith…sorry! I hadn’t read Ron’s comment above yours. I’m not sure where that quote is from! I think it if from one of his Unspoken Sermons. I thought you were referencing something else:)

  53. Marilyn H.

    Thank you for this post. I considered these issues for several days before deciding not to purchase the top tier. I was giddy with excitement about the possibility of enjoying a cup of coffee with one of my favorite artists, but I wondered if it was good stewardship of our money, or if it bordered on idol worship. I felt a little guilty about even considering the option, when many of our family and friends are struggling just to get by. With that said, my husband and I would be happy to buy you a cup of coffee when you are in Lawrence on September 17. It would be a very small token of our appreciation for your ministry and your willingness to travel to our neck of the woods.

  54. Robert Treskillard

    “[Simplicity is] a life uncluttered by television and power bills and traffic jams–a life enriched by the intense joy of interacting with other souls at a profoundly deep level, which is what we were meant for.”

    Amen. Thanks, Andrew.

  55. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Keith, the quote is from Unspoken Sermons Series Two: Self-Denial.

    Donal Grant or Thomas Wingfold, Curate, are both great places to start. Lilith and Phantastes, maybe later. I have come to prefer the unedited versions over the Phillips “for today’s reader” but it depends on whether or not one is used to reading older books.

  56. Jenn

    I love all that is in the Rabbit Room including these posts and I LOVE the mugs and I thought the fact they were hand crafted made them a steal for the price they were.

    But, I’m always a little touchy when a married makes a comment about the single life. I’m single in my late 30s. And, I’m pretty happy being single but by this time, most of my friends are married. I get they have different responsibilities. I get the relationship we had when we were all single is now different. But, what I don’t think marrieds get is that even though we have the freedom to do whatever we want after a day at work because no one cares… The fact is, NO ONE CARES. When I have problem, it is my problem. When I want to move furniture, it is my furniture to move. I say all this knowing I have really GREAT friends… but they are friends with families and responsibilities that are not me. That’s not bad, it’s just we are different. Singles do have other responsibilities. I will be looking after my parents, alone. I will take care of my mentally challenged brother, alone. They will be my priority over freedom. And, God has got it all under control.

    Even though this comment may make it seem otherwise. I really did love your posts. I almost don’t even want to post my comment but it’s just a touchy thing for me. I really appreciated your response today and I get it. We are just different and all responsible to God. And I loved all the memories you brought back of Rich Mullins and the Kid Brothers. That man, his family, his friends, and his fans have all had a huge impact on my life for the better. I was there both times you sang at Legacy Fest. And on more than one occasion, I have thanked God for you and all the Square Pegs/Rabbit Roomers. I sort of feel you’ve picked up where Rich left off in my life. God is good. And please never ever stop writing.

  57. Susan D.

    Abbye West-Pates, thank you for your comment.

    Keith, I too shared your question as I read Ron Block’s comments.
    Ron/Kelli, thanks for the suggestions on George MacDonald

    As for the rest of the post, I’m late in reading, and I know there are follow-up posts. So, I’ll save any comment until I get to the end. Thanks all for such a great discussion!

  58. Pracades

    Late on commenting, but just wanted to add something..

    Judi–I am a 28 year-old wife with two children and one on the way. I am currently working to put my husband through college after a four year stint in the military and I have to say, in my circumstance, it would be the same if “wife” were replaced by “husband.” One thing that instantly comes to mind for me is a plasma screen tv we just recently purchased as an upcoming graduate gift for my husband. He has been drooling over the things since they came out 8 years ago when we first got married, but we were content to keep the tv that we already had at the time, that was already bought and paid for. But when the opportunity arrised for me/us to be able to afford this extravangance, I jumped at the opportunity and bought him the very best that our money could buy.Certainly it was not a need, and definitely the money could have been used towards something greater, but the look on my husbands face when that TV was delivered was priceless and I do not regret the purchase. So, no, it is not always the man sacrificing for the woman, it goes both ways, and husbands appreciate a little extravagance now and then, just like wives do.

    I agree with most of the comments here, in the end, the choice is left up to the individual.

  59. Joshua Kemper

    Kemper Special
    Probably the cheapest, healthiest, most common and (fortunately) my favorite meal when I was growing up.
    layered in a big pan with a lid:
    Ground beef (hamburger)
    Shredded carrots
    Shredded or chopped cabbage
    Chopped onions
    A cup of water (for steam)
    salt and pepper
    I didn’t get real chucks until I was in my 20s but in junior high my parents were nice enough to get us the Payless version.
    Andrew you’re my Rich – either that or I’m your Incrediboy (ominous, creepy laugh)

  60. hickez

    Thank you for this. Rich Mullins had a profound effect on my life but too often I think I admire the man and not the God he served. Here’s for a life of simplicity.

If you have a Rabbit Room account, log in here to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *