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My review of the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan

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My rating:  2 stars out of 5

While reading this book his writing style seemed very flowery, and every now and then he had a very good point. I only agree with about a third of what he said. I do feel he would take one statement from the Bible, not necessarily in context, and use that as the whole basis of the point he is trying to make. His overall theme seems to be very Catholic in nature. “I deserve nothing, I am not worthy of anything, I must constantly suffer.” I disagree. I do agree with his premise that we should examine ourselves and see if we are living the Christian life as God calls us and that we should be continuously working on our relationship with God, just like we might work on a relationship with a friend, spouse, or family member. He mentions that as a society all we ever care about is ourselves and are only concerned with our own goals and dreams when we should be giving more to the poor. I do agree that in American Society we are usually only concerned with the size of our house and how expensive our car is or the size of our boat. We typically don’t give a hoot about anybody but ourselves. He walks the talk and I like the fact he leads by example in that he has taken the same modest salary since day one, downsized his house, his church donates 50% of their proceeds, and they downsized their expansion by a large amount. These are admirable. I disagree that achieving goals and dreams is a bad thing for I believe goals and dreams come from God and achieving those are a good thing. I disagree that we should all live at the same economic level, and by doing so, we will solve the plague of poverty. He mentions the radical philosophy that “you downsize so others can upsize.” He advocates all of us living at the mean salary of $46k per year and donating the rest to charity.

To back up this way of thinking he quotes the Apostle Paul who says, to paraphrase, no one should have too much, no one should have too little. Paul mentioned an example in the Jewish Culture where those who had plenty shared with those who were needy, as someday it might be reversed. That is actually one of the ways the Jewish Culture has survived the way it has. Those who have a lot help those who don’t until they get back on their feet. This way no one has too much and no one has too little. What Chan left out is the part where Paul states that in sharing it shouldn’t be a case of now the other person has is easy while you suffer. Chan further points to a singular verse in the Bible where it says to sell all of your possessions and give to the poor as being a singular Truth we should all live by. He states that the Truth hurts. His example of this Truth in action is of the guy at his church, upon hearing the Truth, donated his house to the church and moved in with his parents, stating it didn’t matter where he lived as long as he has a house in heaven. I disagree. That is too extreme. In another example he talked about the Pastor in Africa who had a tooth ache, and had to leave to go have it fixed. He told the Dentist to remove all of his teeth so as to never have to leave again the people he is serving because of a tooth ache. This a very noble thing to do. Yet, I view it as being unnecessarily extreme.

Chan’s idea that we should all live at the mean salary of $46k per year and donate the rest is noble. This idea, though, smacks of communism. It is a known fact that capitalism, despite its flaws, has done more good for more people than any other system. A communist economic system, where we are all equal economically, has not been proven to eliminate the scourge of poverty. In fact, under such a system, more people are poor. Providing economic opportunity has been proven the most successful. It is hard to generate economic opportunity when there is no economic reward or motivation. Why work hard to be successful if all that will happen is that what you worked for will be stripped from you and given to someone else? In cases of world tragedy who has given the most? America. A capitalist system.

Chan’s basic premise, in my opinion, is fundamentally flawed and goes against what I know about God. His argument would lead me to believe that God only provides a finite amount of abundance in this world. There are only so many slices in a pie available to the whole world, and some will get two slices while others get none. Therefore the person who got two slices caused the other person to have none. I fundamentally disagree with this. Everything I have read in the Bible or heard during sermons would indicate that our God is an all powerful and abundant God who will provide. Nowhere does it ever say that God is only providing a finite number of slices in a pie. Nowhere. God does say over and over that we should share what we have and not let Greed and Selfishness get the better of us. He does say in Deuteronomy that when we become successful and have the house we want and the gold and silver in our account we should not forget who made us successful. I believe we should share our talents and share our good fortune rather than feel guilty, give it all away, and suffer.

Pointing to the singular verse that states “sell all of your possessions and give them to the poor” and declaring that to be the unequivocal Truth without reading the whole passage leads to a contradiction. I read the whole passage and that statement is part of a passage where Jesus is telling us to have Faith in God and that He will provide for us and to not worry so much about things and that God has provided for the birds and created beautiful flowers and yet we are more important than those things and they don’t worry, so why do we worry so much on whether God will provide? God will provide abundance. Yet he takes just one statement from that whole passage and declares it to be the the dogmatic Truth. Sell all of your possessions and give them to the poor. End of story. Again, I disagree.

I would use Doctors Without Borders as an example. Those Doctors have successful careers and have talents the rest of us don’t have. They worked hard for where they are and I am sure most of them are well off financially. My guess is that few of them sold all of their possessions and went back to living in a tent. Yet, they give of their talents in some of the toughest places on the planet to make the world a better place. Chan might disagree with me, but I believe this is a better interpretation of what God wants us to do.

In summary my fundamental problem with Chan’s book is that he seems to be advocating very much a “I deserve nothing, I am not worthy of anything, I must constantly suffer” mentality in his quest to get us to re-examine our relationship with God. He seems to be promoting the idea that we all should be living at the same level economically, as there there are only so many slices of pie in the world to go around, and that the less we have the more saintly we are. I disagree on all counts. I believe God has given the green light for us to be successful and prosperous. He wants us though to not forget who made us successful and not let Greed and Selfishness rule the day. I believe our goals and dreams come from God. He wants us to use our talents and gifts. I use the Parable of the Talents as an example. He wants us to be generous with what he has given us and to share our abundance and talents to make the World a better place. Doctors Without Borders is an example of this. Any person who has seen poverty first hand, and I have, will know God wants us to share. On this point I agree with Chan. I just disagree with him that we should do so in the extreme.

The Deal to End the Minnesota Shutdown

I have to say, I am not thrilled with the deal to end the Minnesota Shutdown.  It just smacks of borrowing from Mary to pay Paul.  Already the state owes the K-12 educational system something like $1.4 billion and now the state will owe $2.1 billion.  Additionally, school districts now have to scramble to figure out where that now nonexistent money is going to come from.  They will have to borrow money, resulting in higher costs to them, as they now have to pay interest on those loans.  Where exactly are they supposed to get that money to make the loan payments?  It is your kid’s future that suffers.  There is not plan in place describing how this money will be paid back in the future.  Where will the money come from?  Borrowing against future tobacco money just means it is paid back with interest.  This is a dangerous way to live.  I don’t blame Governor Dayton as he did everything he could to prevent this from happening.  He made tough choices between miserable options.  I do not not consider myself either a Democrat or Republican.  But come on Republicans.  You can do better than this!  Why the slash and burn mentality?  Making spending match revenue doesn’t have to be an exercise in complete and utter misery.  Creativity is what is needed.   What about selling naming rights to state facilities or even parks?  A long time ago, in Chicago, I got my car towed to the tune of $85.  As I was in Chicago to sell T-shirts for their Memorial Day events, I would ask people to buy my T-shirt to help me out as I got towed that day to the tune of $85.  There were many generous people who did just that, they specifically bought a T-shirt from me to help me out.  Why can’t we ask all Minnesotans, from all economic classes, all companies, big and small, to donate to the state coffers to help improve out economic outlook, and in exchange give them a tax break.  No tax increase, no punitive measures.  Just help us out and we help you.   Similar to what we all do when we are trying to pay down a credit card.  Same mentality.  I am shocked that, as fiscal conservatives, you are promoting the idea of borrowing money in the future to pay for a hamburger today.  I know we can do better than this and based on what I am reading today, we will be re-visiting this miserable experience as we try to figure out how to pay down our much larger deficits in the future, based on the deal we made today.  When I hear “I will gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today” just wrecks my appetite.

Pia Tuscano - I can’t believe it

I watched American Idol and America voted off Pia Tuscano?  I am still in a state of shock.  She has the pipes.  What gives?  I was mad about this and was feeling I don’t want to watch the show anymore….but I will.  It just sucks.  One can argue about her stage presence was lacking, but who can argue about her pipes?  She has them.  I hope she is another Jennifer Hudson.  Somebody has got to pick her up.  She is way too talented to be sitting on the sidelines.  I have a conspiracy theory that says that voters didn’t vote for her because they just assumed she would be safe.  Wrong!  Come on America, I voted for her.  In fact I voted for all the people I want to continue.  I learned a long time ago to not assume a singer is going to move along.  We have to actually vote for them to get the votes!  Arrrggghhhh!

Go Twins!

Ok, our boys are down by 2 games, with games 3 and 4 in New York.  Does it look grim?  Yes.  Are we given much chance? No.  Do we give up? No.  Do we throw in the towel?  No.  Is the game played on the field?  Yes.  Can we come back?  Yes.  One pitch at a time?  One at bat at a time.  One swing at a time.  Go Twins!

DWTS Janelle Monae

I saw Jenelle Monae sing on DWTS last week and was impressed, but never heard of her before.  I was surfing the web and came across information on her.  Wow, she is really talented and just now coming into super stardom, and I am guessing her appearance on DWTS is really going to help.

asks:
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INANIMATE OBJECT?

A big rock by the ocean

As I recently wrote this book, I figured I should give my book a shameless plug.  You can, of course, go to http://www.yarndogPress.com to check it out!

As I recently wrote this book, I figured I should give my book a shameless plug.  You can, of course, go to http://www.yarndogPress.com to check it out!

I took this picture in Fremantle, Australia, which is 10 miles from Perth.  This lighthouse sits at the junction of the Swan River and the Indian Ocean.

I took this picture in Fremantle, Australia, which is 10 miles from Perth.  This lighthouse sits at the junction of the Swan River and the Indian Ocean.

Hello

I am new to tumblr, so I am just playing around, seems pretty cool.  I found out about this because John Mayer left Twitter and said he was going to Tumblr, so I figured I better check it out, not that I do whatever John Mayer says, this is just a chance happening.