It seems that Money is an interesting topic. Perhaps we could go on forever on this subject. David mentioned in his previous post about a Money Mart moving into his neighborhood. He drew the conclusion that the most powerful tenets of our society are debt and money, in that order. I am fully in the camp of utter disgust when it comes to how money is treated in our society. My previous post was argued from the point of money-wise individuals. "Can a Christian own a $50,000 car?" I answered, "Yes." But this argument drew the assumption that the purchase was not one entrenched in the problem of debt and money.
For how much money is a taboo subject, I talk about it a lot with people. Jeanette and I recently bought a house, and we have tried to be as money-wise as possible in the entire process. We realize that with the purchase of a house we are entering into a long contract of debt. In a sense, we are now slaves to the mortgage payments. As much as it would be great to avoid this, the number of people that can buy a house outright is very low. Especially as the housing markets inflate. However, we carefully and prayerfully chose the timing of the house and the house itself. We know the debt we are going into, and we feel that we are capable of sustaining the level of payments, increasing them at times to finish the mortgage before its allotted time. Other than a mortgage, we don't ever plan on being in debt. We use credit cards all the time, but only to get "points," making sure to pay the balance early and to the penny.
When David talks about the issues our society has with money, I agree with him. In general, society doesn't know how to deal with it. When Jeanette and I make a purchase, we like to make it "upfront". No "don't pay for a year" schemes. If we can't pay for it now, we won't buy it. For some individuals, this "pay later" attitude has become so ingrained that they are carrying a large balance on their credit card, saving up money, then wanting to throw it in a GIC. They don't realize that they are racking up 18% in loan interest while trying to invest at 4%. Their money would be far better invested by paying off their credit-card debt.
As much as this is horribly ridiculous, people don't see it. We laugh when we see the "minimum" payment on our credit card bill. But to some people that number is a way that they can hold onto more cash in the present. If our lust for the $50,000 car is pushing us into hot financial waters, we need to back off. We can't let money run our lives. There are many individuals who are enslaved to money. We need to stand out and look different. If a Money Mart moves in across the street from our church, maybe we need to do something about it.