dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish


Join the Rebelution

I don't know how many of you have clicked through my links, but in case you haven't, I need to recommend one link in particular. The Rebelution, started by Alex and Brett Harris, has been one of my favorite websites since I found it last fall. While it is directed mainly at young Christian men and women, it's worthwhile reading for people of any age. And, as if that weren't exciting enough, they have revamped and expanded their website, now including discussion forums, conference information, and links to articles written by people such as Dr. Albert Mohler and John Piper. I could tell you more, but instead, check it out for yourself!



Changing Seasons

One season must end before another begins. I know. There is nothing profound in that statement. But sometimes I want to enjoy two seasons at once.

What brings these thoughts to mind is the fact that summer just ended--and please don't remind me that fall doesn't officially start until September 23. Monday is the beginning of my next school semester--the Fall Semester. Whatever the calendar might say, I think there must be a reason why people say "summer vacation" and "fall semester." This is a bittersweet time for me. I love summer: the vacations; the time with family and extended family; the sports; and, yes, the extra free time. But I love fall as well: the crisp air, the hikes through the woods, and the coming of the holidays. I only wish that I could have the best of both seasons.

I guess this is nothing new for me. Whenever something fun or exciting happens, or whenever I make some great memories, I begin to wonder when it (the activity or event) will happen again. I want a repeat experience. If we have a church picnic, I can't wait for the next one. If we go to a bonfire, I begin to think about when we can do it again. I suppose that all of us, when we enjoy something, would like to repeat the experience.

The problem is that seasons change--and I'm not just talking about the four that come 'round every year. Even if the same activity happens, it will not be an exact repeat; who takes part might change, or else be changed. The danger of good memories lies in always comparing them to the present, and feeling that the present doesn't measure up if anything is different.

Seasons change. Thank God that they do. I don't really want to continue working my summer job through the rest of the year; and yet, when next summer comes around, I'll be glad to work and to have some time off of school. But the reason I'm grateful for change is not that it keeps me from boredom: there are many responsibilities in life that will continue, even as years or decades go by. Instead, I'm grateful because God uses change to remind me that I'm not in control and that He is. I otherwise tend to become confident in what I know, thinking that it amounts to a whole lot more than it does. Change brings challenges. Challenges remind me of my weaknesses. And my weaknesses remind of my need for God and of His greatness.



A Better Way to Waste? (Pt. 2)

In addition to the issue of saving money in order to waste it elsewhere, there is the problem of wasting time in order to save money. A few days ago, shortly after buying the textbook for one of my classes this semester, I discovered that I could have saved about $6.50 by buying it elsewhere. My thoughts upon realizing this resembled the following: Bummer. Well, it's not a huge difference on an eighty dollar book. Then again, $6.50 is $6.50. If I'd spent $6.50 on a few ice cream cones and dropped them on the sidewalk, I'd feel I lost it for nothing.

The book is returnable, and I might return it to buy it at the lower price--a minor hassle, considering I could be going back anyway--but thinking about it made me wonder, what makes it worth it to take the extra time to save money? And how do we know when, in our attempts to save money, we are instead wasting time?

First there are obvious cases: the "big ticket" items such as houses and cars. A wise person will spend the necessary time to investigate different options, compare costs and benefits, and make an informed decision. But what about smaller things? It's obvious that it's important to shop around for the best price on cars; it's obvious that it's much less important to shop around for the best price on apples; but what about the stuff in between, like books or electronics?

Now, I realize that with the internet it is possible to compare a lot of prices online. But this is not always possible. At such times, you must ask yourself whether it's worthwhile to go to two or three different stores to discover where you can save a few dollars.

The first question to ask, I think, is whether your time would be better spent elsewhere. If you're supposed to run to the store to buy some more soft drinks before the cookout begins, it's probably better to pay a little extra at the convenience store and return to help around the house than to drive an extra twenty minutes to save money at the superstore. I'm sure you could come up with plenty of other, better examples, but I think you can understand my point.

But if there is nothing else in particular that we should be doing? Like me, you've probably heard (without having any idea where) the saying, "Time is money." Materialists may intend it to mean that time is to be turned into money. In my opinion, however, this saying points out the willingness that even--or especially--the frugal may have to waste time.

So when is it worthwhile to spend an extra thirty minutes to go to another store? Remember that other saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned"? (Actually, taking taxes into account. . . never mind.) Here is my theory: if you're saving less money hourly than you make hourly, it's probably not worth your time. Because that probably didn't make a lot of sense, I'll give an example. The items on a certain grocery list can be purchased at the SuperCenter for $120. The shopping takes one hour. The same groceries can be purchased for a total of $100 if one goes to five different stores scattered across town. To do this, however, would take three hours. To a person earning $8/hour, saving twenty dollars in two hours would be well worth it. The same may not be true, however, for a person earning $20/hour.

Let me clarify a few things. First, I don't believe that we can categorically put a quantifiable value on time. If this were so, it would never be worthwhile for us to have non business-related conversations. If, however, the time in question would be spent trying to save money, this way of thinking might be useful.

Second, just as we must ask ourselves who our money belongs to, so too we must also ask ourselves Who our time belongs to. One person, in best stewarding his time and money, may spend more time saving money, while another may spend more money saving time. I'm curious to hear what others think. And yes, I admit to often being way too analytical.



A Better Way to Waste? (Pt. 1)

Everyone's had it happen. Fresh off of filling your tank with gas, you discover that you could have saved money by filling up at a different gas station. If you're like me, you immediately begin calculating how much money you could have saved. Let's see. . . eight cents per gallon. . . I bought about twelve gallons. . . that's a whole dollar down the drain.

Obviously, we'd all love to get the best deal on gasoline--and everything else, for that matter. The problem is that we can often spend time bemoaning the money wasted in such ways while ignoring the money wasted in other ways. I'm not about to get into a whole discussion of discretionary spending--read Money, Possessions & Eternity for a strong, Biblical perspective--but I wonder, do we consider our use of all dollars equally? Do we only desire to find the best deals so that we can waste that money in other ways?

The character Richard Carstone, from Charles Dickens' Bleak House, serves as an exaggerated example of this attitude. Though a kind young man, Richard was quite näive, especially when it came to money. On several occasions, his friends talked him out of foolish expenditures. Richard, however, viewed this not merely as money saved, but as money credited to him. Thus, if he nearly wasted £2, he believed he could spend £1 elsewhere, and come out £1 ahead overall.

While his reasoning is somewhat comical, it begs a serious question: what is wasting money? Coming to this point, I sometimes argue, At least I'm getting something out of it. That dollar I wasted when I filled up my tank got me nothing. I'm still getting [fill in the blank] with this money. The thing that makes the matter complicated is that this is usually true. Obviously, there's nothing inherently wrong with buying a soft drink, a new shirt, or a snack. Overall, I suppose the question comes to be whether or not we view "our" money as God's. Do we buy soft drinks, shirts, and snacks on impulse, or are we looking for opportunities to give?

But what about that dollar wasted on the gas? Are we not to care? Here's my conclusion. It's great to get the best price on gas, but we need to ask ourselves why. Why do we want to save money? Is it because we want more to use as we desire, or because we want to be good stewards of what God has given us? If the dollar is already gone, and we view the money as God's, yet still feel frustrated, are we trusting God to help us use it best?

The other side of this issue is the fact that the money isn't always the issue. Free stuff isn't always good to have. If a free donut is going to make me feel sick, or a free computer game is going to tempt me to waste time, I still should pass it up. But this post is long enough. I'll have to write about time and money later.



Quote of the Month

"We are never thankful for what we think we deserve. We are deeply thankful for what we know we don't deserve."
--Randy Alcorn, The Grace and Truth Paradox



AiG Museum Visit

One might wonder if it is worth it to spend over 8 hours on the road to visit a not-yet-completed museum for an afternoon. Well, it is, if that museum is the new Answers in Genesis Creation Museum.

[a picture of the still-under-construction facility]

After joining Josiah D, director of the Akron Fossils & Science Center, and his caravan last Friday for the behind-the-scenes event at the museum--we were able to walk through the museum and grounds, hear Ken Ham speak, and get a group photo with him--I can hardly wait for the official opening next spring.

While I had expected more of a focus on archaeological exhibits and displays (i.e. a bunch of bones), I'm impressed by the approach that they are taking. I could try to describe the Seven C's of History here. But, better yet, why not let you read Ken Ham's own explanation?