Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2 things brought up this passage in an hour, so I feel compelled to bring it up a third and round it out.

Genesis 2:18: The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make an ezer suitable for him."

Ezer. You probably added in the word helpmate from memory. This for me conjures up the image of a woman standing behind a man giving him a boost. or providing a third hand. or grabbing the edger while he mows. or cooking a meal for him while he works. Helpmate.

Contrast this with the roles taken on by an ezer in other places in Scripture. The image of ezer elsewhere is of God delivering from the sword of Pharoah (Exodus 18:4). and contending against the adversary (Deuteronomy 33:7). and saving his people (Deuteronomy 33:29). and assisting the troops (Ezekiel 12:14). and answering in the day of trouble (Psalm 20:2).

On and on... every time this exact title is used, all 16 other times for "ezer" in the Old Testament, it is used as a military assistance and deliverance, most often as a title for God. So where does this "boost" idea come from?

Here's the 2 contexts of the hour:
1. A college student asks me how I defend biblically my role as a woman in the ministry of the church. My answer? Sure-- I could have talked about the roles of Esther and Deborah. I can discuss the principle versus the application of Paul's letters. But really, I see all of that as flushing out what it looks like that God said it was NOT GOOD for man to be alone, that he needed a helper suitable for him to take on the Kingdom work of subduing the earth, even before the fall. And so I conclude that men and women need each other in ministry. It's not good to take on God's work alone. So we need one another in the home, the church, and the business world.

2. The Boston Globe published a photo essay about the most dangerous countries for women in the world. And all I could think was-- it is NOT GOOD for man to be alone! Why are women being treated in these horrific fashions? It goes against what God has created and ordained for his world.

We must, really must, recapture the God-given mandate to work together!

"I lift my eyes up to the hills. Where does my ezer come from? My ezer comes from the LORD, maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121: 1-2

PS. Carolyn Custis James wrote a book about the role of women in the church, and she introduced me to the meaning of ezer throughout the Bible, as a word used to describe the military might and help of YHWH, the LORD God.

talkin' money

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I know we (as in, we as a people, generally) don't talk about money very often. But we did, kinda, with new friends this weekend, and we got a great idea from them!

They keep 1 main bank account and everything for the month gets paid out from it. But then they have 2 separate checking accounts, 1 for each of them, that is used for spending money. It doesn't get tracked in the major budget, and you can spend it however you'd like. The money for the spending accounts comes from the leftover at the end of the month, which is split in half.

I love this idea of a spending account that I can use to get myself a pedicure, a new album on iTunes, or to save up my birthday money without it disappearing into the oblivion of the monthly budget. I know Larry likes the idea of being able to save up for the new iPhone 5 without hand calculating how much of the current checking account is "his." I married a saver, while mine tends to go $10 at a time. But the idea of splitting the difference at the end of the month doesn't work for 2 students whose pay checks aren't identical month-to-month, and neither are our student expenses (like the $1500 semesterly health insurance check we're about to write!). So we've modified the idea and come up with this:

- 2 separate spending accounts, 1 for each of us
- $15 a month going into each account plus any birthday/holiday money. Plus Christmas spending money for the other spouse so that we don't see what the other one bought.

So I thought I'd just open it up and see if anybody else has some ingenius money ideas out there that they're hoarding just because people don't talk about money! Do you keep separate spending accounts? How has it worked out for you? Any bugs in this system you want to warn me about?

give it away now

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I’ve just finished cram-studying church history from about 1600AD to present. Exam’s done. This is the first thing I read afterward, and it’s quite a bit of the theology and history in my exam in one article from my financial website:
"Are You Ready to Start Giving Money to Charity" from Mint.com

You can get the gist for yourself, but basically they’re saying that donating money lacks financial wisdom. So don’t do it. Be like the airlines. Put your own mask on first.

But then they throw in this last line with the most tremendous sense of irony and dispacement with the rest of the article:

In fact, he’s done economic numbers crunching to establish “that when people give more money away, they tend to prosper.”

Well, Fancy that.

What are your thoughts? What value do you find in “giving away” money? Where have you seen this trend before?