Thursday, October 26, 2006

Autumn Skies

I'm guessing I'm like most people and go through life moving from one task to another. When I get particularly busy, I can develop tunnel vision only noticing that which is right in front of me. Twice in the past two weeks I've been graciously pulled out of such narrow focus.

Both instances had to do with the color of the sky. Just a week ago, I was turning the corner to go down our third floor stairs and I happened to glance up at the typically boring view of the back of my neighbors' homes. It was about 6:00 PM and the sun was hitting the trees behind the tall narrow houses so that they looked as if they were on fire. I yelled down to Chad and he came running with the camera. We both climbed out onto our 3rd floor deck to admire the colors and take pictures. Of course, they don't do justice to the beauty. They don't even come close but they at least serve as a reminder.

And again, just yesterday I was returning from my favorite coffee shop (Coyote Joes near the Capital City mall) and the sky was again lit in golden hues. This time the whole city was golden....even Market Square's steeple.

One of the characters in the movie, American Beauty, says while watching a video of a bag blowing in the wind, "Sometimes there is so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it and my heart is just going to cave in." I know that feeling - when the beauty steals our breath and leaves us utterly powerless. I want such moments to last but the sun sinks over the horizon and the colors change.

I'm thankful for these fleeting moments, however, not only for shocking me out of my task oriented life but for calling me to look more closely for the beauty that surrounds us at every moment.

And on a completely different topic, I recommend the Mocha Monkey at Coyote Joes!

Monday, October 23, 2006

How Much is Enough?

Last night we looked at 1 Timothy 6:6-10. The text sparked a conversation about our financial resources. We discussed our desire for material possessions such as cars, an XBox, and clothes from Polo or Ann Tyler. How much can we spend on these things? Should we buy them even if we can afford them? What should we be doing with our money?

This turned to conversation to the church. Do we want the church to tell us how to spend our money? We laughed at the fact that most stewardship sermons make us uncomfortable. Is that because we don't like the church talking about money or because they hit too close to home? Huh, we'll have to sort that one our for ourselves.

We then discussed the idea of contentment. The text suggested that we need to be content with food and clothing but most of us find that we always want more. We think that if we can earn just a few dollars more, life would be easier. We could take that much needed vacation and actually get away. We could buy the coffee or get a pedicure without having to count our pennies and carefully budget such frivolities into our spending habits. And yet, when do we have enough? All of us were honest enough to admit that most likely we'd always want just a little more (unless we were Bill Gates or Paris Hilton......would it really make any difference at that point?!). So at what point do we find contentment? And is contentment such a good thing? Does it bread complacency and take away our drive to do better?

We decided that we can find contentment or satisfaction in our financial position. We also felt that contentment did not equal complacency. One can still strive to improve whether it be in their personal life, career, or even their hobbies (For example, is there anything wrong with looking for the best beer in any particular genre?) and be content even in the midst of the striving. We noted that many of the great inventions never made their inventors millionaires. Just think of the guy that invented the polio vaccine. Do you even know his name? We're pretty sure he wasn't rolling in the dough. If you would like to find out, here's a link about good ole' Jonas Salk.

So, we didn't solve any of life's great mysteries but we at least wrestled with our own personal spending habbits. And in the end, how we spend our money may make a greater difference then we can imagine.

By the way, Chad recommends ABC's Porter.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Our Next Gathering

We are meeting at Appalachian Brewing Company Sunday, Oct. 22nd at 7:30 PM. This week we will wrestle with the question, "how much is enough?" Guess that depends what we are talking about, huh!? Join us for lively conversation, good food, and even better beer.