Tuesday, August 18, 2009

book review: enough

i am fascinated by just about any conversation or book dealing with the subject "enough." i took a course in grad school that was simply called "enough." i wrestle in my everyday life with the concept of "enough," when i see enormous food competitions on tv, or vehicles as large as helicopters filling up with $80 of gas at the local hess station, and even when i consider my own tendency to 'collect' things. how much is enough? this questions fascinates and intrigues me.
so needless to say i was very interested when i found out that adam hamilton had written a book called "enough." adam is the pastor of the united methodist church of the resurrection in leawood, kansas, and i have always been impressed with his take on things. when he spoke at our annual conference in may, he really knocked my socks off, so i bought the book this summer and just finished it.
his starting point is very timely, and that is that the current economic situation has everyone feeling a bit edgy at least, and more likely quite stressed out or even depressed. but he isn't just offering a critique of the american/consumerist financial system, he is saying that behind the direct causes (sub-prime mortgages, fraud, what he calls "affluenza and credit-itis," etc.) are underlying, spiritual problems.
and so the book serves as a primer for how we ought to view money and possessions as followers of Jesus in our current context. it isn't a long book - only about 100 small pages - but it is remarkably full of good stuff for its size. the book doesn't only offer a spiritual critique, but is very intentional about offering some real practical advice, too, for getting out of debt, for mananging money, for choosing simplicity, and for cultivating gratitude. its real strength, though, in my opinion, is how it connects the practical with the spiritual, offering a strong biblical basis for why our attitude towards money and possessions ought to be strikingly different than our culture's. he is urging his readers towards some intentional choices of simplicity, contentment, gratitude and generosity. as such, the book is really a welcome voice when so much of what the Christian marketplace has offered has been 'prosperity gospel' stuff that tells you that 'if you just really pray this prayer, God will bless you with more land and more stuff and abundance." hamilton helps us ask ourselves, "how much is enough?" and "why can't i learn to be abundantly grateful with what i have, sharing my abundance with others? " it isn't necessarily ground-breaking, but in about 100 pages he has offered a very approachable look at how Christians ought to be dealing with their money and their attitudes toward their possessions in our current context. i recommend it. (i'll let you borrow mine, if you don't want to buy it!)


Anonymous said...

nice blog. I bought it but didn't read it yet. maybe after I'm ordained at 63 I'll get to it! LOL
Hope you guys are having a great summer!

greg. said...

hey stranger! hey, just look at it this way: when you are ordained, you only have to work for a couple of years before you retire! ha! we're having a great summer. hope you are too. see you on twitter.