On Saturday, a conversation with a money-coaching client strayed into the realm of worldview, philosophy and religion. It happens more often than you’d think. We start out figuring out how to get out of debt or how to save for the kids’ tuition, and in the mix talk about financial anxiety and somewhere along the way we often start to frame those questions in a larger picture. Me included.
I’m one of a dying breed – someone who is, dare I say it, a practicing member of organized religion. Unfashionable but there you have it.
Specifically, I am a parishioner of St. James Anglican Church – socially liberal (yes to gays), theologically conservative (yes to Jesus being God-in-the-flesh not simply a good moral teacher), and politically activist (lets feed the hungry and house the homeless already).
I believe that some day I will be asked (gently, but still) to account for my life. I imagine the two main questions will be something along the lines of,
1. Nancy, I went to a lot of work to create the earth. How deeply did you enjoy it?
2. And, you also shared the world with a lot of other people just as inherently valuable as you. How well did you love your neighbour? (and anyone who knows the story of the good samaritan knows that ‘neighbour’ doesn’t just refer to your friendly summer rooftop bbq with the people in your condo strata, but the people who your culture tends to easily dismiss and despise. In my case, I interpret that as my literal neighbours, the homeless who are addicts and often mentally ill).
Re: #2: I hope I’m inching my way towards allocating my money towards caring for my neighbours. I’m not going to disclose specifics, but a few more people get practical care than otherwise might, and I’m also learning, when asked for change, to overcome my awkwardness and buy the person some groceries at a nearby shop. This doesn’t happen often, but it feels right when I do it.
Also, I’m changing how I eat for my own good, but also to better respect the inequities in access to food (ie. it’s not right that I’m carrying excess kilos while the homeless lunatic across the street is malnourished).
On the first question, my 2008 goal is to slow down and absorb the simple pleasures in life. I had one this weekend – discovering a sweet little song, innocent, youthful, lovely. Catch the lyrics – they’re worth it. Here it is: