THIS WORLD’S GOODS

The American Chair


The Third-World Chair


“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

1 John 3:17



THIS ISN’T MEANT TO LAY A GUILT TRIP ON ANYONE, but shouldn’t we regularly reconsider how we live? Just think – if each one of us lived a slightly simpler lifestyle, we could make a tremendous difference in the lives of those who are poor. If God’s love dwells in us, shouldn’t we share it, even to the point of making some kind of sacrifice in our own lives? Something to consider …



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Posted on June 14, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. They are both chairs and you sit in them. Doesn’t matter which one if you need to sit, it’s just furniture.

  2. He came for all !

    Samara,
    That was one of the best responses i have heard on this blog yet…way to go !
    God Bless !!

  3. Uncle Dennis…..
    I just love this site lol
    I think I learned more about American politics and history than I ever have from a textbook, in these responses! (besides being Canadian 😉
    My goodness… and I thought University debates were bad.. but I think this just tops it.
    Will.. great humour.
    And Aunt Sharon.. I’ll eat that liver sandwich with you!! 🙂

    I think if we keep in perspective the principle of everyone’s point, and put it together.. you can still apply what Dennis was saying.
    My question is.. have you been to another country.. have you seen the poverty first hand?
    If you haven’t.. and are only coming from the: ‘wealthy’ I can only rely on wealthy Christians or people for support.. then you won’t get it. Not to the full degree.
    Plus, it’s God who uses these people. Ultimately it’s a reliance on God to utilize, and sometimes He uses more than money to bless us and supply all our needs.

    Katie Davis for Amazima Ministries, Machine Gun Preacher in Sudan-Sam Childers, Kay Warren (Rick Warren’s wife), and all she does in her Ministry are great examples of people who did give up everything they had or came to a realization.. to help others in poverty-stricken areas. To think beyond ourselves. Compassion International-World Vision, people who utilize wealth or just anybody with money willing to make a sacrifice to help others. I think if you get the principle around what Dennis is saying.. rather than magnifying how he’s ‘against owning a better chair’.. you’d see a bigger picture.

    I’m sure there’s ways in all our lives, we can cut down a bit, and use our blessings to bless others and the less fortunate.

  4. I like it; this is all good. Speak up, think, let it out – utilize your brain and share your hearts.
    May we at least consider the comments of one another and look into where they may be coming from – is that so crazy? Maybe we can learn some things – at least tolerance.
    And hey – it would be nice if some Jewish people would make a comment now and then if you’re out there. (Sorry, I miss the Jewish flavor of things. I probably need to find a friend I can share a chopped liver sandwich with as we kibitz over such matters.)

  5. Here is a crazy thought … Who has this world’s goods? It is EVERYONE IN THE WORLD!!

    It isn’t dependent on how rich you are or how poor you are. If all you have is the stick chair and the shirt on your back you have the world’s goods. And if your brother really needs 1 stick from your chair shouldn’t you give it? Hmmm…What would Jesus do???

    And similarly, if you live in the good old USA, you have plenty of the world’s goods. And maybe it’s time to examine our lives and simplify. If you don’t need it (and most of our “stuff” we really don’t need) give it to someone who does, WITHOUT ANY CONDITIONS OR JUDGEMENTS. And if you do need it, maybe you should give it anyway and watch the Power of God move in a miraculous way. Oh, this isn’t some “rhema faith” thing, it’s the Word of God.

    And as my Friend and Brother Dennis said so well, “If God’s love dwells in us, shouldn’t we share it, even to the point of making some kind of sacrifice in our own lives? Something to consider …”

  6. Just reading through the comments and wanted to add a few thoughts.

    1. There is this crazy little thing called social consciousness or social responsibility. It does not mean just throwing a few bucks at charities. It means among other things, being a conscious consumer – understanding what the implications of shopping at places such as Wal-Mart are even if they do save you a few bucks.

    2. This country was not founded on Christian principles – that is fact.

    3. This country really does not live by Christian principles – and I’m talking about the conservative segment of the population which includes the Christian right. That is fact.

    4. I agree that it is a shame how Christianity has become politicized. If that’s not bad enough, they support liars, a war that is based on lies, and the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people in the name of “democracy.”

    I stopped attending church years ago and do not plan to go back. In fact my view of God has changed so much since I left. And truly, reading some of your comments…and seeing how you can beat a little issue to death (straining at a gnat), not to mention each other, I have not been missing anything.

    Dennis – I really love the simplicity of the post. It truly does say it all. There are many people that are now changing to a more minimalist lifestyle and looking to change the world and make life better and more equitable for all. These are non-Christians as well as some Christians I’m sure. Socially responsible people that are realizing that we’ve been sold a bill of goods with regard to lifestyle. Time to reevaluate and make changes.

    Ok….I’ve said more than intended. Peace.

  7. Wow! simple and direct. I like that! And I agree. Well said, Dennis.

  8. Sounds like it’s time for a little humor.
    I’ve been seriously workin’ on it, but the cushy recliner still isn’t wide enough for my butt – enough said.

  9. I would like to respond to a couple things that have been written here.
    First, Mrs. David, I applaud your actions and your defense of your Husband. I too live a life of little means as my wife and I have three grown daughters and are in the process of adopting an eight month old orphan. (although we do splurge on good food when we fellowship with others). It was not the action that I was dissenting with, it was the attitude that David portrayed. Many of us who have removed ourselves from the church see clearly that a large percentage of people and leaders in the ‘evangelical’ movement align themselves with the political ‘conservative’ movement. This has really caused fractures in the body and has formed some kind of ‘psudeo-christian-political nationalism. When faced with the idea that America was built upon ‘Christ’ we must consider how much innocent blood was shed for this country to be built. We can start with the Native peoples and move on through history to present day.
    The conservative Christian movement today seems to be ‘bent-hell’ on always finding an enemy. In recent history it was the Communist’s and then moved to the ‘axis of evil’ with whom we are presently engaged.

    If this is or has ever been a Christian Nation then why as Lynn stated have we not conducted our public policy upon 1 Corinthians 13? Why do we as a nation not LOVE our enemy. I will do as you did Lynn, I CANNOT SAY IT LOUD ENOUGH…. Why do we CONDONE war with innocents being slaughtered when the scripture CLEARLY tells us to LOVE our enemy?
    Furthermore, I have seen a clear indication of the demonizing of almost two billion Muslims oozing from the ‘conservitive-christian-nationalist’ movement. It is apparent even at the bottom of Lynn’s post when she made the remark “ Yes, once we were free….now we live like Iran”. This kind of rhetoric does not breed patience, kindness, love or forgiveness. It breeds a ‘we are right and you are wrong’ attitude that creates arrogance and pride.
    This also breeds a mindset that America is supposed to be free to do what they please, where they please, when they please.

    As to the ‘Leaders’ that have made decisions to ‘fall’, Lynn I practice empathy all the time. I have been into the pits of life myself as a full blown alcoholic and junkie. I also know for a fact that Scripture tells us that ‘leaders / teachers / pastors’ will be held to a higher standard than we will. James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
    James makes it clear that judgment will be harsher toward teachers. In the same sense I hold the teacher to a much higher standard, especially when those teachers preach ‘fire’ and ‘sin’ upon their congregations but live by a different standard.

    If I have offended anyone on this posting site, I ask for your forgiveness. I have a passionate spirit and a zeal to get to the truth and the truth alone. I work very hard at not ‘assuming’ that a Pastor, teacher, Fox, MSNBC, CNN or CBN News Channel host as a corner on the Truth.

    When faced with decisions about leadership I refer always to the Master. He led by serving. Washing the feet of His disciples. The message bible says it all in John 1:14a “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood”. You know, I don’t think that He would have been a ‘church planter’ or would have cared about starting a church.
    He would have simply done what He did when He was here last.

    He would have told us to:
    • Love the Father with all of our hearts, mind, body and soul
    • Love our neighbors as ourselves
    • Lay down our lives for others
    • Love our enemies
    • Pray for the one who wants to hurt or kill us
    • Render to Caesar what is Caesars
    • Love our families
    • Raise our children in the way that they must go
    • When we gather to eat, remember Him and His sacrifice for us
    • Carry His message (listed above) to everyone everywhere.

    With regard to the ‘state’ of the church and leadership today He may say:
    • Woe to you who speak out of both sides of your mouths, saying one thing and doing another
    • Woe to you who are collecting millions upon millions of dollars to pay for your campus’s and jets while my people suffer.
    • Woe to you who oppose the shedding of innocent blood through abortion but keep silent while your Army’s kill and murder on every other continent of this Earth.
    • Woe to you who ‘pledge your allegiance’ to a nation and call it My will.
    • Woe to you who cast aspersions upon different cultures and people groups who have been created in ‘MY IMAGE’

    A very close friend of mine made a comment to me years ago and it stuck deep in my soul. We were talking about ‘rights’, you know the American thing. We have the Right to this or that because we are “FREE”.
    He said, Bro, the day you became a follower of Jesus you gave up all of your rights lest one. The right to be called a son of God.

    The Word tells us we are Aliens in a foreign land, we are in the world but not of it. If we are what the Word tells us we are, then why do we have such a need to belong to a nationalistic ideal?
    We are the sons of the Living God, not members of a church, para-church, political party, conservative movement or nationalistic idea.

    I would say that the politicalization of “the Way” is caused by a lack of Faith that God is in charge of EVERYTHING and if we just do what He told us to do, He would take care of the rest.

    Just my two cents…… again
    PEACE

  10. Dear One’s….consider: you which are spiritual restore……it is very easy to judge….what if u walked in his shoes?
    God spoke thru a donkey in the OT!!!!
    There is a saying…will try to recall….it is not those who sit on the side lines and judge and critize but those who are in the thick of the battle…yes they fall short….really more 4 our political leaders…..if I am right the Holy Bible tells us first To Pray 4 ALL who have authority……Why so we can lead a peaceful life, it is alot easier to spread the gospel in that seting.
    Consider did the church fail praying for Pres. Nixon…and are we held accountable, since we know or I thought we did,,,,we wrestle not with flesh and blood…think u find that in Eph., are not the higher ranking powers of darkness let lose on those with out front leadership. How many tears have we shed 4 the leader u spk of….I can SAY IT LOUDLY had I walked in his shoes….would I have….been Jesus oh I forgot Mr H is a human!!!! As I know it the church he started is going strong and restoration is coming to the precious H family. Have we forgotten we are all on the same team….did not ur mom teach u if u can not say something good, sometimes it is better to say anything and talk to the father about the situation> just food 4 thought from one who loves Father, Son and precious Holy Spirit with all my heart and strive to let him love thru me…..like 1 Cor. 13 states…..I like to say it out loud I am love, I am patient, I am kind, I am ever ready to believe the best of every person, not touchy, fretful or resentful. Have not arrived……but he has promised to prefect what concerns me…..also I think he said I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH and the Gates of Hell WILL NOT PREVAIL…..I believe he is doing just that.
    Hope we are awake and remain One Nation Under God and not look back telling our grandkids Yes, once we were free….now we live like Iran!!!! Just a little food 4 thought!!! God’s Best to each of u!!!!! He LOVES US!!!!!

  11. Did I miss something? Has Pat Robertson been accused of these sins? Yes, leaders should be accountable – just as we all should be. Other leaders who have been caught in such things have been ousted by their churches, the proper action to take.

  12. Why is it we make excuses for so many leaders?
    “he aint perfect, but he sure is doing more than griping on a blog”.
    Time and time again, leaders put themselves in positions where they damage themselves or the Church as a whole and we hear things like “well, your not without sin, are you?”… or “cant fault the guy for ‘falling’ because he was ‘under attack’ from the enemy”. Sleeping with your assistant or having sexual relations with a male prostitute while snorting Meth just does not seem like a ‘FALL’ to me. It was a conscious decision to partake in that behavior. Why when we call a spade a spade do we get the ‘scarlet letter’ pressed upon our chest. We are labeled as dissenters or even anti christian. This is wrong.
    This move of making excuses for ‘leaders’ must stop. What ever happened to being accountable, to GOD ?
    Sorry that I’m just a PUTZ griping on a blog.
    PEACE

  13. Wow. I am married to David – his original post was merely pointing out the fact (albeit in a jocular tone) that while the plush chair was obviously excessive, the manufacturing of it did provide employment to those who wove the cloth, made the mechanisms and put it all together. He proceeded to be viciously and hatefully attacked in most of the posts that followed. We have have always lived our lives in the thoughtful way you mentioned Dennis – we have never lived in an extravagant manner. Even when times were better, we never made frivolous purchases – we always asked ourselves if something was necessary and prudent. For many years of our marriage we got by with hand=me=downs – some of them are still around. We rarely travel, and when we do we bring along food from home, so as not to spend too much. I haven’t been in an airplane in over 25 years as it is too expensive for our family of five. Being self-employed, we work hard and struggle every day to make a living and provide for our children. I guess our point of view is different – we depend on businesses and those with money to make a living and have grown tired of the ever increasing attacks on those who provide the means for doing so. Lastly, I feel there has been much more judgement coming from those who have opposed David than the other way around!

  14. Thank you, Will…..4 ur very mature remarks!!!!

  15. Been a while since reding this blog, probably will be awhile again. Seems there is a lot of venom in a few of the posters towards each other.

    “Can’t we all just get along?” Rodney King

    The initial post for us to consider doing more for others was intersting, and the illustration thoughtful. I am sure there is more I can do. I pray I am sensitive to hear what, when and where God would have me do it, and bold enough to repond.

    Joseph was a carpenter and probably made some nice furniture, I imagine Jesus also helped. Do you think they sold this stuff and used the money to buy things they needed, and maybe even things they just wanted? Bet they gave some to the poor too. Wonder what they would think of that but overstuffed lounger with all the accessories?

    Jesus: “Hey dad where can we plug this in?”
    Joseph: “What’s a plug?”

    Lastly, regarding Pat Robertson, in spite of some of the things he has said, I have a respect for a man that carried out a vision to reach millions with the gospel, sent tons of help to the poor, and teach beleivers the Word. He aint perfect but he sure is doing more than griping on a blog.

    God bless us everyone,

    Will

  16. Sorry if I reacted in “defensive mode” to someone’s comment instead of your original blog, Dennis.
    And thanks for the encouragement to keep looking at what we can examine about ourselves in all ways. I am just thankful to be alive and live another day.
    And Mr. David – isn’t it o.k. for us all to have our opinions and be able to voice what we see as injustices, examining ourselves and all that happens around us? Let’s be able to remark, rebut and enjoy our freedom to do so, without getting so fed up that we just call it quits. God’s peace lives in the midst of trials, sufferings, triumphs, and even people not seeing eye to eye.
    I believe that part of being alive is having the ability to be passionate about your experiences in life and what you believe.
    Maybe some of us are just too fiery when it comes to that. May God keep humbling us all and may we seek to be teachable while we voice our hearts.

  17. Sad that the body of Christ has turned so political.

    I am saddened that David’s opinions are that of most in the evangelical group calling themselves the Church of Jesus Christ. Not only are they ‘the’ church, but they are the ‘only’ church. You’re either ‘IN’ or you’re ‘OUT’.

    Radical, SOLD OUT, ON FIRE… always just one step better than the rest !

  18. BOY>>>>David…….I love ur thinking. I love every one else too….cause christ lives in me…and if u know him…u are my sis or bro., and even though I strongly disagree……i always try to apply the thinking “THERE BUT 4 THE GRACE OF GOD GO I”

    Have a Great day…..remember Jesus said they would know us (believers by our love.)

    It has been stated christians are so busy judging, shooting each other….that the world is GOING TO HELL!!!!!!
    Lynn Cearley Clay Eager

  19. And all over a couple of chairs. My, my, my …

    Again, my intention in posting these images was merely to look at our own lives, see how we might slightly simplify them to have a little left over to give to the poor. There was no political intention, America-bashing, hand-wringing, or “Social Gospel” intended.

    Why is it so difficult for us to examine ourselves? Why do we get so defensive when bringing up these kinds of issues?

  20. Hey vagabond, that’s the most intelligent response I’ve heard yet from you. Good for you.

    Hey Dennis, I guess I’ve had enough of the hand wringing on your blog page.

    I know you mean well, but I get sick and tired of Christians engaging in their non-stop pity parties, indulging in perpetual guilt trips and trying to make other Christians come along for the ride. I’m tired of the”Social Gospel” which is about as anti-Christ as it comes. I’m tired of the Sojourners/Progressive/Liberal Christian Kool-aid drinkers who think Jesus came so we could all promote welfare states. I’m tired of Christians with long faces who bemoan everything everything from being an American to even being a Christian, for crying out loud!

    In parting all I can say is, if you feel the Spirit telling you to sit in chairs made out of sticks go for it. If He’s leading you to be a missionary, fine. In fact f He’s telling you to do ANYTHING and it is clear that it is coming from the Spirit, you had better act on it. But just because the Spirit may be telling YOU something doesn’t mean he has the same message for everyone. Jesus didn’t come here with a “one size fits all” approach to ministry.

    Right now, I sense a very clear direction from the Spirit…and that is ‘Don’t waste any more time on this web site!”

    Anyway, I’ll leave you all to your incessant hand wringing…enjoy! 🙂

  21. wow.

  22. Some of the above response got chopped off, so here it is again, hope it’s not a redundancy. I’m sure you’ll all appreciate my retyping it as best I could!

    New Mission:
    “You have the nerve to challenge Vagabond on his humility?
    Get a grip bro, wake the ‘F’ up man….. your America is swirling down the toilet and you’re still defending its dependency on capitalism.”

    Not sure where I questioned Vagabond’s humility, but I do suggest that if you want to delight in the juvenile “F” invective, don’t be shy, spell it out, then we can appreciate the vulgarity for all it’s worth.

    America may be swirling down the toilet thanks to people who aspire to your entitlement, socialist attitudes, but the fact is, there are still a lot of people trying to do everything they can to get into this country. Why is that?

    Meanwhile, many in the rest of the world, who care little for the freedoms we still hang on to, and who have already swirled down the drain and muck around in the sewers of their freedom-suppressing systems and cultures, crab about America’s arrogance and why can’t Americans be more like the sewer dwellers they are. See, what these bitter people really mean by “arrogance” is “I despise that they are better off than we are!”

    Shalameth:
    Hopefully, someday you can get past the typical knee-jerk reaction, and will not look at things through race-colored glasses. Then you won’t have to boast about knowing some black people, and make patronizing, belittling comments about them being “hard-working” just to demonstrate how racially tolerant, understanding and appreciative of black people you are. Myself, I prefer to follow the MLK model and look at the content of people’s character and not the color of their skins.

    Your ignorance regarding the plight Detroit is appalling. Once again, it is “the wealthy” who are the evil ones, taking advantage! LOL!

    If Detroiters want to improve the city as much as you say, then why do they keep electing, term after term, the same liberal losers who keep them down, take advantage of them, and run the City government like some pathetic, despotic Banana Republic? Why don’t they do something about their neighborhoods? Why do they continue to wallow in a culture of crime?

    The fact is, Detroit has been successfully kept down and will continue to be kept down as long as they hold on to the liberally-indoctrinated, entitlement mentality, and the “us against the burbs” racist attitudes that it has been fed and gorged upon for decades.

  23. What I react to on this page, and maybe what I haven’t communicated well enough, is this tone that “Well to do” or perhaps even just “better off” automatically translates into “EVIL” while poor translates into “GOOD.”

    It’s a sad irony that the most covetous people I have known happen to be people with little means.

    WRT Pat Robertson, tell you what…I never watch his program, but I’ll take Pat (in spite of his tendency to put his foot in his mouth) and his refreshing “God Bless America” attitude, and you can keep Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his “God Damn America” attitude. Based upon some of the views I’ve seen expressed here, some of you would fit very well in his congregation.

    One last question, all you who buy into the anti-America, anti-capitalism hype…how are you able to even get on this blog? Does this mean you actually own something of value, like a computer, that you have not yet sold so you can give the money to the poor?

    HORRORS, you nasty, so-called Christians!!! You should be ashamed of yourselves. I would hate to be in your shoes when, on the Day of Judgment, you must stand before the Lord and explain why you participated in some evil capitalist system! 🙂

  24. Well I both agree and disagree with the lot of you on some of the flavor of the comments here, but this really got me. “Some people are poor because their own culture keeps them down. You don’t have to go any further than Detroit to see that.”

    OMG! We couldn’t even begin to discuss how many years the ridiculously wealthy political machines have kept the people down. They’ve spun their lies and worked their darndest to convince the poor that if elected, they will change their lot. Then they’ve done nothing more than to make people more dependent on the political system, while stuffing more millions into their own pockets. And man oh man – what a racially biased and ignorant kind of a comment is this anyway? You need some African-American Detroiters as friends, brother. This “culture” wants to see their neighborhoods rid of crime as much as you do yours – good schools and programs for their children and healthy communities.

    My neighbors on either side are hard working Black people – do you believe it?! Their children and grandchildren are good kids and they care for their home and community just like I do. The only difference I see between them and our long-term White-cultured neighbors a couple of doors down are that the White-colored ones don’t give a damn about their neighbors, and their kids won’t give you the time of day. And those White Baptists renting across the street are uppity, loud and don’t clean up their trash.

    Let’s not get started on Pat Robertson’s cultural ignorance and judgment upon other peoples and nations. Although I love America in many ways, our government has committed more atrocities here and abroad than we can fathom in our lifetime. We should have been smoked by the finger of God a long time ago if that was the way he judged. But “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” There is no culture or nation, nor any individual, that could ever lay claim to being blameless.

  25. David’s quote “Vagabond, thanks for the compassionate reply, I can definitely sense it came from the Spirit of the Lord!”

    It always amazes me when people try to discern someone’s passion or even anger and judge it as not from a Godly Spirit.
    Let’s look at Mark Chapter 3: “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.”

    So David, would you say the same for Jesus in this instance?
    Would you say “Jesus, thanks for the compassionate feelings, I can definitely sense it came from the Spirit of God”. (that’s the arrogance in you man)

    Dennis you may not post this, but I have to say it.

    David, you’re an arrogant donkey, and your attitude is one of the reasons that there is so much anti-American sentiment brewing all around the world.

    You have the nerve to challenge Vagabond on his humility?
    Get a grip bro, wake the ‘F’ up man….. your America is swirling down the toilet and you’re still defending its dependency on capitalism.

    Greed, arrogance, murder, war, colonization and pride are the reasons that most don’t like America. What history books do you read?

    This country was founded, YEA….. FOUNDED upon murder and the spilling of innocent blood. Our forefathers are all ‘glorified’ for penning the Declaration of Independence but never were held accountable for the murderous slaughter of the millions of Native People who lived on this land. We then Murdered each other as another ‘American’ tradition was challenged. Slavery. Now that’s a good ‘christian’ value, huh David….. what “SPIRIT” did that come from?

    Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Pakistan…. On an on and on…..

    Sorry, D,
    This just pisses me off……….

    Then dude, ………. You quote Pat Robertson. OMG…..
    What kind of person even watches that Right Winged, Psuedo-Christian/political loudmouth. This guy has done more damage to the body of believers in the past 10 years than most can do in a lifetime.

    Whatever,
    Sorry, …..
    In the words of Chef Gorden Ramsey: “piss off, the all of ya”

  26. Dennis: “But keep up the love. You guys are doing a great job!”

    I can never tell when you’re being sarcastic or not! 😉

    I think Vicki once again states a point of view that strikes a nerve in me. Our “excess” I prefer to describe more benignly as a higher standard of living. Consider all the manufacturing by China of goods sold to America. Chances are, a good part of that comfy chair was made in China. The irony is, thanks to so-called American “excess,” more wealth goes to China and its people benefit as a result. Maybe not as much as you would like, but certainly far better than if we had no business with China at all.

    If the belief that the world benefits from such “trickle-down economics” or that I feel no guilt or shame that American freedom has created a higher standard of living is to be considered American arrogance, I say “oh well, what else is new?”

    You see, I can certainly understand why countries with lower standards of living might have hard feelings toward America in spite of the benefit they receive economically or charitably. The same bitterness and envy takes place in this country thanks to class warfare generated by the liberal mindset…regardless of how much the lower and middle classes benefit from the wealthy, and especially with the extremely disproportionate amount of taxes they pay.

    Anyway, at least we don’t have to smuggle Bibles into America…not yet anyways!

  27. Once again I want to say thank you to Dennis, who has the greatest way of making us really think about our lives. To look down deep and figure out what really matters.

    I know when I went to China, on a mission trip to smuggle bibles in, I was really shocked by all our excess. I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, but inward, at my family, my life.

    I had gone to church after, and it seemed like the pastor kept praying for our needs and of course we all need prayers. That’s not what I’m saying, it just got to be too much.

    More, more, more for us, not for the poor, not for the hurting. Just more for you and I, that have so much already. We have so much freedom, that we don’t even realize.

    Now today we try and focus on helping others as much as we can. We have brought an orphan into our home and made her our daughter. Others send money to orphanages and missions, that is awesome. For my family we had to figure out what we could do and we will continue to live more simply, giving to the poor and needy. Not keeping up with the Jones.

    Dennis keep this blog going. Keep us thinking, and talking and discussing and hopefully changing.

  28. hey dave,

    i appreciate your come-back. just want to clear a few things up, though, since my anger and frustration were misunderstood.

    “You need to de-program yourself, Vagabond, from all that anti-American hatred you picked up in your travels and realize that.”

    there’s no anti-american hatred de-programming necessary. maybe i didn’t make myself clear… i was NOT aiming my disdain at AMERICANS (per say) but at your personal arrogant comments (regardless if you’re american or not, like i said).

    i also said that i had SEEN the hatred people have for americans, NOT that i promote that hatred. but i understand it. i understand people don’t like pompous arrogance. who would? (“first” world or “third” world…people are people and no one likes arrogance.)

    i don’t “take on” the hatred i see. but i try to understand it and try to see how i, as an individual and as an american, can at least try to be more humble and listening and give a different impression than the one usually given. that’s all.

    “Some people’s definition of pomposity (or excess, for that matter) is anybody who is doing better than they are. It’s an ugly thing, and a sad fact that the poor can be just as sinfully covetous as the rich.”

    my personal definition of your pompously arrogant comments isn’t based upon you doing better or anyone doing better than someone else. maybe you and i actually do agree on something…that covetousness is a sin, regardless of who is doing the coveting. again, another thing i’m NOT promoting.

    “The difference between you, vagabond, and me is that I see how the poor can be practically helped by countries who have/get their economic and government systems in order, where it seems to me you think just feeling bad about the poor and vilifying America is what helps them the most.”

    but there’s another misunderstanding (maybe in part due to my angry response). you assume i don’t believe that monetarily wealthier nations can help out nations that are not so “blessed.” to make it clear: no, i do not think that feeling bad about the poor and vilifying america is what helps them. not at all. i worked as a missionary, depended on the funds of americans, travelled to wealthier nations to raise money to help out the poorer nations. i’ve seen it and done it. it works. you misunderstood me.

    but it’s not always about the money…you can throw as much money at someone as you want, but unless you sit down with them and listen then you’re money ain’t worth jack in the end.

    all i’m sayin is that seeing and hearing someone who needs help being replied to with an air of arrogance should make us angry and stand up against that.

    look, brother, we obviously differ on a great number of issues, but that’s not the point i was tryin to make or where i wanted to take this blog. i was just pissed off at your light-hearted comments that came off sounding very proud and arrogant (to me at least), almost “talking down” to those lesser off than you, or other countries lesser off than america.

    none of us should defend a flag in the first place. let’s defend helpin out the weak and poor (without any idea of how good we are for doing so). let’s just at least “consider SLIGHTLY simplifying our lives and helping out a few poor folks.”

    sorry, brother dennis, if i took this post down a path you had not intended. that wasn’t my intention.

  29. Boys, boys, boys … my original stated intent for this small (but apparently offensive) post, was to say that we who are blessed should consider slightly simplifying our lives and helping out a few poor folks. No guilt-trip or America-bashing intended. But keep up the love. You guys are doing a great job!

  30. Couple more thoughts if I may…

    Maybe I did miss the point of the original post. Perhaps this is it: the idea is we sell all our comfy furniture, our tables, toaster ovens, TVs, and other conveniences…perhaps even our homes. We donate the money to all the poor people who have to use stick chairs. Then we join the ranks of the stick furniture people and just add to the world’s numbers of those totally dependent upon others. I guess that is what Jesus would do…?

    What was is He said? Something like, “Come to me all you who are burdened?” Or was it, “Come, make yourself a burden on as many others as possible?”

    The difference between you, vagabond, and me is that I see how the poor can be practically helped by countries who have/get their economic and government systems in order, where it seems to me you think just feeling bad about the poor and villifying America is what helps them the most.

    Sorry if I am stirring up the pot but Dennis put the pot out there! 😉

    I also forgot to mention that at $299 the price of the American chair seems quite reasonable!!

  31. Vagabond, thanks for the compassionate reply, I can definitely sense it came from the Spirit of the Lord! 🙂

    “But whoso hath this world’s good…”

    It seems you like to gloss over this part of the passage and move right to the guilt section.

    Yes, my friend. The point YOU miss is how much worse the world would be if there weren’t people who generated wealth and built things like the proverbial comfy chair.

    You can always point out disparities in amounts of wealth which is a relative thing. It may very well be that to some poor people, the man with the stick chair is excessive when compared to the poor guy who has to sit in the mud.

    You can talk about third world sweat shops, but the poor (who depend on those who have goods and wealth) would be even worse off without things like the comfy chair! Missionaries would not even be able to go on missions because people could not afford to support the mission, etc.

    Do you ever wonder why some countries have been poor for centuries? During the Haitian earthquake crisis, Pat Robertson caught a lot of hell for suggesting that there was a reason why Haiti had such a poor standard of living and Santo Domingo, right next door, was doing fine. Now, I’m not a big fan of Pat but I think he had something of a point there…some peoples are poor because their own culture keeps them down. You don’t have to go any further than Detroit to see that.

    Just remember as you blast those with means that the poor can’t receive handouts if those folks don’t generate those means.

    By the way, I wasn’t the one who brought up the idea of “America” and “Third World…”

    Mark 14:4-7
    Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

    “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”

    Now there’s the treasure that both the poor and rich REALLY need whether they’re reposing in comfy chairs or fashionable stools made of sticks.

    By the way, didn’t I see that 3rd World Chair in an L.L. Bean catalog recently? I think the description said “No two are the same” and it was going for $120! LOL!

    Incidently, both my wife and I prefer the stick chair to the comfy chair when it comes to our interior decor sensibilities. That comfy chair looks like something for Larry the Cable Guy, while our Bohemian tastes gravitate toward the chic artiness of the 3rd World Chair.

    Now if those people making the stick chairs were smart, they would contact J. Peterman and see if the could market them. Or, another idea that strikes me is why pick on America? Aren’t those Scandinavian countries great at making furniture? Why don’t they donate a few million chairs to the third world poor?

    Anyway, Vagabond, you obviously have a lot of passion for the poor and I say “God bless it.” But I also heartily say, and completely guilt-free, “God bless America,” because this country does more for the poor than any other country on Earth.

    You need to de-program yourself, Vagabond, from all that anti-American hatred you picked up in your travels and realize that. Some people’s definition of pomposity (or excess, for that matter) is anybody who is doing better than they are. It’s an ugly thing, and a sad fact that the poor can be just as sinfully covetous as the rich.

  32. Hey Brother Dennis and Sweet sister Sharon,

    This chair was in the mail yesterday!!! I was out out a FGBMF lunch. Had a blow out on the BUSY roads. AAA did not want to rescue me, alas I was not Mike Eager only Mrs Mike Eager. Thankfully, a wonderful man circled the freeway and came back. He was going to change my blow out….but we were both so how unable to find the correct tools. He helped me pull further off the road……secure the car……took me to the lunch where a wonderful man gave his story and how he has served faithfully in postions, that go unnoticed…..many got up and gave voice to how he had been a blessing to them. It was almost like attending a dedicated christian going home….things that are then said…..but it was ALL said and he was there and given a plague 4 his service!!!!
    My nite in shining armour “Mike” came and got me……downpour of rain had stopped…went changed my tire…..and home..home sweet home.
    Now I must scurry have an 11 am meeting…think that is 12 ur time.
    Have a Great Day…”Father is Faithful” Jesus is that friend who sticks closer than a brother.” and the precious Holy Spirit is present with us doing all he promised!!! Love u guys!!!!

  33. one more thing…

    the scripture that followed the pictures:

    “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
    1 John 3:17

    where’s YOUR compassion bro? forget if you’re american or not…YOU. you’re the one that posted your remark. so, yes, i’m aiming this at YOU.

    i dunno… maybe you’re just suffering from a bad case of shutteth’d up bowels.

  34. dave,

    talk about missin the point of the blog!

    damn, dude…why don’t you get your rear off your comfy american chair that was made “in some third country world” as you put it. you call that “employment?” how about EXPLOITING! CHILD LABOR! employment…???!!!

    “improving the lives of their (some third world country’s…who gives a shite which one, right?) inhabitants.” what the hell, dude?

    “The Third World Chair: supports nobody other than the rumps of the person or the family it was built for…generates no income for others. Pretty self-serving, when you think about it!”

    INCOME???!!! who’s talkin about generating income here? only certain americans that this blog was aimed at would read into it that way…hmmm…

    made to support only the rumps of the person or family it was built for???!!! self-serving???!!! man, where is your head? stuck up a dark place or buried in the sand? whichever one of those two places it is, it sure as heck has completely missed the mark on this blog and has ignorantly and in true, prideful, income-minded, AMERICAN (yes, american) form MISSED THE MARK!

    it ain’t about “blame the american first”!!! you obviously missed that. it’s just a blog written by an american (who by the way has traveled all over the world to “some third world countr(ies)” and seen it firsthand) aimed at his fellow american readers to look inward and see their personal lazy ungratefulness, as well as that of their collective american society… and to then look OUTWARD to see how GRACIOUSLY GRATEFUL and THANKFUL others are WHO HAVE NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i hope you posted your remark out of sarcasm and to “just” get a reaction. if not, i don’t even want to know what you’re thinkin about and i, in my heart of hearts, don’t want to believe that someone can be so ignorant and brainwashed by his good ‘ol american values. (i already know that people can, though. i’ve traveled the world, over 35 countries, and have seen firsthand the hatred people have of “american” based upon the very same pompous arrogance that you exude!)

    i’d like to see you go live somewhere where the only piece of furniture in the whole village is a bamboo stool! specially made for the old village matriarch, who’s lived her whole life sitting on dirt, so she can actually sit on a piece of furniture before she dies. but that’s not even the point of this blog…

    gimme a break, man… you’re off the wall.

  35. God bless you, brother Dennis, but this sounds like something you would hear from the “blame America first” crowd! America is not the only country with wealthy people in it, you know!

    However, the way I look at it is like this:

    The American Chair: the mass production and sale of this, as ridiculous as the chair appears, help employ a fair number of people, most of whom are probably employed in countries other than America. In fact, the fabric that goes into the chair’s upholstery is most likely made in some third world country. The same can be said for big screen TVs, big gulp cups, espresso machines, etc. The manufacture and distribution of items like these help the economy of not only this country but others as well, thereby improving the quality of life for their inhabitants.

    The Third World Chair: supports nobody other than the rumps of the person or the family it was built for…generates no income for others. Pretty self-serving, when you think about it! Imagine a world where people create – and aspire to nothing more advanced than – furniture and other household items from readily available sticks of wood…my guess is that the entire world would look like an impoverished third world country.

    Clarence the Angel:
    “Oh, we don’t have money in heaven…”
    George Bailey:
    “Well, it comes in pretty handy down here, bub!”

  36. American Chair:oversized and over stuffed.
    American: super-sized, giant-sized and jazzer-sized. Big gulp, super-big gulp and a jumbo big gulp.
    Large, extra-large, double x and triple x.

    double cap, triple shot esspresso….
    Big screen, wide screen and jumbo-tron…

    why does everything have to be bigger, bigger bigger ?

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