raising a sloth

conversation

(this is in response to comments left on the THINK OF ME video. please check out the video and comments. feel free to join the conversation!)

thanks everyone for the comments. we wonder if the point of the video could be missed by some reading and watching? the point is NOT that rich people are bad. the point is NOT that if you buy Lakers tickets you are selfish. it’s not about NEVER buying a latte or a big screen tv, rather the perspective of what our “blessings” can do if they are shared with the world around us and the less fortunate. the point IS that the resources we have here in the US can do alot in the world around us. we dont think the video is stating that all of these things are wrong, but hopefully bringing awareness to the fact that we can do ALOT with the amount of money (whether big or small) that each of us have.

thanks for the conversation and discussion!  good stuff!

THINK OF ME VIDEO

thoughts?

STEP IN

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by Reagan Pugh

Reagan shares thoughts while he studies abroad at Universitas Castillae in Valladolid, Spain. He is currently the student body President at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He likes Tootsie Rolls, sushi, and the little green chocolately mints you get at some Mexican food restaurants. You can also check it his personal blog at www.goodpancreas.com

I’m sitting here at ¨La Banque – Croissanterie,¨among the old, middle aged and wealthy twenty-somethings. Here, in the beauty of my time abroad it is so very difficult to imagine simplicity and doing without. For- I have just now finished my coffee and croissant, served to me by the same waiter I’ve had every time I’ve been here, no matter what day. Today is Sunday, he has no Sabbath. Not only him, but there is an older lady who, shawl on head, normally meanders by the tables of folks sipping Sangria and asks for change. She had a cut on her nose last week and had to use a peeled off barcode sticker to stop the bleeding. She was laughed at.

What is so interesting is that as I sit here and try to gauge my actions accordingly, I recall my parents always telling me, ¨Don´t give to the beggars, they´ll always want more and never be satisfied¨ even more astounding than that is I am told that when on MISSION TRIPS! Where does that fit in with Christ´s commands? How could I possibly call myself a Christian when I hold a job where I make more than my waiter who is at least half my age and tip sparingly because he wasn’t pleasant and keep my change and kindness from a woman who deserves my respect and love?

And how do Christians, ones whom I admire for that matter, justify such actions in the name of ¨safety¨ or ¨conservation¨ and completely ignore Christ´s commandments? I´ve heard too many times: ¨We can´t give all of our money away¨ or ¨I have to take care of my family as well¨ – but aren’t Christ’s commands about loving the least of these quite explicit? And if his commands fall short, isn’t the way he lived, which is the example we are supposed to follow a good enough guide? I think Shane Claiborne is onto something when he says, ¨Jesus wrecked my life¨ because the way Christ wants us to live is anything but practical and we Christians have forgotten that. For, Christ explicitly says:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Bill McKibben, in his essay, The Christian Paradox says this about the two greatest commandments, the second in particular:

“Love your neighbor as yourself: although its rhetorical power has been dimmed by repetition, that is a radical notion, perhaps the most radical notion possible. Especially since Jesus, in all his teachings, made it very clear who the neighbor you were supposed to love was: the poor person, the sick person, the naked person, the hungry person.”

He also says:

“The Bible is a long book, and even the Gospels have plenty in them, some of it seemingly contradictory and hard to puzzle out. But love your neighbor as yourself—not do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but love your neighbor as yourself—will suffice as a gloss.”

McKibben goes onto say that if the second greatest commandment is to care for the downtrodden, how is our current Christian culture so centrally focused on ourselves? Sure- there has to be a point where you and your family doesn’t starve…but when does that turn into selfishness? The seemingly unselfish task of providing for your own could be considered as selfishness when provision is too excessive. When does provision become an excuse to overly provide? Christ said to the rich young ruler who approached him, concerned about his eternal life. The ruler says that he has followed all of the commandments of the law and the prophets and Christ then says:

If you want to be perfect, go and sell al you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come follow me.

Most think that it is too radical to consider. I don´t think everyone can live a life of utmost poverty so that the ¨least of these¨ are literally served. I understand families with 3 year olds and grandparents can’t go chill with the Bloods, love on the prostitutes and sleep on the streets. Honestly, I don´t know if everyone is even called to serve in that way. But, couldn’t we at lest keep Christ’s example in the back of our minds? And if we err, could we try to err on the side of grace, servitude and good stewardship?

If this is something we are struggling with (which we are) so terribly, it must be something worth working towards. As stated above, we all can’t drop everything and literally sell everything we own…there need to be people that make money to give that money away. I think it comes down not to the actions, but the consciousness (which will, inevitably fuel action). I believe that we are called to live constantly in a state of potential servitude. We should, at every moment be watching the world around us and looking for areas in which we can step in, show the love of Christ and love our neighbors as ourselves.

The lady is making her way back to my table to ask for change again…

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK (5)

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we’re asking our community to step out of comfort zones, and begin the process of having eyes opened to people, needs, issues, and ideas. the goal is that we would be a generation that is fully awake to the things God has created us to be…and we hope these simple tasks and challenges will stretch each of us. leave comments as you engage yourself in these challenges.

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK:
Rather simple concept this week, but extremely difficult to actually do. Spend at least 30 minutes in complete solitude this week. Just you and the Father. No books and no music. Just 30 minutes of simple time in solitude. Be aware of the presence of God that surrounds you.

A good read we suggest this week to you: “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. Perhaps a tougher read, but expands on the idea of being aware of the presence of God in every moment. You can actually download a free copy of this book here.

questions

question today:

what keeps us from being fully alive? what keeps us from being the “light of the world?”

what are your thoughts?

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK (4)

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we’re asking our community to step out of comfort zones, and begin the process of having eyes opened to people, needs, issues, and ideas. the goal is that we would be a generation that is fully awake to the things God has created us to be…and we hope these simple tasks and challenges will stretch each of us. leave comments as you engage yourself in these challenges.

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK:
JOURNAL YOUR THOUGHTS, PRAYERS, AND CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD FOR THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS.

We know that spending time with God every day in a disciplined time-frame is difficult for most of us. For the next seven days, find some point in each day to journal any thoughts, prayers, and/or conversations you have with God throughout the day. Push yourself this week to be disciplined in this. Practice the discipline of journaling your thoughts. This might nudge you onto continuing journaling as a part of your spiritual journey. Writing down your thoughts (either through blogging or personal journaling) can be a beneficial thing in our spiritual lives. It allows us to see some of our own progress, while looking back on previous struggles and victories.

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK (3)

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every monday morning, a “savethesloth this week” challenge will be posted here. we’re asking our community to step out of comfort zones, and begin the process of having eyes opened to people, needs, issues, and ideas. the goal is that we would be a generation that is fully awake to the things God has created us to be…and we hope these simple tasks and challenges will stretch each of us. leave comments as you engage yourself in these challenges.

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK:
GIVE AWAY. GO THROUGH YOUR CLOSET AND GIVE AWAY ALL THE CLOTHES THAT YOU HAVEN’T WORN IN A LONG TIME. TAKE THEM TO A LOCAL HOMELESS SHELTER, MISSION, OR CLOTHING MINISTRY (OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW THAT PERSONALLY NEEDS THEM).

We live in excess. We consume too much, we own too much, and we keep things that we are no longer using. In each of our communities there are people in dire need of the things that we have. Look around…notice things in your closet, garage, house, yard…notice things that you don’t need…and give them to people that are in need.

In every city there are local missions and shelters that are always needing items. What are you able to give away this week? Let’s dialogue…

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK (2)

challengelogo.jpg

every monday morning, a “savethesloth this week” challenge will be posted here. we’re asking our community to step out of comfort zones, and begin the process of having eyes opened to people, needs, issues, and ideas. the goal is that we would be a generation that is fully awake to the things God has created us to be…and we hope these simple tasks and challenges will stretch each of us. leave comments as you engage yourself in these challenges.

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK:
PRACTICE GENUINE GRATITUDE. EVERY DAY OF THIS WEEK, WRITE OR CALL AN INFLUENCIAL PERSON IN YOUR LIFE TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE AND THANKS.

Read Colossians 3:12-17:
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Gratitude is a lost discipline. the dictionary describes gratitude as “appreciation for benefits recieved.” it’s sometimes the first to go out the window in our busy, chaotic and hectic life. generally speaking, we are an ungrateful culture; we are consumed with ourselves, our needs, and our desires. we tend to be quick to notice all the things we don’t have…and all the areas we’re lacking in (whether they be financial, relational, spiritual, and/or physical issues.) however, at any given moment we are standing in a current of immense benefits recieved.

this week, take notice of the people around you that are deeply benefiting your life. There are men and women around each of us that are being used by God to build us, encourage us, and edify us. Scripture brings to the table this principle: when we genuinely express gratitude to those around us, we are in fact bringing honor and delight to God. in other words, we can authenticate our gratitude to God by expressing it to the ones around us.

there are easily seven people in your life that deserve your thanks and appreciation. write a letter, send an email, or pick up the phone and express your genuine gratitude to this person. it could be a pastor/minister, friend, author (may be harder to find contact info…but you can do it!), teacher, parent, etc. seven days…seven people.

begin to shift your thinking from all that you don’t have…to all that you do have.

(sidenotes: short emails with no thought defeat the purpose of this! don’t cheat…spend time each day really expressing deep, genuine gratitude to these people. go into detail and elaborate on your thankfulness. also, as you engage these challenges, post your comments on savethesloth.com. it’s essential for our community to learn from each other’s experiences.)

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK

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we at savethesloth.com would like to offer a challenge. we’d like to challenge each of our readers to focus on a simple task each week. every monday morning, a “savethesloth this week” challenge will be posted here. we’re encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone, and begin the process of having your eyes opened to people, needs, issues, and ideas. we’re also asking you to drop us comments as you apply these things to your life each week. we at savethesloth.com will also be taking the challenge and leaving our own thoughts and progress each week. the goal is that we would be a generation that is fully awake to the things God has created us to be…and we hope these simple tasks and challenges will stretch each of us.

SAVETHESLOTH THIS WEEK:
HAVE A MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION WITH A STRANGER THAT SERVES YOU.
Think about how many people in your week have a job that requires them to serve you. Whether it be a waiter, a grocery sacker, or a bank teller, people are constantly serving you; most of the time you don’t even recognize it. Some easy ways to start conversations may be asking questions that require answers, asking about their day, and/or noticing something about them and offering a compliment. The challenge is to offer love, attention, and conversation to a stranger that serves you.

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