In lurking on other peoples’ blogs, I came across a fascinating discussion.

I find it interesting that the advice columnist identified himself as “non-religious”, and yet seemed to offer much insight into the writer’s dilemma, even seeming to “get it” much more than many Western Christians today. A blogger has commented on it here, and the commentary and discussion are quite interesting.I have struggled with this issue for several years now. I don’t know anyone (besides my husband) who is willing to engage in this sort of discussion. I am glad to find this blog and some people who are at least willing to raise the questions, not fearing the possibly uncomfortable response.

It is in fact an uncomfortable discussion for most of us middle-upper class Christians. I ask these questions with as much criticism of my own lifestyle as of anyone else’s, and desire to find a satisfactory answer for my own conscience before inspecting the speck in everyone else’s eyes. I live a fairly comfortable life. I can’t afford to buy a house, but I can afford to rent. I never go hungry, or have to wear clothes with holes in them. Though it would not be the most financially wise decision in terms of trying to save for school, etc, I can afford to go out for dinner or a movie pretty much whenever I feel like it. I could go to IKEA and spend $30 here and there, without landing myself on the street next month, without money for rent. I have access to credit cards and bank loans in case of emergency, and am never lacking the basic necessities of life (water, food, shelter, medical care).

Here is my question: Is it right/moral that I should live with excess (going to movies, eating dinner out regularly, buying “wants” in addition to “needs”, etc) when so much of the world is living and dying of starvation, preventable diseases, etc? And only because they lack money. Money that I spend carelessly on myself, which could instead be saving lives. The Bible commands us to help the poor, seek justice, and love one another as ourselves throughout the scriptures. Clearly we have some sort of moral obligation. I just don’t know where to draw the line. Do I have to stop spending on everything except the basic necessities, and give the rest to the poor (become Mother Teresa)? Are we all supposed to live like Jesus? Or Mother Teresa? I haven’t ever met a Christian who would say yes to that question. And yet none of them can tell me why not.

I’m seriously needing some answers here.

Advertisements