so yesterday’s “this is what the andersons are going to be up to” bloggage received a lot more attention than i suspected it would, and pretty firmly divided into two groups of responses:

those who knew us, who said nice things about us and wished us good times and most importantly got excited with us for this adventure that we are about to embark on

those who don’t know us who by and large said or asked somewhat judgemental sounding stuff mostly relating to us going on a big holiday in the states while there are poor people in south africa to be taken care of [who we can fittingly see as we are driven off to the airport]

and i didn’t even allow half of the comments written to be posted [largely it was more of the same – for some bizarre reason there is a whole host of people out there who are telling us we should stop doing our transcription – which incidentally is part of a study focused on poor people in townships and will be used to help assist them to make better choices and be exposed to greater opportunities – and get waitering jobs if that isn’t beneath us – i worked for 5 years at rondebosch spur back in the day and absolutely loved most of it – i’m pretty sure i’m the first person who both made and sold Hunter’s and Blackcurrent Hooch milkshakes, i kid you not]

however, the point of this blog is not so much to defend against the stream of attacks – i tried to do some explaining yesterday altho i really didn’t need to and certainly do not need to defend my action to a bunch of anonymous people hiding behind their keyboards [Brits, however, am definitely looking forward to that beer/coffee] – one day i will stand in front of God and account for my actions, and my mistakes and i feel quite confident that this Simple Way trip is not something i am going to be embarrassed by…

but the point of this blog – and i mentioned it in a response yesterday but not everyone may have seen it – is that we all create our own lines…

for a number of people, flying overseas to americaland and working with poor people in a community over there is unacceptable because of the number of poor people here and the money for the tickets etc could be better used given to the poor [which sparks a reminder of a guy named judas in the bible who said a similiar thing about money that should rather have been spent on the poor than lavishly wasted on Jesus, and things didn’t turn out so well for him because his heart was rotten] but all of those people typed their responses on a computer [or possibly a cellphone] which means that [apart from those who were doing it at work i guess which would be using work time for personal pleasure which i guess is another line] their line includes having access to a phone/computer [which could surely be sold and given to the poor blah blah blah]

the one extreme picture is this – give everything you have to the poor and eventually when you have nothing more, you yourself end up on the street and are poor and are unable to give any more and thus unable to help any more [i’m sure we will all agree this is largely unhelpful]

at the other extreme we have the person who gives nothing – who lives completely for themselves and spends money only buying things for themself and their friends and follows a path of luxury and pleasure and wastefulness [i’m sure most of us will agree this is largely evil]

and then there is somewhere in the middle of these two poles – being generous with my resources while maintaining the ability to be so – spending on myself and my friends but also spending on those less fortunate than myself – being actively involved in the lives of those who seem unable to help themselves – answering Jesus’ call to be a sheep and not a goat and make sure that we are reaching out to those who are hungry and thirsty and sick and in prison and strangers…

within that space there are lines – and probly lines within lines – and mine will not always look like yours, maybe they never will – some of my lines look like this:

i personally can’t justify flying business class but perhaps you can

i personally can’t justify having a big fancy car when my epic rust collector gets me from a to b, but i quite possibly could justify having something a bit better than what i have now if the opportunity arose

i generally do not give to poor people at traffic intersections unless they are doing some kind of work like selling the Big Issue or the funny sheet because they are at least making some kind of work effort to lift themselves up. there are a lot of poor people i say no to even when i have the means to help them [i generally don’t say “I can’t” or “I don’t have money” as those are generally not true] but there is a guy who hangs around across the road from our church who i buy food for on a regular basis

i don’t buy label clothes when there is a piece of clothing as sufficient for 2 or 3 hundred bucks cheaper

those are a couple of my lines and i won’t make them absolutes for people – this is how much you can or should be giving and this is where you stop – myself and val need to find a place where we are happy to stand before each other and before God and say “I think we used our resources well”

i imagine we get it wrong a lot and there are a lot of questions i wrestle with like is it ever okay to go and watch a movie when you walk past a hungry man on the street to get there, or go out for a meal at a restuarant when you can stay home and make a meal for R20 or R30 bucks (that will probly taste better if tbV is cooking like last nite flip!) but i don’t wrestle with having a laptop (because it allows me to do a huge part of what God has called me to do) or some of the others that you might

so look at yourself, take a long hard look at the way you live, the way you spend money, the way you hold tightly on to money, how generous you are to those you know and are in relationship with and also to the strenager on the street and make some decisions if necessary but whatever you do, live intentionally and be able to stand in front of God one day and say “i did what i thort was right” and let Him drop or throw His stone…

and uber big thankx to all those of you who are excited for and with us and who dropped in here to share some words of encouragement – this is a kingdom thing and we are so very super amped for what lies ahead…