On the 24th of July I posted that a reassessment of my lifestyle was in order based on my experiences in Fiji. In the month and a bit that have passed since this posting I have started my reassessment. I have had some limited success. Perhaps not as much as I had hoped as I am struggling to define what is a need and what is a want, as well as the fact that this process is extremely counter cultural. It takes you from a mind-set that is centred on materialism and turns it towards a mind-set of generosity. Maybe the bible verse that says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God applies more to me than I realised!
Based on some reading I have done I have become even more vegetarian than previously. This is to reduce my protein intake and thus reduce the amount of energy that is required to produce protein rich foods such as beef and lamb.
I have given up all but the essential parts of my clothing budget, I have far too many clothes in my wardrobe anyway! And have determined that over the next couple of years I will make any clothes I require using my stash of material or reusing existing clothes.
I am still trying to get my head around the concept of a graduated tithe some authors make it sound very complex while others make it sound extremely easy! Should it be based on your current salary or the portion of your salary that you require to live day by day?
I also stumbled across some interesting suggestions. One article suggested that I should encourage the people around me to reduce their beer consumption. The reasoning behind this suggestion was that beer is created from wheat a primary commodity which if not used to produce beer could be used to feed the hungry. I’m not sure that I am going to have any success with this given the beer drinking culture in New Zealand. I can’t decrease my beer consumption because I don’t drink beer.
I am going to continue on my journey and every now and again will give you an update.
Some useful resources I found in this process are a book by Ronald Sider called Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and a website that can be located at http://makewealthhistory.org/what/personal-actions/
Another struggle I am facing in this process is who should the money go to once it is released? Should I increase my giving to the organisations I currently support or look for other organisations? What criteria should be used to access whether an organisation is worthy of receiving this money. Should they be Christian organisations? Should the amount an organisation spends on fundraising be taken in to consideration? Any suggestions gratefully received :).