At the place we’ve been hanging out on Sunday’s here in Nashville, a number of people have purchased homes in the last 1 1/2 that we’ve been there. It’s not a large community so it was a significant percent of the people that were making this major life decision/change/move. I posted on the online forum and tried to strike up some conversation about it, but was met mostly with perplexed looks. Basically, I wanted to know how as people of faith, they processed through choosing to purchase a home. I was hoping for a whole sermon series on it, but there wasn’t one.
It’s my understanding that if you believe in something as truth, then it should affect every facet of your life. This isn’t exclusive to religion or faith, our faith in gravity applies as much to standing in a bathroom as looking over a cliff’s edge. A couple verses in the Bible run through my mind specific to this idea of thinking about everything we do as it relates to our beliefs and faith:
“we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
I would venture to say most major religions, and most people of faith, understand it’s impact on everything they do. That being said, I honestly wanted to know the thought process folks had gone through in deciding to purchase a home. It wasn’t that I disagreed with their choice, I just wanted to know more, and I finally realized, there wasn’t more.
Buying a house is just something you do. Just like millions of other little things every day that are just a part of our society, part of the “American Way of Life.” And boy is it dangerous.
The Old Testament book of Proverbs is chock-full of maxim’s about the dangers of debt, “The debtor is slave to the lender.” And yet we take out student loans (even I am guilty) and home mortgages without thinking twice about it. Most folks eventually pay off their student loans, but I’m not sure I know a soul who actually owns their house. We refinance, we upgrade, we take out second mortgages to our hearts content, and I don’t think most Christians have even given a thought to how their faith should affect that part of their life.
Mindy and I are about to have our first child. She’s about to finish school and we’ll pay off all our loans in a couple years. I can see the benefits of owning rather then renting, but I also see some of the negatives. I see the trap of wealth and greed, of always wanting more and going into debt to get it. Everyone around us seems to be buying houses, you would almost think it’s a necessary part of following in the faith.
Houses make me think. Does isolating ourselves in single family home make it difficult to carry out Christ radical call to love our neighbors and live in community with other believers? Does living in perpetual debt keep us from being the generous, sharing, and financially open church Christ calls us to be? Does the “American Dream” really look like what Christ aspires for us to obtain, or are we terribly off-track?