Taxes

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Taxes is not something we usually talk about in church. But it’s something that Jesus taught about more than once.

Well, once more than once. What I’m trying to say is that he taught about it twice.

But what he had to say was pretty deep, and it goes further than just what gets deducted from our paychecks. 

We find Jesus today in the middle of a very hot political situation. Jesus was a very popular teacher and leader, at the head of a new movement in Israel, which at the time was occupied by Rome.

People were listening to him and liking what he was saying. So of course, the people who used to get listened to hated him. They wanted to make sure that no one was a popular or as powerful as they were.

But they had a tool in their tool box that was a little more deadly…They were happy to try and get their rivals killed by their Roman overlords. So that’s the situation that our teaching today comes out of. Sound good? Let’s get into it.

So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor.  So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth.

Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? Luke 20:20-22

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Podcast 28: Money and Fear

Here is Megan and Dave’s 28th episode of the Everything Jesus Taught Podcast!

In this 22 minute long podcast episode, we talk about Money and Fear! We also chat about:

  • Thrift Store Loop Compulsion
  • Dave’s Bag Hoarding
  • Megan’s Reverse Nesting
  • Selling stuff for charity
  • The Dump!
  • The Mustard Seed in Eatonville
  • Taxes!

Listen, comment, subscribe, share, and ask questions for them to answer on the next episode!

Money and Fear

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Dave and I have never been in poverty.

But we’ve visited.

This means we have never dealt with the real difficulties people face when they are in true poverty.  We haven’t had to fight to take care of our family while working minimum wage full time and still struggling to pay rent. We haven’t had to choose between feeding our kids or eating dinner ourselves. We haven’t experienced true poverty. But there was a period of time where we didn’t have quite enough.

We were both full time seminary students when we got pregnant with our first child. What we soon discovered was that being full time students and paying for prenatal care and baby supplies was expensive. We learned how to cover the basics. We qualified for the WIC program, which is a government program that provided peanut butter and cheese and cheerios. We ate lots of toast at the free bread bar on campus. We brought popcorn to the neighborhood potlucks. For our parents sake, I want to clarify that we probably could have called home and asked for help but we were young and stubborn and determined to make it on our own.

But when it came time to furnish the nursery, we had met our match. How would we afford nursery furniture? We were talking about that one afternoon when we were out walking. Then we saw it. Right next to the dumpster at our apartment building. A glider rocking chair. The wood was pretty chipped, it had seen better days, but it was in one piece.  So we grabbed it and painted it and hauled it up stairs. We were so excited.

Had we just pulled a rocking chair out of the trash? Yes.

Did it make a loud screeching sound if you rocked too far in either direction? Yes.

Did we have to learn how to stay in just the right spot so the screeching sound wouldn’t wake up our baby? Yes.

It wasn’t great. But it was our screechy dumpster chair.

It turns out old habits die hard.

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Podcast 27: Money and People

Here is Megan and Dave’s 27th episode of the Everything Jesus Taught Podcast!

In this 25 minute long podcast episode, we talk about Money and People! We also chat about:

  • The 5 worst investments you can make because they aren’t investments, they’re get-rich-quick schemes
  • Used cars
  • People who have invested in us

Listen, comment, subscribe, share, and ask questions for them to answer on the next episode!

Money and People

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Today’s scripture is about investing. 

When we think about investing, we think about investing in things. We invest in stocks and companies. We invest in things we think will be worth something someday, or that will change our lives.

There was a period in the 90s when we were all encouraged to invest in beanie babies, these small stuffed animals that we were told might be really worth something someday.

Some people invest in commemorative plates, or coins. Or we invest in things that promise to change who we are for the better. Things like a $2000 home gym system that will definitely make us into athletes, not gather dust and be where we dry the laundry. 

And do you ever notice how some people describe all purchases they make as an investment? I wonder how that started? It’s a good sales pitch. Don’t think of this car as an expense, think of it as an investment in your future. This watch might seem expensive, but it’s really an investment in your success. 

No, what it is, is a depreciating asset. Investments are supposed to become more valuable over time. That’s really the only mark of an investment. 

But really, we’ll run with just about any excuse to buy stuff. It’s pathological. “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” That’s America. 

And we end up with houses full of things that our kids will have to get rid of, and still we don’t feel satisfied. We feel empty, so we keep chasing it, until we get wise to the fact that it’s just a game we don’t have to play. 

But sometimes, we’re forced to see the truth about money and things sooner than we’d like to, like when we lose a job, or go through a crisis. 

That’s what happens in our teaching from Jesus today.

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Podcast 26: Money and Wisdom

Here is Megan and Dave’s 26th episode of the Everything Jesus Taught Podcast!

In this 17 minute long podcast episode, we start talking about Money! We are going to spend the next five weeks on Everything Jesus Taught about Money, and so we started with this one. We also chat about:

  • Dave Ramsay
  • How preachers are known for talking about money, and how we want to be different
  • A Venn Diagram description
  • 15 Year Mortgages
  • Stewardesses

Listen, comment, subscribe, share, and ask questions for them to answer on the next episode!

Demons

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Here’s the kind of demon that I’m used to dealing with:

But demons can be all sorts of things.

Addictions.

Fears.

Anything that haunts you and controls you can be thought of as a demon.

We’re going to talk a little about those today.

And we’re also going to talk about the demons that show up in the gospels and talk to Jesus before he casts them out.

What do we do with those?

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Podcast 25: EJT about The Devil!

Here is Megan and Dave’s 25th episode of the Everything Jesus Taught Podcast!

In this 25 minute long podcast episode, we talk about the Devil as a part of everything Jesus taught about Devils and Demons. We also chat about:

  • Which Hogwarts house we would each be in
  • Why Pastors shouldn’t be cool
  • The movie, “The Waterboy”
  • Our newest roommate in the studio
  • Suffering, evil, cancer, and God

Listen, comment, subscribe, share, and ask questions for them to answer on the next episode!

The Devil

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I have a cold today.

Which is fitting. Because we are going to be talking about the devil.

I do wish we could blame the devil for things. He would be such an easy one to pin it on. We nod in that direction.

We say things like

  • the devil made me do it,
  • the devil is in the details,
  • the devil is coming out of my nose.

That last one isn’t a saying, but maybe it should be.

But then we have a feeling that isn’t what we really believe, as Presbyterians. It would be easy to pin this cold on the devil trying to get me to stay in bed and watch Netflix but I think i think the blame actually lies with the start of school germs that are in every home with children right now.  So if we can’t blame the devil for things like a cold, what do we believe then about the devil?

The devil and demons aren’t something we talk a lot about in the Presbyterian Church. As postmodern Christians, we tend to shy away from really thinking about the devil and demons and evil. It feels a little like Greek mythology, with God and the devil battling it out. But there is no getting around the mention of them in the gospel teachings. 

I was thinking back to my earliest impressions of what the devil might be. 

A lot of it came from cartoons.

The devil showed up a lot in the cartoons of the 80s, usually perched on someone’s shoulder. This version of the devil would whisper things into your ear, trying to get you to listen. But there was always a little angel on the other shoulder, pulling you the other way to convince you to do the right thing.  

Or there were kids who dressed up like the devil on Halloween, which always involved a red tail and a pitchfork and usually some sort of horns. 

Or, there was the George Burns version.

I grew up watching the 1980’s ” O God” movies with George Burns on VHS tape. He may have been my favorite devil of them all. George Burn’s devil had a great sense of humor and drove an amazing car.  Why wouldn’t you, if you were the devil? These were my earliest devil impressions.  I’m sure you have some of your own too.  We all have some image of the devil.

But what do we really believe about the devil?

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Podcast 24: Individualism- EJT about the American Way!

Here is Megan and Dave’s 24th episode of the Everything Jesus Taught Podcast!

In this 26 minute long podcast episode, we talk about Individualism as a part of everything Jesus taught about the American Way. We also chat about:

  • Dave’s ridiculous thrift store leather couch story
  • Bombing while preaching
  • Diet Coke
  • Parenting “experts”
  • Cultural conditioning
  • Sheep
  • THE DEVIL

Listen, comment, subscribe, share, and ask questions for them to answer on the next episode!