Money – the dirty word. Until recently I thought death was the thing people don’t talk about… but I seem to have cracked that one. Maybe the people who talk about money – the very rich, high earners with their huge bonuses, the media? – are the ones who can’t talk about death – and perhaps those at the other end of the scale are less trapped by the material world, more spiritually open? Perhaps… but pretty much everyone wants money, if not for it’s own sake at least for what it can do, buy, make happen… We’re told not to love it, but most Christians want it just as much, even if only to give away to others! It’s how this world works…
I don’t want to talk about it: it makes me uncomfortable. I believe in generosity, in spending lavishly at appropriate times and giving lavishly at others – but in ‘not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing’, as Jesus said (Matthew 6v3). Money is private, secret… like sex: it’s embarrassing to bring it into the open. Why? It stirs emotions – which is probably why are we so outraged by the greedy bankers and all the inequalities. It’s about justice, fairness, reward and honour – and at the very least about everyone having what they need.
Just after His comment on giving – at the end of the same chapter – Jesus said it was the Father’s role to provide us with food and clothes and He will if we put Him first: He knows what we need to live and He cares for us. That’s another reason why we (personally) sometimes get mad when other Christians ask for money for things instead of asking Him to tell us to give it to them! But it does mean we all have to be listening to Him for that to work! It’s a bit extreme to react like that perhaps, but it is difficult to be ‘rich Christians in an age of hunger’ trying to work out our priorities and exactly what and who we should be giving to and no longer convinced by the church teaching on tithing that supports it’s pay-packets, systems and ministries… ‘Each of you must give what you have decided in your heart, not with regret or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’ 2 Corinthians 9v7 seems to be the best New Testament advice.
These days we are all daily informed of the global picture so we also have to find a response to the mass starvation in Africa as well as poverty in our own city streets. ‘The poor are always with us’ and in these times of financial squeeze if we have a conscience alongside any spare cash at all it is easy to feel very guilty. Even in our communities of faith we are far from having all things in common as they did in the early church (Acts 2v44) and we have clearly failed in humankind’s stewardship role of sharing our planet’s resources. Indeed, if we really have been given dominion down here (Genesis 1v26) why do we always blame God for things going wrong? Money really does seem to have a spiritual hold on us – again in Matthew 6v24 Jesus called it an alternative god, a stronghold that’s in opposition to God: the old translation calls it Mammon. It is no wonder capitalism brings bondage and evil with such forces at it’s back.
But now it’s all got very personal: the rubber has hit the road with Sam. I feel as if I am throwing out a live grenade as I post this… but yesterday he pulled the pin and if I don’t throw it I am going to burn up in the heat. May it land somewhere timely and appropriate or disappear into the bushes, but if people really do want to know about our journey this is certainly the next chapter…
Sam is angry. I hadn’t really clocked it until about a week ago, but what is driving him at the moment is the desire to get more cannabis oil from Canada. He is convinced this is the stuff that will get rid of his tumour: he ‘felt’ it work when he was there at the end of last year, but he knows the lump is ‘still there’ and he wants to have another course of ‘medicine’. No, he won’t have another brain scan to check this and yes, he insists he is better and completely refuses any talk of the mass starting to grow again at some point… That is hard for us as we try to hold on to reality as well as faith. Is it simply denial? It is his way of coping and he insists if Jesus said ‘Ask and it is given’ (there’s a whole series of new age books and teachings called ‘The Law of Attraction’) then IT IS GIVEN! Perhaps our son has more ‘faith’ than we do – and he is mad with us about that too
Poor intelligent parents! As a scientist Martin just can’t go there and though I have a small hope that he could be right about this oil killing cancer cells, we can’t throw away everything else we know and put our trust in it as he is doing. I am trusting Jesus – my faith is in His goodness – but when I say that, Sam asks which part of ‘Ask and it is given’ I don’t understand! And actually there was that spiritual picture given while praying 2 years ago about ‘6 candles not going out in a strong wind, 6 glasses filling up from the bottom and 6 roses turning from white to red’ – and it came from a very trusted source – which made me think that God was going to work Sam’s healing gradually, through man’s efforts (6 is the number of man)… So surely I should have some hope? But it’s about holding on to our integrity, to love and to each other and being willing to live in the not-knowing while fully expecting good to come: it is such a big stretch for our tender hearts!
So anyway – back to the filthy lucre: it seems the reason Sam wants his backdated benefits – which are nowhere near as much as we had hoped because we have applied a year too late! – is to pay off his debts and then start an on-line business (google optimisation) to FUND his ‘life-saving treatment’. The business is not primarily some kind of positive approach to the future after all; he is in debt because of the last trip to Canada and now to get back there again he needs about £3000! Then on top of that, he wants to pay out half as much again for a special course that will help him start his company trading and ‘guarantee success’ so then he can continue to pay for whatever ‘treatment’ he may need beyond that. Well if he can overcome that confidence issue that’s dogged him since he was a teenager we will be amazed… we blame the tumour for his not ever being able to execute his increasingly detailed plans. But this certainly is a PLAN that he spends hours perfecting and it is ALL to get MONEY to make himself well in the only way that has presented itself!
Oh God, have mercy. If we sold his house again we could maybe subsidise him further, but that would be a definite backward step that would make all our lives even more intolerable We are now financially committed to the hilt with both children and it’s amazing we have been able to do as much for them as we have. But Sam is bitter: it’s why he left the Support Sam facebook group and why he flew off the handle yesterday when Martin’s kind patients sent their prayers and best wishes… he doesn’t want prayers, he wants cash!
Those of you who are faint-hearted, look away now…
On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 11:32 AM, Sam Dyer wrote:
I’ve had enough of strangers offering good wishes and nothing more. Why don’t people put their money where their mouth is? Most of them know I’m in financially tough straits from trying experimental and radical medicine, they say they want to help out and then they don’t follow through. I left ‘Support Sam’ because of similar false sentiment and I’m not about to change my tack. They just don’t know how hurtful that kind of hypocrisy is: they COULD help out but through their lack of any real action, they’re essentially leaving me on my own. I don’t believe this is going to be the end of me, but I’m pretty sure that most of them would admit they think that way if forced to – why else are they praying? If my perspective were the same as theirs then I would accuse them of manslaughter through inaction. That argument can be made. So why the fuck should I be ‘gracious’ for their superstitious blather anyway? Be the instrument of God you want to be and help me through this by SENDING ME DOUGH.
Sorry, not apologizing for my point of view.
PS – if you want more proof of this mentality, look at people’s approach to SOPA and PIPA. Why do folks think that being lazy and boycotting things for a while whilst they sit in front of the TV is going to make any difference to the physical world? The same idiots are still in charge. Same with my head. The lump is still there. There’s a chance it could NOT be, whether you believe that or not I don’t care, but it’s all dependent on individuals getting off their arses and actually risking their cash. That hasn’t happened yet, and their actions are in direct opposition to their words – which stand as empty.
WOW – a big ouch of rejection! Prayer and love are enough for us, but not for him… a bit like James saying faith without works is dead? Ouch again. It’s embarrassing and even offensive – certainly rude. We can only go back to God, examine our hearts and find out what we have to give – or not. In addition it is even more difficult to give to the non-existent ‘Sam charity’ when it is to fund something illegal!
Please do remember that Sam has a brain tumour. Please do feel free to leave the support group! I just wanted you to know where we are at the moment. Tomorrow ‘It’s going to brighten’.