Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wave that Red Flag

For the last week or so, little red flags have been sprouting from the passenger-side windows of Abilene vehicles. At first I thought we had landed a major-league sports team. But today I noticed that the flags read "LIFE" in bold black letters.


I mean, I can only assume that they're trying to raise funds to help preserve LIFE for hungry people, 24,000 of whom die every day. ( Maybe they're going to start by trading in their $20,000 Honda Element for ... oh ... a $3000 Honda Civic.

I could be wrong, though. Maybe they're protesting the 2,100 American troops and 30,000 Iraqi civilians who have been killed in the latest Iraq war. ( Maybe they're going to start by taking that wretched "dubya 2004" sticker off their rear window.

Whatever they're doing, I'm sure it's an honest attempt to help real, live people, not just an attempt to push a political agenda.


katie said...

Hi, saw your blog through Mike's. Maybe you actually know what the flags are for, but I'm not picking up on the sarcasm. Just in case, the flags are protesting abortion. I'm not sure why though, all of the sudden, they are appearing everywhere. Maybe it's being discussed in Texas legislature? I have no idea... but the local Christian radio is sure talking about them every chance they get. I think your idea- selling the car and using that extra $17,000 to adopt a child would make much more of a difference than putting a flag on your car.

connor said...

"He likes it! Hey Mikey!"

Matthew said...

katie wrote:
Hi, saw your blog through Mike's. Maybe you actually know what the flags are for, but I'm not picking up on the sarcasm.

That's OK, I was aiming for irony, anyway. But I'm glad we both see the hypocricy of spending a bunch of money on a status symbol vehicle and then perching a pro-life flag on top.

Um, which Mike are you talking about?

connor wrote:
Hey Mikey!

Dude, you're just weird.

BTW, did you hear about the gay rights group coming to ACU? More about that next post. =)

LaughingJack said...

Interesting. Try living in Austin, everyone has a cause, everyone is fighting their own yuppie battle. Everyone hates the president and loves themselves. While they talk about saving the world they can't seem to see past their own wants to do something about it. Am I getting jaded?

hmmm.. my little word verification thingie has your Initials in it matt...

life_of_bryan said...

Speaking of noble ways to spend your cash...last time I heard, Dr. Money had a pretty nice little house...

Hmmmm, "opportunity cost" expressed in terms of people rather than dollars...interesting.

A. Lo said...

I have been to Dr. Money's nice "little house." And it is nice. But not so little. There is also a brick decal on the back porch that says ACU, if I do remember correctly.

My friends and I also noticed, however, that there are little ceramic bunnies everywhere. Everywhere. Outside, inside. . .probably in the bathroom, too.

So maybe the Moneys got a great deal on the house because the other buyers were scared of the bunnies and didn't want them staring away while they took a dump. I sure wouldn't want a house full of dump-staring bunnies.

A. Lo said...

I wonder what would happen if you made rainbow flags and attached them to people's cars on the ACU campus. Hee hee!

Kyle said...

While I choose not to display overt symbols of a "cause" very often on my car or body, I don't really have a problem with it when people do. I think that the little red flags represent more about the hypocracy and status grubbiness of society in general, than in the individuals. It shows the basic human desire to be seen as one thing or another by everyone else. They see a decal or something that fits into their worldview want to jump on board with like minded people. Subconsciously I think they are really just getting the cool new "WWJD braclet" or Jesus Fish.

I actually fell into this trap during the 2004 campaign. I put a Kerry/Edwards sticker on my car. (It's still there out of laziness.) After some consideration the reason I put it there wasn't because I loved John Kerry, and even though I think Bush is a horrible President, that isn't why I did it. I did it because I enjoy being the outsider and bucking the status quo. Here in Baytown, though not to as great an extent as Abilene, one can easily be associated with the minority by displaying a liberal bumper sticker.

Anonymous said...

I dont like how the conversation turned into talking about a specific person's big house. Though the Bible does talk a whole lot about money, I think it also talks about judging and gossiping. I also remember a parable about a Pharisee who prayed to God and said he was glad he wasnt like this tax collector (sinner). But the sinner was the one who went away justified and the Pharisee did not. So just a caution stating that we all need God's mercy and that we should not get prideful because our houses are not as big as other peoples.
D Love

A. Lo said...

Well then can we judge about bunnies, D-Love? 'Cause they were really freaky.

But I have to disagree a little wtih you about houses. Dr. Money's house is paid for by your tuition, so while you are not to judge him, I think it's okay for you to be aware of whether or not he's being a good steward of things you entrusted to him. (I'm not saying that he ISN'T, just saying that you have reason to question him if he ever goes out and buys a Hummer or something.)

It's his money and he gets to choose how he spends it, but he also chose to accept a very visible position with a church-affiliated school and is looked to as an example, so I think he should be careful. I also think he deserves to be compensated well, but I think my Mom does, too. (And she should spend her money wisely, just as he should.)

Matthew's Wife said...

This conversation got way off track, but that's okay because I have an opinion.

I'm uncomfortable as well with talking about such a prominent figure, but since I have some positive ideas, I think I'll share them.

I really like that D-Love was brave and went against the flow on this one. We all know that we should not judge, but it's hard to remember sometimes.

I understand from A.Lo that some of the things of this world are just not as important as we make them, and it's frustrating to see some people have so little and some people have so much.

As for being good stewards, maybe some people who have a really nice house look at it as an investment. A house will usually increase in value or at least hold its value. Maybe they are very hospitable (I bet they are) and lots of people get to enjoy their house. (Plus, doesn't he have to entertain all those donors who have the money that makes our tuition less expensive? Would they give more or less money if he lived in a more modest house, not that it should matter.)

And we don't know how much money he makes. He might make enough to give lots to charities (an even higher percentage of his income that the rest of us give) and still have money left over for his house and other belongings. The point is that we don't know, so we shouldn't judge.

I do like A.Lo's suggestion that as a very visible person it would be nice if he set an example. But maybe he sets his Christian example in other ways. I think God can be proud of rich people as long as they would give up their belongings if He asked them to. And that's between Dr. M and God and the rest of us really shouldn't worry about it. what extravagant things do the rest of us have that God might want us to give up or share with someone else?

Well, I hope I've said at least something worthwhile. At least I feel better now.

Oh, and I wonder why people collect things like bunnies and cows and sunflowers. My mom used to collect sheep, but I thought she had a pretty good reason; they reminded her of the Lord being our Shepherd. Bunnies can be cute though, so maybe they make Mrs. M happy. I think knick-knacks are strange. Knick-knacks in cars with red flags are even stranger.

life_of_bryan said...

Oops. I guess I should step in and say sorry -- my fault for accidentally starting a grass fire with a cigarette butt. Technically, I don't think I expressed actual judgement of someone, though I was somehow judged as prideful? I just pointed out a nice posession.

You would have to know the background to understand the comment. I recently had a discussion with some friends about our "Americanized" version of Christianity -- one in which we rationalize our Western culture with our religion. We come up with interesting arguments to convince ourselves that it's ok what we choose to do with our own discretionary income. In the simplest terms, I don't think houses, cars, or vacations are bad. But I do think there is such a thing as excess.

Maybe it's unfair of me to expect certain things of people...especially if I hold myself to a much more relaxed standard.

Steve said...

The aforementioned person with the aforementioned big house actually gave their last house to a family whose house burned down.

Sounds to me like aforementioned university president has the right attitude about his stuff -- it's not his.

I like the blog.

Kyle said...

I always thought that RC got a bad wrap because of his last name. It would be as if my name were "Kyle Awesome." People would think I had a big ego just because my last name is awesome. It's not like I gave myself the name. Blame my ancestors. I've always liked Money and thought he was a wonderful man and a good rep for ACU.

Matthew said...

I suppose I should weigh in ...

President Money's position is one of considerable influence in the church of Christ tradition. Traditions that have an established ecclesial hierarchy look to their priests and preachers for examples. Congregational traditions, particularly intellectual traditions like ours, look to their scholars.

Consequently, Dr. Money has a wonderful opportunity - and a painful responsibility - to model mature Christian behavior. And while I would want to talk to Dr. Money before passing judgment on this issue, it seems that a big fancy house is more status symbol than shelter. That's what I object to in general - people spending extraordinary amounts of money on items whose primary purpose is to communicate how much money they have.

So while it would probably be unfair to chastize Dr. Money for being naughty with his ... um ... money, I think that we *should* express our disappointment at his blowing such a valuable opportunity. It would be a great object lesson - to Christians in general, and ACU donors in particular - if the president of ACU lived in a modest house in the old part of town.

D Love said...

Life of Bryan. Just wanted to apologize if it sounded like the "prideful" comment was directed at you. It was suppose to just be a general comment at the end of my post wrapping up what I was saying. I said "we" because I would include myself in someone who needs to be careful of being prideful when looking at others. I just posted because I did not think a blog discussion was the proper place to be discussing a particular person's use of money. I agree with most of the comments made on the issue.