Rode Hard And Put Away Wet

my God, where do these days go?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ok – we’re back from the third world. Whenever I go anywhere like the Dominican Republic, I feel a constant tension.

Now, we stayed in a very lovely resort, replete with gorgeous beaches, swimming pools, and topless women. We had a very relaxing time with our good friends. The resort also, conveniently enough, came equipped with enormous walls surrounding the perimeter.

On our way in and on our way back out, the neighboring poverty was evident. Seemingly complete destitution in an area that contained 50-plus all-inclusive resorts for fat cats (like me).

The last time I ventured to the DR, the question that we asked ourselves repeatedly was, “What does the story of the rich young ruler mean for us in America?” You remember that one – it’s the one from Luke 18 where the rich young man goes to Jesus and says basically, what do I have to do to get into heaven? Jesus says to sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, because it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.

I’ve tried to look at that story from every angle I could think of, and I just can’t wrap my head around it. I’ve become a fan of Dave Ramsey these last few months, but I’m finding it harder and harder to jibe his philosophies of saving money with the Luke 18 story. Is accumulating money a sin? What about retirement accounts? College savings accounts? 401ks?

Then, to add another wrinkle to it, is it irresponsible to spend so much money going to a place where poverty is rampant, for no other reason than that they have a nice beach? I mean, I can justify it by saying that tourism is a huge pillar of the local economy, and while that’s true, it seems a bit weak. Is it being a bad steward (to use a truly churchy word) of what God has given me? Is it sin?

Well, am I making too much out of this? Is it much ado about nothing? Your thoughts?

5 Comments:

Blogger Bigsun said...

I felt the same way when I was in Mexico last fall. Good questions.

I don't fully buy into the "tourism as a mode of economy stimulant" idea. Who is really getting rich off my tourism to Mexico, or yours to the DR? It's certainly not those living in poverty less than a mile away.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Myles said...

the longer i go, john, the more i want to be a marxist. not the leninist, but what cornell west describes as the "progressivist" wing, the ones that are mistrustful of entrenched leadership, even within their own party. bigsun's right in saying that the tourism doesn't pay for the locals of the DR; it pays for the shareholders in the US who fund the resort in the DR.

as for dave ramsey, i think there's nothing wrong with being financially responsible, i.e. staying out of massive amounts of debt, but when we tip over that line and start being financially worrisome, then we've missed the point of the Gospels.

6:43 PM  
Blogger the hamster said...

i have no freakin' idea what myles just said. but i do know that your questions are valid. allow me to spill some ink your way soon about such a topic. i've spent much coffee and window gazing over it since my trip to the DR just a couple of months ago. thanx for the transparency.

11:36 PM  
Blogger DEBTective said...

Don't feel guilty about investing and having some dough, bub. Dave Ramsey says money is good for spending, investing and GIVING. It's all right to have money, just make sure to do good things with it, like helping out the less fortunate people you talked about. It's the most fun you'll have with the moolah, baby! www.debtective.com

11:53 AM  
Blogger DEBTective said...

Don't feel guilty about investing and having some dough, bub. Dave Ramsey says money is good for spending, investing and GIVING. It's all right to have money, just make sure to do good things with it, like helping out the less fortunate people you talked about. It's the most fun you'll have with the moolah, baby! www.debtective.com

11:53 AM  

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