Weekend Reading

1. A blogger retired at 30-years old. While that isn't a goal we should necessarily aspire to, his perspective on managing his money is informative.

When do you hope to retire? 65? 60 if you really get frugal? Mr. Money Mustache left the working world at 30, and he wants you to, as well. The popular personal finance blogger (who only reveals that his first name is Pete) has gained a loyal following by insisting that early retirement is really pretty easy, if people only shake off their wasteful attitudes about debt and consumerism. He spoke with Vox via email about how people can amp up their saving and investing and quit their jobs a few years earlier.
Near the top of the list of things I despise is companies that take advantage of the plight of the poor and desperate. But just above that on my list is something I hate even more: being poor and desperate. That’s why I loathe payday lending companies that charge usurious interest rates—and why I’m not yet ready to see them abolished.

Here’s how payday lending works. If you have a job (and pay stub to prove it), a payday lending company will allow you to write and cash a post-dated check. For this service the company will charge an absurd interest rate. A typical two-week payday loan with a $15 per $100 fee equates to an annual percentage rate (APR) of almost 400 percent. So if you need $100, you write the check for $115 and they’ll give you $100 in cash. Two weeks later they cash your check or you can renew or “rollover” the amount—for an exorbitant fee.

3. The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is creating a new strategy designed to overcome the limitations of the traditional mobilization models.

“We want to empower limitless missionary teams to make disciples and multiply churches among unreached people,” Platt said. “We need a strategy that doesn’t cap our number of missionaries merely based upon how much money we have.”

Platt noted the IMB operated “in the red” last year, with the agency’s operating expenses exceeding income by nearly $21 million.

”Right now our funnel is really small ... such that we’re turning people away,” Platt said. “And what I’m saying, what we know, is that we need to blow open this funnel and create as many pathways as possible for Christians and churches to get the Gospel to unreached people.”

4. An essay on sympathy for politicians, and a call to pray for them this Lenten season:

I have a lot of empathy for politicians, which is not on the whole a dishonorable profession except for the dishonor some individuals bring to it. Always, their actions or inactions aid some while undoubtedly producing possible hardship for someone else, and politicians are often faced with intractable interests that cannot be reconciled.

Tell you what: As part of your Lenten discipline, pray for your least favorite public office holder. Just a couple times, perhaps, until you get the hang of it, then with more regularity. It may do him or her some good, but I think it might be of more benefit to the rest of us.

5. Why Dorothy L. Sayers began with herself when seeking societal change:

Sayers knew that the words of Chesterton had changed the face of her own world. As she explained in a 1954 letter, “If I am not now a Logical Positivist, I probably have to thank G. K. C.” Sayers’s attraction to logical positivism, a philosophy that held that only empirically verifiable facts can ground truth, explains why, in 1947, she dismissed Begin Here as “a very rush job, undertaken much against my will,” with factual “errors and omissions.”

Little did she know that Begin Here would foreshadow our eventual attack on the “just the facts, ma’am” attitude. One day postmodernists would echo her insight that “with the abandonment of an absolute Authority outside history, the seat of absolute authority within history tends to become identified with the seat of effective power.”

Thanks largely to Chesterton, Sayers’s solution to the arbitrary absolutes and power of secular culture was the divine authority of Christian orthodoxy: an absolute transcending all culturally contingent dogmas. She would have reminded us that the creative work of contributing to culture, as an expression of the image of God, the imago Dei, must therefore always begin here, with these words: “In the beginning, God created.”