August 2 - 8, 2004



Getting rid of ‘all the crap’


I was recently commiserating with a friend, also the father of small children, about how hard it is to keep the house clean with energetic, active, creative kids at home.


“But what really gets to me about cleaning the house,” he said, “is all the crap.”


Crap. Not just the kids’ stuff – the nonstop accumulation of toys and stuffed animals that overflow from toy bins, under beds and closets. The adult stuff – like the kitchen gadgets that clutter the counter, the cleaning stuff overflowing from under the kitchen sink, the tools in the garage, the yard stuff all over the lawn, the deck furniture, the CDs and electronic do-dads, and on and on.


The crap factor came to mind this past Sunday when we heard Jesus' parable of the rich man in Luke 12. He had so much stuff, he had to tear down his barns to build bigger ones to hold it all.


I have friends who only half joke that they need a bigger house to hold all their crap. Funny thing is, after a while, we don’t even see how much stuff we have.


Relatives who are selling their home of 35 years were advised by the real estate broker to get rid of a lot of their accumulated junk. They were shocked. Their house was clean and neat. But filled with so much stuff, the house had a cluttered, claustrophobic kind of feel that would turn off potential buyers. After the dump runs and the yard sales, the house looked so good they wished they had done it long ago.


Jesus sent out his followers instructing them not to take a lot of stuff, and he warned them just before the parable of the rich man  to beware of thinking life consisted in the accumulation of possessions. I think Jesus was hinting that when our lives are cluttered by possessions, ideas, loyalties and desires, it’s harder to keep focused on living a Godly life.


Jesus kept things very simple, but he must have known how difficult it is for people to do likewise.


I’m going through my crap now and getting rid of the kids' broken and long-disused toys, the books I haven’t read for 10 years, the clothes I haven’t worn in 2 years and the food items in the cupboard I haven’t touched in a year.  It’s hard work, but the house looks a lot cleaner and in some spiritual sense that's hard to describe, I feel much freer.


--Rob Blezard, Webmaster and editor (



New This Week: August 2 - 8:
Pledge drive in bite-size steps
For the organizationally challenged steward, here's a guide that takes a complicated process and makes it manageable. Includes not only steps for implementation, but also a timetable. From the New Jersey Synod, ELCA. It's in PDF, which requires Adobe Acrobat.  Click here for your free copy of Acrobat.
 Where your budget is, your heart is also
"What is lobbying for my attention and my money?  Am I any better at looking at the whole picture before I do my budget?  Am I any better at seeing where my heart lies? Is it so easy to open my purse for fast food and less easy for the hungry?  Does my momentary hunger outweigh global hunger?" In Dana Reardon's weekly reflection.
The benefits of a successful pledge program
This article, geared for non-religious charities, sheds light on the practice that has been the mainstay of congregational finances for decades. Church leaders may benefit from this "fresh" view by an outsider. From
  Stewardship of People
"Institutional loyalty is admirable and deserves development and encouragement. But it can easily rate ahead of a loyalty and concern for fellow workers. The institution can swallow up the “risk” and “emotion” of people relationships. We can “hide” and “slip by” in the vast machinery of an institution." By
Glen Holmquist, in the Lutheran Laity Movement Archives.