(Closed) Money, weddings, and materialism… what do you think?

posted 6 years ago in Christian
Post # 3
Member
1734 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@Rachel631:  I don’t identify as Christian, but I deeply appreciate your social justice-centered interpretation of your faith.

(And while we’re spending more than I sometimes feel comfortable with…I’m trying to use small local vendors who can use the work — enriching my own community — and I figure that the ritual events of life are no less important to people in impoverished areas.)

Post # 4
Member
279 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I hear you. I think that spending ridiculous amounts of money on one day, albeit an important day, is ludicrous and in comparison with how people in other countries live, it’s in my opinion rather offensive. Imagine if everyone took what they were going to spend on their wedding and gave it to charity. Considering how much money this industry generates, imagine the difference to the world this would make.

And you’re right. I think if Jesus were on earth today, the materialism of this world would upset him. You bring up a very good point about living as Jesus would have wanted. This capitalist society, I believe, is not creating a better world for those who are in need. Christianity may still be the world’s most dominant religion, yet we live in a very non-Christian world.

But in essence I think that if you are concerned and aware of the issues, you’re doing a lot better than many others. Ultimately, your soul will go to where it deserves to go and I believe that if you continue to be an aware Christian, it will go where you want it to go :).

Post # 5
Member
1015 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I personally don’t think the church itself follows Jesus in poverty, much less the bees. The Vatican, for example, is the pinnacle of excess and materialism.

Post # 6
Member
215 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I cried for 30 minutes after I bought my dress because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the good that money could have done if it had gone to charity or something.  Totally understand the guilt you are having!

Post # 8
Member
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I’m not Christian, so I don’t have scripture to add, but I do understand and share the concerns regarding materialism. I think it’s a natural human instinct…and we are so lucky to have been born as privilaged as we are.

I think the key here, is to recognize that “guilt” doesn’t change anything. What does change things is action. You say you’re already involved in bringing change to the rural poor. How about making active demonstration in your wedding to share with others that passion? Perhaps instead of giving favors, you donate to an agency that is near to your heart? And instead of, or in addition to, a gift registry, you give the option to donate to a cause that you trust?

I tried very hard to NOT be spendy on my wedding, but we still spent the annual salary of those in not even the poorest nations.

Post # 9
Member
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I think that anytime we stray from our values we feel guilt, and that guilt can be a sign that we need to change something. I have the same problem as you. Its so hard not to compare to what others have. Weddings especialy seem to be difficult. Its hard to see what some of the other ladies on here have and not feel some jealousy. But I just keep trying to remind myself that I know it will not make me happy.

 

Post # 10
Member
253 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I’ve definitely considered that before. I feel a little bit guilty and I’m not spending much either. I think it all comes down to your heart. In your heart you must be aware that nothing you have, no matter how hard you worked for it, is really yours. At the end of the day all things come from God!  We must be thankful for that. I think it’s also important to remember to give back your portion, like tithing and such. If you are hanging on to every penny with your life, then that’s not the best, and I think wedding planning especially makes us feel like we have to do that. But at the end of the day we need to remember to give back to those in need!  It can be really hard to not feel guilty with how expensive weddings can get!

Post # 11
Member
4046 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@JenniferSC:  Think of it this way, buying a dress you are contributing to the economy, providing jobs, paying taxes, etc. It’s a contribution in its own right.

Post # 12
Member
2589 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think you bring up a good point – the scripture-dropping happens fast and frequently when it comes to gays , but thats because those are propagandized, over-used, talking points that don’t involve an ounce of introspection or thought. Its – oh, we’re talking about gays – BAM – Leviticus!!

When it comes to something like this, there isn’t a “fast-food” type of scripture response like there is with gays, because posting things like that would make almost EVERYONE a giant hypocrite (especially the Catholic Church).

We are all guilty of picking and choosing the aspects of Christianity (or any religion really) that suit us, to a certain extent.  This is something I try to be very aware of, but it is hard – ESPECIALLY with weddings. The compromise I’ve reached for myself is living within my means (not using credit cards or borrowing money for wedding crap), and I’m planning to donate my dress after the wedding.

Post # 13
Hostess
3572 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I don’t really take it from a christian perspective I guess, but I do work in the development field in Afghanistan. No, I didn’t spend a ton on the wedding, and we are sort of stretching out the wedding over two years. (We were married alone by a priest in a private wedding last year and are having a family party this year to celebrate our anniversary.)

So, the way I see it – I spend my life working very hard for things that I believe in. I’m thousands of miles away from most of my family and friends (everyone but DH), and generally put up with rather difficult living conditions. Am I making decent money for it? Of course, I am, but that doesn’t mean that my work doesn’t have value because I’m paid for it. Are there a lot of people here who are in really dire conditions? Absolutely. 

But if there is anything I can learn from my experience here, its that throwing money at problems doesn’t fix anything. Similarly, the amount that we’re spending on my anniversary party could not, single handedly end or even undo the endless socio-economic cycles of abject proverty. 

Also, at least to me, life is not an “either” “or” situation. I personally think that Jesus cares a lot more about the way that I life my life honestly, that I work hard, and that I try to be a good person than he really cares about how I spent 5k celebrating how blessed I feel to have met the love of my life with all of the people I love. But again, that’s just me. To each his own.

Post # 14
Member
1297 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I have had some serious soul-searching over this too. I am having a <5k wedding, but even that seems like… why? I’ve looked at my beautiful (<2k) ring and thought, I could have had a plain band and donated the difference, or nothing at all, and I’d be just as married.

Having wealth doesn’t necessarily make you a sinful person. Think of Joseph of Arimathea. He was a wealthy man and donated his tomb to Jesus. While it probably didn’t affect him monetarily, it would have been a huge statement and could have/may have cost him dearly in social prominence for publicly supporting this crucified “criminal”. Wealthy and prominent citizens were important members of the early church, probably because they had prominence in the community.

At the same time, we can be slaves to our own comfort. The example of the rich young man is used, but I don’t think the passage applies just to the very wealthy. We all need to ask ourselves: are our things more important than following God?

Mark 10:17-27

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Rich Young Ruler

 17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words [a]he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

 23 And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus *answered again and *said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “[b]Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”


Finally, we have to understand that what God really wants isn’t our money: everything is already his. He really wants our heart. When he has that, everything else will follow.

I don’t have this all figured out. I’m still and always working on my faith and turning myself over to God. But this is a great discussion.

Post # 15
Member
7902 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

Although union is recognized by the state and we’ve separated church and state, marriage is a religious institution, and the celebration of a marriage is full of all sorts oreligiously and symbolically loaded moments, one of which is sharing the thathoy with your community. Jesus, after all, went to such a wedding and celebrated with the happy couple and their friends and family. Such moments bring joy to people even in tough times and provide moments for us to galvanizeour relationships, our love for each other, and our love for God. So, keep those things in mind when the money gets to you. I mean, I don’t think that justifies extravagance, but you can still take comfort and even be proud of the lovely mealabou are allowing your friends and family to share together and the celebration that you are inviting them to share in. P

Post # 16
Member
194 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I consider myself a spiritual person. I believe what you put out into the world will return to you.

My Fiance is going to be a lawyer and has spoken of doing some pro-bono cases. I have considered becoming a counselor for troubled teenagers. That is a small way that we will help others in need.

We are also discussing adopting in the future. That will help others in need.

For me, there has to be a balance. I don’t feel bad about spending money that was earned on my fiance and me. I don’t think it’s wrong to be materialistic as long as you give back in your own way and don’t harm others (like putting your family into debt). If a trainer makes you happy, get one. If a wedding makes you happy, have one. I don’t think people should feel guilty for what makes them happy.

There’s other ways you can help others besides giving them money. I’d rather go abroad to help people or participate in a fundraiser rather than just sending them a monthly check.

What I’m planning on doing is buying a foreclosed home (hey I bet you could get a pretty big one for a lot less this way!), paying it off, and then making my family and I as self-sufficient as possible. If we live in the country we will raise chickens and turkey, and if we live in the city, we will have a fish farm. I also plan on having a fairly elaborate garden and getting energy efficient appliances. By having a paid off house and cars, and being pretty self-sufficient when it comes to food, we will hopefully have more money to devote to our family as well as others. I think we will do half and half. Like we’ll save up for a trip to Disney World and then after that we will save up for a trip to go volunteer and help rebuild houses. It’s all about balance for me. 🙂

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