Friday, January 29, 2010

#2. Isn't DEBT a four letter word?

Ever heard of a guy named Frank X Macnamara? War hero? Famous old tv or movie star? Politician? Nope....Macnamara deserves our gratitude and applause for inventing the modern credit card. Three cheers for that guy! In 1950 Macnamara started a small company with his lawyer and Alfred Bloomingdale called the Diners Club. The first charge card that wasn't connected to a single business, but rather the individual shopper. And we all know what happened next, right? Along came some competitors in the late 50's...some small no-name companies called American Express and Bank Americard [Visa]. Everyone starts using them to purchase everyday items cause it was easier than lugging that heavy, cumbersome, bulky cash around. Eventually the banks get greedy and issue interest bearing cards, then the consumer got greedy and decided he needed things he couldn't afford and needed them immediately. And all of the sudden we were at the end of the 20th century and the average american household was carrying around 14,500 dollars in consumer debt!

Raise your hand if you still have absolutely no idea why America just led the world into the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression?

Now I understand that the concept of credit has been around about as long as humanity and certainly much longer than money, but DEBT is a 4 letter word in my house. Callie & I were insanely fortunate to grow up with parents who did a phenomenal job of blueprinting how to save and spend only what you make. We both went to college's we could afford with scholarships we earned and no student loans. Our cars have always been bought with cash. We pay off our ONE credit card at the end of every month, and in the five years we have had it the balance has never rolled over. The only reason we have that is so about twice a year we can fly for free with the miles we build up. Novel idea right? Actually the bible says pretty clearly that "the borrower is a slave to the lender." in proverbs. We're not really excited about slavery so we make concious decisions, even when they mean "sacrifice" or "discomfort" that protect financial freedom for our family. We hold tightly to the words of Paul in Romans 13 "Owe no one anything, except to love each other."

A lot of people think that some debt is O.K. In fact we've created a culture in the United States where going into COLOSSAL LIFE-LONG debt seems like the only possible way to own a home. I don't want to turn this into a math lesson, but have you ever considered what you might would do with the interest you pay to a bank on a 30 year fixed mortgage if you didn't have to pay it? What if you waited a few more years before you decided you HAD to own a home, rented modestly, saved tenaciously, and payed cash for your home. Well.....the 1st thing that would happen is that you would instantly save about the cost of your home in interest. For example if you buy a $200,000 house at a 5.5% rate you'll pay $208,000 dollars in interest for a grand total of $408,000. Do you see where I am going here?

The 37th book of Psalms says “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;” How about being a giver and making a difference in the lives of people who have nothing? When the tsunami hit a few years back, or the earthquake in Haiti, when our neighbors in New Orleans were all living in the Superdome, or when you heard about the massive poverty and oppression happening in Darfur you couldn't help. Why? Cause debt, interest, and the banks OWN us. I know lots of people weren't as fortunate as Callie and I to have the blueprints of money management laid out for them, but what's stopping you from flipping that switch now? I guess you gotta start with answering the question.... Isn't debt a 4 letter word? What's your answer?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

#1. Are the pro-lifers really PRO LIFE?

This is my first official question here at questionsthatmakepeoplemadatme and so I figure..."Hey, why not start out with a ZINGER!?!?" The pro-life vs. pro-choice conversation has been a tenacious political debate since January 22nd 1973. For over 35 years the good ol' U.S. of A has been at odds with itself on the rights of mothers and their unborn child [or fetus depending on which side of the aisle you sit]. It has become such a dominant force in the world of politics that every four years millions of Americans consider this one issue alone as the determining factor in who they think should lead the free world. But my question is a lot less political and a whole lot more logical in nature. Now if you are a pro-lifer, awesome....this blog is for you. If you are a pro-choice-kind-of-guy or gal...stick around I think my thoughts might interest you...and I desperately need your feedback.

Generally speaking [I realize I'm using a very broad stroke here], the pro-life side of the aisle is made up of Conservatives, often Evangelical and sometimes Republican. None of these people groups are 100% full proof in their make up of pro-lifism, but in general it's a principle they hold on to tightly. And you know one when you see one, right? Ironically these SAME people groups love the death penalty as a method of justice. They are also the #1 fan of war to ensure peace as a national defense policy. Now let me remind you that my question is not political, but I wanted to start by pointing out the paradoxical nature of the political affiliation.

11 days ago there were 400,000 orphans in Haiti...that's 5% of their population. Then the greatest earthquake in modern history hit killing over 200,000 people and displacing another 3 million. Here's what I want to know and the logical angst of my 1st question...where will they go? If PRO-Life is not a political tag, but rather an ideal that, with integrity, you revere...what are you doing? Have you ever considered inviting one of the 132 million orphans on this planet into your home? And I don't mean for tea or a slumber party...well that might be a good starting point, but I'm thinking a little more long-term. Did you consider the 4500 kids that died yesterday because they don't have access to clean drinking water while you were flushing 3 gallons down the toilet or taking that extra long shower? I use the toilet and take showers too...I am just being honest about the responsibility I think comes along with a title like PRO LIFE.

Last year there were 43 million abortions worldwide. In the good ol' U S of A there were almost 1.3 million. 1.3 million babies that should have been born according to the pro-life side. Now I realize that there are a myriad of reasons that mothers choose abortion, but let's just chase a rabbit and pretend that 1/3 of the abortions from 2009 would have been born into families that were completely incapable of actually raising a chid financially, mentally, or socially. I have a hunch the number would be much higher, but let's just pretend 1/3. Where will they go? 430 THOUSAND BABIES...the population of WYOMING. Are they coming to your house? If you're going to be pro-life, shouldn't you passionately also be pro-adoption? Shouldn't you have at least 1 or 2 at risk children living in your home and calling you mom or dad? And what about that worldwide number...43 million in 2009..ugh. Heaven help us if we use the previous equation and plug in the worldwide abortion number. I better build a bigger house.
Are the pro-lifers really PRO LIFE? What's your answer?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#0. Hey there's nice to meet you!!!

HELLO world! How ya been? My name's Jonathan RIch...I'm 28 years old and I live in Atlanta. My wife is hot...her name is Callie and she's a labor and delivery nurse at Grady Hospital. She also happens to be pretty much the most incredible mother I know. If you wanna know more about that check her out here. And then there's my 2 year old...Josiah. He loves basketball, drums, and chic-fil-a & I had nothing to do with any of those interests....promise.

I grew up in a southern baptist church and I'm very grateful for that [don't judge me]. I play rock and roll in bars for a living...well for a partial living. I make up the difference by pastoring, building things, designing things, and mooching off my wife. I think dr pepper is nectar from heaven and my favorite restaraunts include [in order of preference] in-n-out burger, chic-fil-a, little five points pizza, chipotle, & fox bros. barbecue.

Now that we've played the get-to-know-you-game there's one more thing I should tell you...I've got questions. Lots & Lots of QUESTIONS. Sometimes they keep me up at night, sometimes they make people angry...actually most of the time. And then, every once in a while, they start a conversation that makes me glad that I ask questions. So I thought I'd ask YOU a question or two...the goal will be (cross your fingers) to post a new question every Friday right here at Then YOU come and read it. Get mad or angry or happy or whatever, collect your thoughts, and drop a comment. It's gonna be fun...I promise. Until's nice to meet you and I'll look forward to the conversation.