I will be the first to admit that I grew up in a fairly conservative Christian family. It wasn’t as extreme as some stories I’ve heard from my grandparents, but I never saw my parents drink alcohol until my oldest brother’s wedding ceremony and the radio always blared Christian music. None of these are bad things, but these few examples are great indicators of a more conservative spin on Christianity.
In fact, conservative Christianity often abides by several of these rules or behaviors, regardless of whether it is abstaining this or that, in an attempt to live a holy lifestyle. The idea is that as we live holy lifestyles, we can glorify God and be a great counter-example to the world. This is the whole city-on-a-hill mentality. Shine your light upon the darkness. While this can lead to some legalistic tendencies (similar to the Pharisees, which many people are quick to point out), there are many positive things, one of which is the frugal nature of conservative Christianity.
Why Conservatives are Frugal
Despite the criticism that conservative Christians get, there are many financial benefits of living a life free from many of certain behaviors. Here are several activities or items that some (not all) abstain from:
Movies – Believe it or not, many Christian families and churches forbade going to the movies. It was considered too secular. (In my opinion, they didn’t understand a proper balance between sacred and secular) However, despite my “progressive” (or contemporary) stance, this was a great way to save some bucks. Today, going to a movie can cost more than $30 with tax before food for just two people. I can’t imagine having a large family. By avoiding movies all-together, they can enjoy other forms of entertainment.
Alcohol – Alcohol is probably one of the most debated topics within conservative Christians. Because of the strict adherence to literal interpretations of the Bible, conservative Christians hardly know what to do with passages of Jesus turning water into Wine. I have heard some pastors trying to say that there is a different Greek word used for wine than grape juice and so forth. While it may seem absurd to some of you, the point that I am making is that it saves some serious dough. I just went to two weddings in the same month. One had an open bar and the other didn’t have any alcohol. I can only guess how much more one bride and groom spent than the other. The simple fact is that alcohol costs money. Plain and simple. By avoiding this altogether, you are freeing up your money for other purposes.
The point I wish to make is two-fold. First and foremost, conservative Christianity (even as it changes with time) gets a lot of criticism, but actually contributes towards a healthy financial situation as it protects people from overspending on unnecessary items. Secondly, everything is more complicated than we often make it appear. Regardless of my own beliefs, conservative Christianity often gets blamed for a lot of things wrong in the church without pointing out the positive things. And so, the next time you want to point the finger, try to challenge yourself by asking what are some of the positive things that it/they/he/she has/have to offer.
What other ways does conservative Christianity help people save money?