On Frugality and Christianity

I am a student, in the broadest sense of the term; that is, I am constantly looking for opportunities to learn, reflect, and grow in the many things that I do (e.g. professionally as a teacher, deliciously as a cook, husbandly as a husband). However, I’m quite sure the kind of student that I am isn’t the same as the kind of ‘student’ that museums and attractions have in mind when they have ‘student’ deals. With the forever youthful (until 30- or 40-some years old) genes of being Chinese and a university ID card that has no expiration, these student deals have been taken advantage of in order to save on the costs of admission.

Now is that right?

I think clearly the answer is not exactly, but if I’m not getting in trouble for it, is that okay? And I think the “is that okay” part is what’s our first topic of discussion.

Recently in our devotions Andrea and I have been reading through Hebrews, and this particular line has stuck out to her: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Which started the whole conversation about us using our student cards that I was not entirely comfortable with discussing since it’s a bit of a grey area and I like to save what I can.

But it’s wrong to be using my student ID card in such a manner if I am no longer a student. Which is what most people do when they graduate from university (huzzah for most everyone else). Surprisingly, this talk lead us into a broader range of discussion into downloaded media such as music and movies or reading manga online.

Another verse, which is more commonly known, is “thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). In which case, I have been doing a lot of stealing. An argument I initially had was: I can watch it on YouTube, so downloading it to my computer is not so different since both are ‘free.’ When you download the music / movie, you deprive the creators their due for the work that they have put in (even if that is just a view or ad money online). When I have a copy on my computer, I am making it more convenient for me to access the music, which is something that I am supposed to pay for.

 

Essentially, this boils down to:

  1. Deleting all the music that I do no own (collected over the past dozen or so years)
  2. Deleting all the movies / TV shows that I do not own
  3. Not reading published manga online (because that should be purchased or borrowed from the library).
  4. Giving away all the board games that are probably contraband because I bought them off Taobao

In many ways, this hurts because…

  1. I am quite sentimental and attached to my music (something that’s been with me through a lot
  2. There’s a lot of things I want to watch that I wouldn’t have access to (legally on Netflix or other websites)
  3. Manga / anime have also had a large influence on who I am
  4. I love board games

 

This mostly either inconveniences me (because I’d have to go in more roundabout ways to access the media that I enjoy) or costs me more (because I would have to purchase the things I do want to consumer), but I feel that it is the right thing to do. We feel convicted to do it. Even though it may be convenient, being Christian has never been about things being convenient for us (in fact it’s the opposite in a lot of ways).

Positively, this does make us more selective of what we consume media-wise (or better yet, to consume-less). I think even better, is that this might provide us with an opportunity to witness to others if the topic ever comes up. Personally, I think this is also massive in that it’s the first time I’ve felt so convicted (and yet conflicted) to doing something.

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