If I had a hundred bucks free and clear, how would I use it redemptively?
It's a tempting thought: that's something like twenty-five lattes, four hundred chances to rescue a fair maiden from Donkey Kong, four hundred shaves and haircuts (assuming, of course, that a shave + a haircut = two bits). But none of those microenterprises is particularly redemptive. So I've got to dig a little deeper.
Given my initial gut reaction, my first reasoned response is to get rid of the money as quickly as possible. Hand it over to Habitat for Humanity, or Doctors Without Borders, or the Presbyterian Church (USA). I know myself well enough to know that money meant for a redemptive purpose very easily becomes money I will use now for my own purposes and one day replace with money to be used for a redemptive purpose. The sooner I relieve myself of the burden of redemptive money, therefore, the better.
But it's also far too easy to buy myself out of the problems that plague the world around me, to say "Here's a hundred bucks. Now leave me alone while I tend to my blog." So I'm most inclined to use the money to facilitate a meaningful encounter between myself and a world in need. I heard the other day about a church in Oregon that occasionally takes offerings of "socks and smokes," which are the two most frequent requests from homeless people in their area. People from the church then hand out socks and smokes indiscriminately, leading them into experiences of solidarity with area homeless, and ultimately binding the destinies of the church and the homeless together.
Since the death of Pope John Paul II, I've been thinking a lot about solidarity, a political movement in his home country of Poland and a theological theme of his for the late-twentieth century. A hundred bucks is a small price to pay for an expression of solidarity with people it's otherwise too easy for me to ignore. So I think at this point I'd have to say that if I had a hundred dollars, I'd blow it all on socks and cigarettes.
OK, who to tag. I'll say Carolyn (like "Bono"), Mr. Steve and the Sarcastic Lutheran.