Saturday, April 30, 2016

Loaded, by Heather King

I've read many books on money, particularly money and Christianity.  Heather King's Loaded: Money and the Spirituality of Enough is the most unusual one I've read.  Her target audience is people who have chosen voluntary poverty or asceticism.  King's perspective is that Christians shouldn't feel compelled to underearn.   She says Loaded is about "how to detach from the idea that our identity could possibly lie in how much or how little money we make or have."

King says she wants to "explore how we might spend as much of our days as possible doing what we love." When we "follow the deepest desires of our heart. . . . the money will come. And we'll want to share it."  I appreciate that sentiment, but I didn't feel like that is really what the book accomplished.  The main message I took away from Loaded is to be okay with having enough and spending what you have on what you need.

King and some of the individuals she profiles in Loaded come from a perspective of voluntary poverty, where they underearned and struggled with guilt if they spent money.  She talks about going through twelve step programs to find freedom in earning money and using it.  Don't get me wrong, King is all for living simply and is definitely not in favor of the excesses of American consumer culture.  But neither is she in favor of choosing poverty as an end rather than a means to an end.  She concludes, "We help poor people not by compulsively staying poor ourselves, but by sharing our material and emotional riches with them."

King knows her audience, people like her who have been involved in the Catholic Worker movement, or who have otherwise lived lives of voluntary poverty.  That is a pretty small audience.  Most Christians in mainstream America come from an opposite place.  But for her audience her writing is relatable and, at times, moving.  Whether we have a little or a lot, live in a slum or a suburb, King reminds us to do what you love and be generous with what you have.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

2016 Reading Challenge: A book by a female author

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