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Chris Pollock

Chris Pollock - web developer & ecommerce entrepreneur
undivided… my thoughts on world, family, church, business, technology and Jesus Christ (all in all)

Face to Face Lending

Our generation has been dominated by faceless lending.  Our recent economic crisis was spurred on by the increasing layers of abstraction that are introduced between borrower and investor.  Abstraction of borrower and lender has been an attempt to protect both, but has the really been the outcome?  Can we look at the signs of the times and read for ourselves that the more abstract that the borrowing process becomes, the more malicious and pain-filled it will become. 

A lesson I have been learning over and over again over the past five years is that Jesus came to set people right with himself and one another.  Not only does Jesus make it possible for us to have relationship with God, but also proper relationship with one another.  Another way of saying this is Jesus puts us face to face with our God and with our brother

1 John 1:1-4

1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

So often what I have seen in the church is not the kingdom lifestyle of face-to-face living but the embracing and encouraging of worldly abstractions that separate and insulate.  Why is this?  Chris has set us free from the fear of being wronged (hasn’t he)?  And yet we mitigate risk and loose valuable kingdom investment by continuing to run to the worlds financial system. 

For years I have been meditating on such things.  (See this document I produced five years ago).  And recently my Gracious Father has been allowing me to taste some of the concepts that I have so long thought about.  In order to purchase a house, a friend lent me a large sum of money as a bridge loan.  Lord willing, I will soon have the opportunity to do the same for another friend.  Here are a few of the goods that I have experienced in personal, face-to-face lending:

  • Sober Spending – Part of the credit culture that we live in is a disconnect between desires and the consequences of that spending.  Face to face lending puts a real face on spending in a number of ways.
    • 1. It ensures that my purchases are inline with the values of my community.  It discourages lending for the purposes of getting an advantage or “moving up”. My friend was more than wiling to lend me money when I was basically buying a house of equal value and size.  If I was trying to elevate my social standing by buying something with far more comforts than my friend possessed I doubt he would readily lend me the money. 
    • 2. Because I am returning payment to a person and not an institution, my repayment of the loan has a direct impact on his life.   While borrowing I was tempted to buy one of the latest gadgets on the market, but knowing that I had a debt to a friend, and that buying this item meant slower repayment to him helped to keep the “gots to have its” in check. 
  • Preaching the Kingdom of God – Loaning to one another preaches the veracity and reality of the Kingdom that God himself governs.  Let’s face it.. why are people in the church afraid to lend to one another?  Fear.  The Kingdom that God rules is run by Love.  Love cast out Fear.  Personal lending preaches the reality that God can manage his Kingdom and help his children come to terms when when there is a disagreement or problem.   Institutions and prophylactic structures make sense where love is NOT the governing rule, but do they make sense where it is?

There is really so much more.. but I’ll leave it there and with a Scripture that I read just this evening.

Psalm 112:5

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.

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The Consumption Society

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My wife found this site and I just spent 20 min watching the video: http://www.storyofstuff.com

If the consumption mind set of our culture troubles you.. check out the video, it’s worth watching.  I’m not sure about the validity of all the stats or claims.  A few of them seem a little over the top and might be “spun” to further the argument she is making, but with that in mind, I think there’s still space for thoughtful review of how and why “stuff” is purchased. 

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Non-Charitable Charity – Why Giving the Government’s Way is Void of Love

It’s tax time again and for the past couple of years I’ve been struck that my method of giving is totally unrecognized by the government.  Before you mistake this as a complaint, it’s not, it’s simply an observation that I wish to bring to the attention of those that are interested in love.  It has slowly become my conviction that what the government calls “charity” is exactly self-interest in disguise.  Why self interest?  Giving to get.  If I give X to a valid 501(c)3 organization I’ll get my tax write off.  I admit that loving the way God tells us to love is full of rewards, but none of those rewards have anything to do with mammon.  Giving to get a tax write off is simply NOT charity… call it what you will, but don’t call it love. 

For more clarity I call your attention to one of the most well known passages of Scripture.  Where do we get our understanding of love?  Is it not from the story of the Samaritan?  After all, who loved their neighbor?  The one who picked up a stranger, washed his wounds (at expense to himself) and paid for his needs of recovery.  Where were the other two headed (the priest and the Levite), but off to their jobs at the governmentally-recognized institution. 

Ironically the government does not recognize “contribution to a specific individual” or “contribution to a nonqualified organization”.   The Samaritan’s expenses would not have been recognized by the government.   The irony is rich and hopefully the implications are clear.  What God desires is not for us to leverage and extra percentage or two by getting a tax write off, but rather to be open to do radical works of love to those whom won’t be recognized or “qualified” as outlets for the world’s charity.

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A New Son and a New Name

First an introduction.  Simon Jacob Pollock was born on June 6, 2008 at 5:30 in the morning.   [This is where weight and height would be inserted.. but I’m not really sure why people give those stats, so I’m leaving them out.]  He looks just like a Pollock.  Below is his very first picture.

Simon Jacob Pollock

Now for the story of his name.

Simon’s name was not always to be Simon Jacob.  Just a day earlier it was to be Simon Clayton.  Clayton was a family name and so initially we thought it made a fine middle name for Simon.  The hours surrounding his birth would change all that.  On June 5th we traveled to be with friends who were celebrating the death of you their young son Jacob.

I say celebrated, and not mourned, because celebration definitely characterized the event.  The Fahmer’s believe, as do I, that a child who has not sinned is not subject to the demands of the Law and therefore the Wrath of God (not the case for the rest of us who have knowingly transgressed the commands of our loving heavenly Father).  It was a celebration because he is in heaven where he continually get’s to behold the face of the Lord Jesus and is free from the suffering that characterized his short life (138 days).

Jacob Fahmer was born with Trisomy 18, a life shortening condition (you can read his whole story here).  His life was short, by God’s own choosing, but it was not without value or significance.  He, like,all creatures made in the image of God, brought a certain reflection that is not limited by length of days. For one, the Fahmer’s life has forever been changed, by the gift of his life.  Secondarily, I believe (and you can read testimony for yourself in this post and in others on Jacob’s blog) that people have been caused to consider their lives and their God.   What other purpose and hope can one have?!  What else is lasting and enduring, than to have the effect of causing people to reflect on their standing with the Eternal God.?!

As we celebrated Jacob’s “home going” my wife began to experience the pangs of labor.  We gathered our children, said a few quick goodbyes and headed home (a hour and 15 minutes away).  On the way back, we could see that labor was beginning to set in. My wife’s contractions were becoming regular instead of fading away.  At one point I looked over to my wife and said “If we have this child tonight I want to call him ‘Simon Jacob’”.  My wife gave a quick nod of agreement.

Why the change?

I don’t believe in coincidence.  I believe that God orders our days, our death, and our birth.  It was not a mistake that my wife went into labor at Jacob’s funeral.  It was God’s plan.  It’s not just the timing of the event that leads me to see God’s hand, but also my understanding of God.  God brings life and death together.  He did it when His Son was crucified.  Jesus’ death brought forth eternal life.  The Creation testifies about this every day.  You have to be blind not to see that God has ordered death to life.  Plants & Animals that die and fall into the ground and nourish the next generation.  A simple walk through the woods could teach this to the attentive eye.  All through the Creation death and life are caught up together to point us to the revelation of Jesus’ death on the Cross and Resurrection three days later.

This is the story I want to characterize my life and the life of my family.  The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  He is embedding that story in our lives, even through the simple “happenings” of life.  Jacob’s death.. Simon’s life have been tied together in a narrative that God is writing.  I am happy simply to see it, acknowledge it, and worship because of it.

Simon Jacob – because God brings life out of death.

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19th Ward (Westside) Farmers Market

This notice went out on an email list today.  Here are the details I said I would announce when they became available:

The market in our neighborhood will celebrate opening day on June 17th!!!!!!

It will be called the Westside Farmers Market, serving the westside neighborhoods, as well as anyone else interested in shopping with us. Many westside neighborhood organizations have been involved in the start-up. It will be located in St. Monica's parking lot. The Wilson students are working on a logo now, and you will soon start to see sandwich boards, etc. Applications have been received from fruit and vegetable growers, nurseries. There is the possibility of homemade pasta, meat, jams, ice cream, baked goods. We hope to enjoy entertainment by local musicians, and gather for fun every Tuesday from 4:00 – 8:00 PM.

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CSA Pickup Point in the 19th Ward

There will be a pick-up location for the Windy Meadow Farms CSA in the 19th Ward this year.  On Thursday evenings during the growing season, from 4-6 PM,  our house will be a pick-up site for this organic vegetable producer.  If you have interest in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), or if you'd just be interested in a steady stream of local, in-season, organic produce, take a look at their website. http://www.windymeadowfarms.com/  Their site gives all of the pricing and contact information along with an online registration form for anyone who wants to sign up.

If you are interested in picking up at our house, please contact me and I will give you our address.

Michael Warren Thomas will be interviewing Brenda from Windy Meadows Farms on March 29th on his show Savor Life on WYSL 1040 AM

Michael also informed me that he is helping to organize a Farmer's market  in the 19th Ward on Tuesday afternoons/evenings. It will probably be located in the St. Monica's parking lot on Genesee St.  When the details are firm I will post them.

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Things I see

Work day in London.Micah's new persona is Indian Jones. And he's never even seen the movie! Check out that hat.A very cold walk today. With horses in tow.The real Epping forest.Growing up in the city has taught my boys a few thingsCricket playersIsaac with the car he would love to ownAll aboardPhotoThis guy greeted us on our walk on the common today. He and his sidekick haven't been there before, so when they came trotting round the corner, we Americans got a bit of an adrenaline rush til we figured out he was SUPER friendly!! #englandtrip2017 #eppiSome luck I have these days :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:Easter card construction messPre-Easter cookout at the Nicholson's. Quite the crowd!A walk in the forestDate night in Cambridge.

Chris Pollock

Web Developer - proficient in both PHP and ASP.NET.
Rochester, New York

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My Pictures

Work day in London.Micah's new persona is Indian Jones. And he's never even seen the movie! Check out that hat.A very cold walk today. With horses in tow.The real Epping forest.Growing up in the city has taught my boys a few thingsCricket playersIsaac with the car he would love to ownAll aboardPhotoThis guy greeted us on our walk on the common today. He and his sidekick haven't been there before, so when they came trotting round the corner, we Americans got a bit of an adrenaline rush til we figured out he was SUPER friendly!! #englandtrip2017 #eppiSome luck I have these days :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:Easter card construction messPre-Easter cookout at the Nicholson's. Quite the crowd!A walk in the forestDate night in Cambridge.