Review: shiny gods

Posted on July 15th, 2013

Mike Slaughter has not written another stewardship campaign program. Instead, he argues for a conversion of the wallet. Grounded in his own personal and family experience, Slaughter confronts head-on the things that distract us from the way God would have us live and from the ways God would have us give. In his conversational, story-telling style, Slaughter has filled shiny gods with accounts from his own family and families in the Ginghamsburg congregation and the ways in which they have confronted their own personal financial challenges and fears to break through to generous giving based in trust in God.

Slaughter writes to impart hope to those who feel that their finances are controlling them and limiting their lives and their giving. But this journey, he cautions, is hard soul work, consisting of rejecting the “shiny gods” or idols that lead us away from God; of seeing work as a gift rather than a curse; and of eliminating debt; all in order to dedicate all of one’s resources—time, money, and talents—to God and God’s purposes. Too many of us live with divided hearts, which can be measured in the metrics of our calendars and check books. Our real priorities are revealed through the choices we make, along with the invitation to self-examination and re-prioritization.

The bottom-line gift of shiny gods is Slaughter’s firm conviction that we are all wealthy and blessed in countless ways. His combination of practical tools and an ever-deepening faith frees us to giving beyond what might have been imagined or thought possible. He preaches the 10-10-80 plan: of whatever comes in, the first 10% is returned to God in a tithe, the next 10% saved for retirement and other long-term needs, leaving the remaining 80% for current expenses. Story after story affirms that this works, freeing people to live free of fear and full of generous spirit.

This work of financial education and conversion is grounded in Scripture, prayer, small groups, and courses on personal financial management. As with most Slaughter productions, shiny gods offers a complete package of resources that make it readily adaptable into a congregation’s planning. These include a DVD with leader guide to study shiny gods in groups. first is the related stewardship program that broadens the personal examination of shiny gods into a call to put God first through our stewardship. There is a program flash drive with instructions for using the program, daily devotions, a youth study edition, and a children’s leader guide with lesson plans for younger and older children.

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