Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bill ya’ll – Wu-Tang Clan
Never were truer words said about religion. Well let me back up a bit. I can only speak for my experiences. My history with the religious institutions that I have been involved with are such that the collection plate gets passed around many times. I have seen building funds erected from start to finish. Was urged to give my whole check as a step of faith. (Which I did once) Saw money lines some of which I participated in as a much younger and ignorant man. (If you don’t know what a money line is just leave a comment and I will explain it.) Heard sermons saying that the equity in my home was not my money but God’s money and should be brought in. (Even I was never that dumb.)
Let me say that I am pro financially supporting our houses of worship and faith. They cannot function without our dollars. If a church, mosque or synagogue etc. are helping people and are financially accountable to it’s membership then its a great thing. Most of the charity work that’s done are through not for profit organizations of faith. Too often however I see that many of our churches in particular (again from my personal experience) are more about building themselves up. As congregations grow, so do the buildings and television ministries. I think it’s cool that some ministries broadcast worldwide via television and radio. But if you have ever looked at TBN or The Word Channel for instance, there are way too many. They are just broadcasting their personal church services – they rarely have a global spiritual message. It’s become a status symbol to have said ministry on T.V. It’s a status symbol to have many ministers driving around in luxury cars, living in luxury homes, and wearing luxury suits to speak about god’s prosperity.
Am I against prosperity? Certainly not. I go to work most everyday! I believe that ministers who make their own money selling books or within their privatized businesses that they invest in with their own salary for instance is the American way. But far too many use the money of it’s donors to finance their lifestyles while the communities surrounding them are suffering. I don’t believe we give enough back to the people who pour the wealth in. I mean it’s sad for a person to belong to a church which operates in a multi-million dollar facility, give money to that organization and not be able to receive financial help if you need it yourself. I can tell you most don’t do it.
Its also sad to see the rich and poor sitting next to one another in the same pews, and the rich not want to do anything to help or teach their brother or sister tp prosper as well. I would think the faith environment is a great place to share ideas and help one another live the best life possible.
Now any preacher will say that the money they ask you for belongs to God. But if it’s not benefiting God’s people as a whole, starting with the people within it’s own circulation, then it’s missing the point. Charity does start at home right? Yet parishioners at too many churches cannot get financial support when in need. The testimonies of most of your television ministries are utterly ridiculous in that they can send you pamphlets every month with color photos of the minister or the CD of the week. You can be a “faith partner” and give mega dollars to them over a long period of time. But if you lose your job and ask for an investment into your troubled household, NOT going to happen.
I do know of one church that I have been involved with that believed in taking care of people before brick and mortar. I know for a fact that they would go late on the mortgage if they had to if a member had need. The pastor didn’t even collect a salary and still may not. I think he should get a salary but he knows that there is not enough in the budget yet.
There is so much we can say here. But the bottom line is that it’s up to US – the people who support these ministries to make people accountable to put the money where it needs to be. Ministries are a great place to learn and benefit from collective economics where everyone who can participate can also benefit when in need. Until we the givers become more smarter, spiritual, and more spiritually discerning for god-sakes, we are destined for to get more of the same.