Saturday, November 15, 2008

God needs your money

During the past couple of months, I have written a few posts on bigot, Pastor Mondo Gonzales, whose rants against gays and atheists are allowed to be featured in the Pastor’s Corner of our local community newspaper. Along with Mondo, other church leaders take their turns and most are benign “Gob is with you” sort of fluffy messages for the general public to read. But the fundamentalists never fail to provide material for a post.

This time I focus on Pastor Jeff Robinson of the Lincolnway Christian Church just up the road from me. The title of his Pastor’s Corner message is Being ‘Unshakable’ in shaky economic times

God never intended us to build our lives on money. Money is to be managed wisely. But, money makes a lousy foundation on which to build one’s life. Even if you manage your money wisely, economic forces outside your control can shake you to the bone. A major sickness or injury, a job loss, or uncertain financial times can financially devastate all but the very wealthy. Building your life on a financial foundation is unwise.

You are leaving out a very important point, Pastor Jeff . . . People cannot pay doctor bills after a major sickness without money. People cannot rebuild after a natural disaster without money. Physically, people cannot be “saved” without help from other humans. People’s property cannot be replaced without insurance policies paid for with money. People cannot buy a home unless they save their money for it or establish a mortgage loan. People cannot replace their property, or recover from illnesses or injury without other people and charity and financial institutions because no god comes.

Lincolway Christian Church was once located on a busy corner of our town, where two big streets intersect, and also where developers are paying big bucks for residents and existing small businesses and churches to move elsewhere so they can build their strip malls and banks, etc. In the past, Lincolnway Christian Church always boasted about how God blessed them to be on such a busy corner where many people would notice them and come in to “fellowship” with them. As businesses built up around them, and the persistent offers of cash for their land, the big final money offer must have been just too tempting to turn away from. They called it “God’s will” that they sold their church for a huge sum, and they used all that money to build a large modern facility for all of their country club church activities. The new church sits on a large plot of land of many acres, away from heavy traffic and surrounded by farmland and ranches. In our area, it had to cost them a fortune for that plot (of which they pay no taxes and the rest of us watch our mortgage payments rise as taxes go up and up). The money they spent on a fancy meeting place, which stands empty much of the time, could have been used to help all those people they are praying for week after week to no avail. Money can help where prayer and their god cannot. Money could definitely help those in need in the Will County region and beyond.

In his article, Pastor Jeff writes,

“Jesus tells through a story that there is only one sure foundation. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash,”

To build a house on rock or sand costs money. If one has a lot of money, they can well afford to build their house of stone on a foundation of rock. But there are those in the world who have less money and can only afford to build their modest home on a lesser foundation.

One question I would love to ask these pastors when they preach about money from the pulpits of quite comfortable and even elaborate temples is “Why does Jesus need your money?”

Why the need to beg for money, often using guilt as a tool to swindle as much as they can from the pockets of hard-working people? Why do they need money from an all-powerful creator who they say provides everything?

Every church tells it’s members every Sunday morning when they pass the plate that Jesus is the all-powerful creator of the universe and everything in it, he will answer all of your prayers, but he has no money. Many people I know often complain about that. That the church passes the collection plate at every gathering, begging people for their offerings, saying how Jesus needs their money to help others, and no one ever speaks up about it. They receive their pledge sheets in the mail on a regular basis and feel compelled to budget part of their income and pledge that amount to a God who is supposed to be the creator and provider of everything.

Here’s a little message I found at Why Won’t God Heal Amputees that should be sent to every church pastor or those who find themselves in a church for whatever reason to stick in the offering plate instead of money:

“Hello. My name is Jesus, and I am God. I am the all-powerful creator of the universe. I created everything that you see before you — the galaxies and stars in the heavens; the oceans, the mountains and the plains of earth; the sun and the moon and the skies; along with every living thing on the planet. I created you personally, and I gave you your unique soul. I created everything!

Everything of value on earth I created. I buried thousands of tons of gold in mines around the planet. I placed billions of gallons of oil under the sands in the Middle East. I created the millions of carets of diamonds being mined in South Africa.

And I will answer your prayers. Pray to me for anything and I will hear and answer your prayers. I say it in dozens of places in the Bible, but I like the way I say it in Mark 11:24 the best: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Anything you need — money, love, happiness, you name it — I am here to provide it for you.

Now, there is just one thing I need in return. I need your money. I need lots of your money. The Bible specifies that you send me ten percent of your gross income, but think of that as a starting point. Feel free to give more! When they pass the offering plate at church, be sure to give generously!

Because even though I created the universe and everything in it, and even though I will give you everything you ask for in prayer, I can’t give a cent to any church, ever.

So, please give generously at your place of worship today! I thank you for your support!”

1 comment:

tina FCD said...

My mom was sending money to a televangelist and my sister told her to stop. Now, my sister is giving her tidings to HER church. What is the difference?
Churches should be taxed, just like the rest of us. Period!