Saturday, November 19, 2011
P4E.221 An Open Letter to the Church at Large - Part 5
From previous parts:
"First of all, I am nobody. I have no credentials. I have no theology degree. I don't claim to be a prophet of God. I do not claim this to be a "prophetic utterance." I don't claim that God "told me" to say these things. I'm just a guy who is (hopefully humbly) pursuing Christ in his own way. I do recognize that people distinguish between the "church" and the "Church," but for my purposes, they are one and the same and what I have to say goes for both. This is certainly meant to be more than a friendly nudge, more than a good natured poke. It's meant to be a hard jab in the ribs or a kick in head of the Church. Church, I know that I am you and you are me. Any accusations I have against you, are against me as well. I don't separate myself from you. Your faults are my faults. The criticisms I am making of you are meant to be an encouragement to be better, and in that sense constructive. Don't get all offended."
You have railed against the idea that there is a separation of church and state in America. But, seen in a certain light, you should be thanking God and taking advantage of the possibilities. You cry foul and bitch and moan but, in fact you have allowed the government to take some of your responsibilities onto itself with disastrous effect. In fact, church and state are not separated enough! The government is doing the work of the church.
Let's do as they say and follow the money. I'm not claiming to have done any massive research, but I can't be too far off and just want to make a point. A New York Times Article states that in 2009, half of the $229 billion that Americans donated went to religious institutions. That's roughly $115 billion. Another website, called ourdime.us states that U.S. federal welfare spending for the poor in 2009 amounted to $191 billion.
What if...What if you, the Church, took back your rightful responsibilities of tending to the poor from the federal government? You could, because of your spread-out grass roots nature, probably do a more efficient, effective, better job of handling the money than the federal government does. You could relieve the government of the burden that is rightfully yours and put a dent in the national debt.
Well, it's just a thought and I know it would be like turning the Titanic around. You're kind of lazy and distracted and unmotivated and unorganized, so I have little hope that something like that would happen, but it does make your imagination tingle, doesn't it?
Anyway, failing that, let's continue to follow the money. Church, if you were to open your financial books what would be the budgets listed in the line items:
Helping the poor
Feeding the hungry
Clothing the naked
Caring for widows and orphans
And how would those budgets compare to the line items:
Church staff payroll
Mortgage (or lease or rent) on church facilities
Remodeling of church facilities
Flat screen tvs
Radio and tv time
If it looks like what I think it looks like, what does that say about your priorities and motivations?
I'm just saying....