the season for, well... a bastard.

What makes this the season of giving, who elected it thus, and how do I contest the bastard. Why have we narrowed down giving to just one season? Why are we suddenly more willing to donate time, money, and energy just in the prelude of the day that commercial retailers revere.
I believe that this should be an everyday occurrence, or a least an every day attitude. Others before myself. That is one of the only reasons that brought me to my faith in the first place, others.
I left a church, the last one I have regularly attended, about 4 years ago. Not that I don’t want a home church, but my job does not permit me to do anything on regular basis. ‘New Life,’ as it was called, was a small place of worship just on the outskirts of our small city, here in winter haven. Throughout the tenure of my stay, which was on the upwards of 6 years, I sat through many messages about giving and receiving. The problem was not that they were asking me to give, but where they were putting the money that made my stomach churn. The long list of giving opportunities included, but are not limited to, a sign that lights up both time and temperature, the buying of an orange grove next store, the purchase of the lot behind the church so we can maintain the lake view, asphalt for the driveway, new pews, and equipment for the stage that compared to that of a Universal Studios sound stage.
That was it for me, NOT ONCE was the congregation given an opportunity to help others. The mission field was described as something out of the four walls but not something we as a congregation should be to concerned about. Foreign missions were black-listed, and the poor in our country were only given a chance to marvel at how beautiful the exterior and interior our church had become. My father even started feeding the homeless downtown, and the church would not reimburse him for the food that he bought for them. The sad thing was that my dad was reaching out to this world more in one morning of nourishing these impoverished people than our church was doing in 7 days a week. The church did however allow my dad to store the food in their refrigerators, which is to be said in their favor. But after a few months they said that he could no longer use their refrigerator as it “took up to much room.” I am reminded why I abhor the aesthetic church like the one I attended when listening to the ratings of Robert Schuler defending his multi-million dollar “crystal cathedral.”
“We are trying to make a big, beautiful impression upon the affluent non-religious Americans who are riding by on this busy freeway. Its obvious that we are not trying to impress Christians!{…} Nor are we trying to impress the social workers in the County Welfare Department. They would tell us that we ought to be content to remain in the Orange Drive-In Theatre and give the money to feed the poor. But suppose we had given this money to feed the poor? What would we have today? We would still have hungry, poor people and God would not have this tremendous base of operations which He is using to inspire people to become more successful, more affluent, more generous, more genuinely unselfish in their giving of themselves.”
What is that supposed to mean? I have never read in the teachings of Jesus (or any prophet from any other religion) that the way to entice followers and “inspire people” is to accumulate wealth and material goods as a way of persuading one to join their religion!
The Church would say that a homosexual community appears to mirror Sodom, but on the contrary it is the Church that looks more like Sodom in recent times. Read for yourself, in Ezekiel 16:49-50 (also Isaiah 1:10-17) it says, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me, therefore I removed them, when I saw it.”
Wake up you sleeping Church, for you are slowly becoming the new Sodom. Return to pure religion, ‘helping the widows and orphans.’
-stephen christian

For more information please read “Rich Christians, in an age of hunger.”
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Anonymous said…
i left my church in high school. one of the things that really got me was them spending thousands of dollars on arcade video games for the youth building. so much more could've been done with that money.
Anonymous said…
Every church has its faults and mistakes... and what this is about, spending given money in an absolutely wrong way - that is certainly a BIG mistake... but, what happens when everyone who thinks that a church is wrong leaves it? Shouldn't you just stay and try to improve? I don't really like my church and I'm about to decide if I'm going to do(?)my testimony and becoming an official member of the church. I talked about it with lots of people, I'm not sure what to do, faith is not the problem, but the decision for becoming a member of this church (which would be a kind of definitive decision).

And I think I will do it, in spite of all the mistakes in the church (in my eyes - no, I believe: mistakes in Gods eyes.)Because it's good to be part of a community, it's good to have your place in a social community of believers. We all have a task to encourage and help each other and to take care that the true message will be taught (yes, you can also do that without a church, sure, but remember what God said about the body of Christ. We are all parts of the body, and you can see that 'worldwide' but I also believe that this is where a church should be about.) When everyone leaves because the church is wrong, who will remain with a good sense of criticism? Although I know that there is a certain edge. Few mistakes or just wrong principes, wrong message, it's a great difference.

*Hope it's understandable in spite of the mistakes*

- Lianne
Anonymous said…
While yes, the money you are supposed to tithe goes to the Church, or whatever company/group/organization you tithe to... youare really giving it to God. And while your church may have screwed up in how they used that money... God understands that you are giving to Him regardless, because you are faithful. And He will bless you.

I do agree, though, that Christmas time should not be the only season for giving. Jesus did not just give Himself to people during the winter, around His birthday... He gave Himself to everyone... every day. And we are to be like Him... so we are to give ourselves away every day. Sadly, people associate Christmas with presents all too readily, now, and not many seem to remember the real reason for Christmas, which is the time that God gave us the ultimate gift. But you're right... that doesn't mean it is the only time we are supposed to give. It is definately something that should be made a daily attitude.
Story of a Girl said…
"NOT ONCE was the congregation given an opportunity to help others".

It is said that the leadership of the church didn't find giving those in need locally. Perhaps if they would have offered that opportunity they would've found many with your fathers' and your same desire to help the less fortunate.

This quote comes to mind "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ". - Mohandas Gandhi

Sometimes we're too pre-occupied worried about being materialistic and self-centered. If we stopped... we'd have more time to be like Christ! =)

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