Monday, December 8, 2014

Separation of church and cash

With the weekly collection, it sure seems like God loves money. But what if you can't afford to give?
Q: I know we're supposed to give money to our church and to other worthy causes, but we're so deeply in debt that we can't even think about it right now. Will God forgive us for not doing this?
My advice... Don't give the church money if you can't afford to. Actually, don't give even if you can. In my eyes there are so much more worthy organizations that can and will do so much more good with those dollars. After-all, the vast majority of the money given every Sunday goes to church upkeep and paying staff, rather charitable activities.
A: I want to assure you that God is concerned about every part of our lives, including our money. Have you committed this problem to Him and prayerfully asked Him to give you the wisdom to overcome it?
Maybe I'm just being cynical, but this sounds to me like Billy is suggesting that the reason they are having money problems is because they aren't asking God for help. I guess victim-blaming is back in fashion again... But what good will asking God for help do? Does Billy not realize that belief in Christianity is strongest in the most impoverished parts of America? God isn't doing all those people any financial good, so why should we think it would be any different for our letter writer?
In spite of your financial difficulties, however, I hope you’ll find a way to give something to God’s work, even if it isn’t much right now.
In short, 'Pay up, God needs cash!'

Just as Jesus took a boy’s small lunch and multiplied it to feed 5,000 people, so God can take even our smallest gifts and use them in ways we could never imagine (see Matthew 14:17-19).
The Catholic church is the single richest institution in the entire world. In 2012 their estimated annual spending in America alone was $170 billion! That's higher than the worldwide revenue ($150 billion) for GM and Apple that very same year. The overall wealth of the church seems nearly impossible to calculate since religious institutions don't have to disclose finances like a normal company. But considering their vast financial wealth, various collections, property spread throughout the world, and even their own jeweler, the Catholic church is certainly not hurting for money.

So that leads me to ask, if Jesus can make a lot out of a little, then what's taking him so long? The Catholic church has so much money it makes Scrooge McDuck look impoverished. Considering that, Jesus should already have far more than enough wealth at his disposal for him to work his supposedly charitable magic with.
Not only will God use your gifts to bless others, but He’ll also teach you some important spiritual lessons through your giving. For example, you’ll begin to realize that your money isn’t really yours. Instead, God has entrusted it to you, and He wants you to use it wisely and unselfishly.
Seriously?! Your money isn't yours? That sounds more like the words I'd expect from a greedy banker. Is God the Federal Reserve now too? This is just a ridiculous statement. By and far, we work hard for our money. We earn it through work, so it most certainly is ours until we spend it. It's not like Jesus tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey dude, can you hold on to this roll of $20s for me for a couple days?"
The Bible says, “Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14).
This comes from a verse talking about the gold, silver, iron and gemstones to be used in the palace. They are saying that while the gold is going to be used to honor God, it was he that actually made the gold. Gold is a natural resource that you could argue was created when God is said to have created the Earth. But on what day did God create US currency? Was it before or after the 'creeping things'? And where where all those dollars for the years and years before there was a United States?
Do all you can to get out of debt; perhaps a wise businessperson in your church or a local nonprofit agency can help you. Most of all, however, in the midst of your problems, may you discover the greatest gift that has ever been given to the human race: God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ: loan shark?  Is he more the type to break your knee-caps if you default, or does he just hold you car title as collateral?

-Brain Hulk

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