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13 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    What a great illustration of the mindset so many of us were raised under. And of course I was also raised to believe the vast majority of mankind would be turned away and punished in unbearable, unrelenting conscious agony for all eternity.

    Now that I am out from under that influence…it boggles my mind that the message of Christ could get so bastardized by the church.

  2. Carol says:

    Only 10%?

    Grace may be free; but it isn’t cheap. Once accepted, it will begin to cost EVERYTHING that the narcissitic ego holds dear!

    The disordered Old Adam must die as the New Christic Self is being reborn and neither dying nor birthing are very comfortable experiences to go through.

    Letter from Virginia:

    Of all the creatures on the planet, we seem to have aborted our intended destiny. It is simply not within the realm of possibility for us to “be right.” There is always some important piece of data we can’t or don’t or won’t know, some effort of the will we fail to make, some time when our attention flags. I don’t feel particularly guilty about this. In fact, I admire human beings for being able to operate at all, given these conditions. I don’t feel guilty, but I do feel hopeless. Except insofar as I am able to participate in God’s own Life. Then all things are possible, all things are mine in Christ.
    But participating in God’s Life is about like jumping off a cliff or rushing into a fire, or any other of the million ways there are of losing your life. It’s not a gentle saunter in the Elysian Fields. It’s having your hide flayed off. …Mercy is not just getting off the hook. Mercy can be having your eyes opened to the reality of your situation, for example, as the fiery serpents got the attention of the children of Israel in the wilderness of Zin.
    It seems that in the end we only have the choice between life in ourselves or Life in God. Which looks very like a choice between two deaths—eternal death and death in Christ. I’m not at all convinced that life in God—or dying with Christ—is the easier choice. Nor even particularly commendable. Those who make it do so, I suspect, because they have a “taste” for God. They desire (hunger, thirst, yearn for) God, none of these very comfortable states of being. Other people can simply take Him or leave Him, and are probably a good deal more comfortable doing so.
    Therefore, to say I find my only hope in participating in God’s Life is to say I choose a life of hunger, thirst, fiery serpents, and all the other necessary conditions for knowing God.
    –Virginia S. Owens

  3. Steve Martin says:

    Way to go, Carol!

    He (God) wants it all. Not just our measly money.

  4. marcie says:

    Carol, as I read this upside down it is true although I have to say for me it isn’t an act of the will. There is a devine instinct that makes us different and gives us or maybe at times curses with an unquenchable desire for the things of heaven.

  5. Jeannie says:

    I used to work in a financial ministry at a church. I saw how this was true in so many ways. The poor would come to the ministry for financial counseling. So often they were told that if they gave sacrificially more to the church God would bless them and they wouldn’t be poor any more.

    In order to teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, really have anything to do with the church at all beyond just sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, one had to be a tithing member. Or else they were told they were out of covenant.

    So often I met with single moms that literally did not have 10% left in their budgets. I would often take their check for 10% made out to the church then tear it up. I told them they met the requirement by being willing to give. I did this until I got told by the higher ups to stop. It was shortly afterward that I quit that position.

    It’s not that I am not willing to give all to God. It’s that the church is so often only interested in money.

  6. nakedpastor says:

    wow Jeannie: i admire what you did for those mothers… tearing up their checks. awesome!

  7. marcie says:

    I was a stay at home mom. To stay at home with our four children our family was rich in love but had to sacrifice financially as my husband was our only source of income. We were sadly told the same thing. Told god would never bless our family until we paid. Quit paying when I prayed for a miracle so my four babies could have shoes. Its just sick, abusive crap.

  8. Gary says:

    Jeannie I’m with David on this. Wow!!

    Marcie…notice the strong similarity between the church (organized religion) and the mafia (organized crime)? Extortion under the guise of paying for protection…sigh.

  9. marcie says:

    You have to weep for all those still under her control, being abused……

  10. Gary says:

    David this could be a cartoon idea.

    Slide one has a couple mafia looking dudes in front of a shop telling the shop owner that he had to pay so they would protect him from those who would hurt them.

    Slide two has the exact same mafia looking dudes in front of a church telling a family they had to pay so God would protect them from those who would hurt them.

  11. Christine says:

    @Carol: Yes, but this guy doesn’t have anything more to give, not even the clothes on his back. He can surrender his “old self” perhaps, but for him that’s got nothing to do with stuff – he couldn’t take it with him.

    @Jeannie: Thanks for that. The biblical tithe was only on the wealthy and it provided for the poor. We would never condone a flat tax as just (10% from wealthy two-income childless households and 10% from single parents with five children under the poverty line, no deductions for anything including charitable donations), so why do we tolerate essentially an additional flat 10% tax from the church. Bless you for being able to see the injustice, even when no one else could.

    @Gary: Never thought about it like “protection” mafia style. Hilarious and disturbing.

  12. Carol says:

    The problem with the “Time, Talent, Treasure” formula for “giving to the Church” is that it too often leaves little to the layperson to fulfill his/her calling to be a transformative presence in secular society. No wonder *the world* is going to hell.

    The institutional Church has withdrawn into the ecclesial sub-culture from which it points an accusing collective finger instead of courageously accepting the challenges of our 21st century technology and bringing a Christian perspective to the market place of ideas.

    Anyone who has read the Old Testament knows that people of faith are supposed to “soar like eagles,” not cower like capons.

  13. Amber says:

    hahaha So great.