the church and perpetual greed

"Send Money" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Send Money” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward


This is an old cartoon I drew back in 2009. I like it.

I remember being in a summer camp church service where they brought in a preacher who was famous for his ability to get huge offerings. They were raising money for the camp. He sent the offering plates around at least half a dozen times. They did raise a lot that day.

I’m not against money or the church’s use of it. But if the church feeds off money and gets bigger and richer, the more money it’s going to need to survive and grow.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how much money actually flows through the hands of the church… the whole Christian church all around the world… in one week? Or just how much money it’s sitting on. Investments. Equity. Property.

I’d be curious to know.


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5 Responses

  1. Yasmin says:

    We just had our annual budget meeting at my church, last week. We have a board of trustees who present it, and every single penny, coming in and going out, is accounted for, including the total for payroll expenses. We are a small church, and we know our trustees well. We are Congregationalists, and have the right to inspect the books, including the check register, at any time we wish. I have brought this up to people who belong to churches that ask for a lot of money, but never reveal their finances, and they don’t know how to handle it. The accept what they are told about not questioning “God’s anointed,” and don’t understand that knowing how your donated dollars are spent is a vital part of stewardship. Some of us in the congregation are accountants and financial professionals (I’m a financial analyst), and we’re all happy to help the less-informed understand what they’re looking at when the financial statements are presented to the congregation.

    What we do works so very well, that I am always a bit suspicious of those churches that feel a need to hide their financials. We keep the amounts donors donate confidential, but that is all we keep confidential. That bit of information is no one’s business but the Treasurer’s, the donor’s, and God’s. As I said, all that information is necessary to fulfill our duties of stewardship. I don’t understand how members of other churches fail to see that.

  2. Thanks Yasmin. There are many churches that don’t even know what their pastor’s income is. They’re told to just trust and have faith, etc.

  3. Adam Julians says:

    Yasmin, that sounds a great way of going about things.

    Similarly this is what happens every year at the church I go to where the accounts are presented and any questions regarding them are answered. I’m not a financial person, but is this not similar to an annual statement of accounts for businesses?

    David, sometimes I am a little slow to understand what it is that you wish to convey. But I wouldn’t want to assume to know what it is that you intend with your cartoon and explanation. Would I be right in guessing the meaning you want to convey is that pastors / the church are often driven by greed and that giving financially to the church doesn’t necessarily result in attending to the needs of the vulnerable?

    I recall reading a quote by the Croatian theologian Misoslav Volf. It went something along the lines of the church often merely reflects the same sicknesses of the surrounding culture. In my time, I have been aware of Reagan’s policy on taxing the rich less. The argument being that this creating a “trickle down effect” of everyone being richer. I didn’t buy that at the time. Then we had the 80’s with the Gordon Gecko Wall Street “greed is good” culture. Then into the 90’s with greed inevitably leading to a crash with the credit crunch and western economies struggling.

    I’ve learned that whatever our culture is doing, it can be hard to be a lone voice and swim against the tide. I’m reading a book at the moment by Norm Chomskey “Hemogeny or Survival – America’s quest for Global Dominance”. Greed, power, domination being a common theme. I haven’t got to the end of it yet or have even started to process thoughts about what he has written, but it is making for interesting reading and might explain a few things about cultural influences / programming.

  4. Brigitte says:

    If we were not having a huge issue with transparency in our church extension fund right now, I might have said David is Off target. –Financial, and other, accountability is always a must.

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “Most cults are started so the cult leader can (1) Get Rich, (2) Get Laid, or (3) Both.”
    — my old D&D Dungeonmaster