Saturday, June 20, 2009

Money, Money, Money

I went to church again this past Sunday. (Yeah, what's up with that?!) This time, we went to a Missionary Baptist Church as opposed to a Pentecostal Church. My roots are in the Missionary Baptist church, so I was quite familiar with the scene. The visit brought back a lot of memories.

You can be sure that since I went to church, my mom was involved. But the choice of venue was my wife's influence.

While my wife maintains she doesn't agree with the Bible, she still finds comfort in the atmosphere of church. She enjoys the sense of community and belonging. A pleasant church visit can conjure nostalgia.

At least, until the misogynistic rhetoric starts up. Then, she's ready to go home

And on the way home, she puzzles over why she even bothered to darken the doorway of church once again.

We were first time visitors with this congregation; I enjoyed the anonymity very much. No sense of obligation.

Funny that the pastor decided to preach about stewardship that Sunday morning.

Overall, the sermon wasn't bad. He was very entertaining and witty. He didn't yell at us like some preachers do. But he was adamant that the congregation gave feedback-- preferably in the form of amen and that's right preacher, now ya talking!

So, I was actually enjoying everything. I wasn't even arguing against the preacher in my head. I was being a good little church mouse.

Until he said . . .

The Bible contains more versus pertaining to money than versus which pertain to salvation.


He made this statement in an attempt to support his teachings about tithes and offerings-- and of giving in general.

He was attempting to say that God really, really cares about money. God takes his money seriously. And you're in serious trouble if you don't pay God what you owe him.

The pastor argued that the Bible speaks so much about money because so few people worship God over their wallets. He claimed that the Bible needs to spend a lot of words warning people against transforming money into an idol god. This is why the verses about money outnumber the verses about salvation.

I haven't verified his statement about money being mentioned more than salvation. But if this is true, I personally find that fact disturbing.

No wonder people argue about how to be saved! The Biblical authors spent more words ensuring they were properly paid!

But this giving that the pastor preached about goes way beyond money. You have to give not only your money but your time. Your children. Your best.

Your soul.

"No man can server to masters", he preached. "You will either love one and hate the other. You can not serve God and mammon (money)".

When I was a believer, I would earnestly call Jesus my master. But now that I've lost my faith, I sometimes wonder if the church is simply about the business of making us all slaves.
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