August 1, 2008
You ask a rough, and much needed, question.<br><br>Maybe not at first, but eventually, there would be a changing of priorities. Those churches that feel the need to have a number of large campuses all over town would rethink that "need." The churches that already have those campuses would find better ways of using what they have.<br><br>And those little groups of people, meeting in houses because of how many times they have been burned by churches, may even find ways of helping their brothers and sisters who still go. <br><br>A true, full-blown recession just might be the tool that could breed revival.
Not to diminish or dismiss anyone's pain or disillusionment or raw emotions here, but I'm thinking - maybe forgiveness on the part of those who refuse to fellowship with their brethren in churches, might be a better tool for revival than even a recession? Since this turning up of one's nose at church goers recurs often on TC, I am sincerely asking: what can church members do, to make things right with those of you who despise church-goers? How can we love you in a meaningful way? Will you forgive churches? Will you forgive church members? Will you forgive me for being a rotten, selfish, uncaring Christian, setting a horrible example at times? I am sincerely asking. Because the Bible teaches that if you are believers, you are my brothers & sisters in Christ, and I can't just run around spouting a "Guess what, I can really do without you" when you keep telling me I am an offense to you as a church-going Christian.<br><br>Once in Sunday school our teacher asked if any of us considered ourselves rich. My hand shot up faster than the interest rate of a CaptitolOne card with a 3-hour late payment. Why? Because: I live in a two bedroom place, have food to eat that I didn't scavenge from a garbage heap, can use electricity, don't have to lug backbreaking water jars to my home for bathing & drinking. I don't fear tuberculosis, leprosy, dysentry, scabies. I probably spent more on my pet last month than children slaving away in New Delhi sweatshops made all year. My hybrid car is gas saving to the max, but if you took it away today, I am rich because I have my health & can walk/ride my bike just about anywhere. But most of all, each day I know I am fabulously wealthy because the Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me. And that's something no recession, no government, no thief, no trial, no human being can ever take away from me.<br><br>I think a recession would, like 9/11, pull Americans together for a while - perhaps some would even seek God in such a crisis. But the Lord's disciples were astonished to realize that being wealthy didn't make a man more spiritual, and I think we will be surprised (in spite of the evidence of slums) to discover that that a lack of wealth doesn't make a man more spiritual, either.
I saw this commercial for the first time on teevee last night and was shocked. Glad I'm not the only one.<br><br>I think a recession would definitely impact our consumer culture, but it would also definitely impact the Church. Giving would plummet (it already has), and the Church around the world would suffer. <br><br>I think what we really need is some honest, ballsy preaching on finances. It seems like a local church generally has one of two opinions on money: the buy-a-blessing-from-God opinion, or the don't-talk-about-money-'cause-you'll-offend-someone opinion. Church leaders need to get honest and bold and teach on biblical finances. <br><br>One of the Associate Pastors at our church (who is 100% volunteer) got up last Sunday to receive the tithe/offering collection. Our pastor was out of town on vacation, and the Associate Pastor freely admitted that this probably wouldn't be his offering message if the pastor were here. He pulled out a couple New Testament scriptures about how preachers and teachers of the Word deserve to be paid well for their hard work, and exhorted the congregation to not rob from God. It made some people uncomfortable, but I really appreciated it.
A recession may just be a reaction to the prevailing circumstances and which may be part of a continuing cycle all (hopefully) part of the evolution of the human race. It seems strange that things written in Bible still apply today. The churches may be just getting the recession they had to have.
I don't think it would change much. Some people would definately be changed, but for most it would be right back to normal as soon as the recession ended.
Nations and communities don't learn until they are forced to, or until someone goes off on their own and proves how well something new can work, then everyone wants one. (As a nation, we didn't begin to give up on SUV's or turn to mass transit until gas went over $4 a gallon, no matter what the warning signs. OK, I drive a Kia that gets 34-41 mpg, and Christiane drives a hybrid, but as a nation, we didn't change, the overall stats didn't change, the herd didn't change course, until we were in too much pain not to.) As far as church giving goes, we should remember that churches used to be supported by taxes, tithes used to be collected by "tithe proctors" and such with the same subtlety that the IRS is known for, but after breaking with the Established RC and Anglican edifices, most Protestants took up voluntary collections because that is all there was to support the church. You can go to this or that Bible verse, generally taken out of the historical context in which it was written, but that is why we started taking up collections, because we had to. Christiane is right about the meaning of "rich" though, and even if I had to ride my bike all the time, I would still be fabulously well off on a world scale.
I'm surprised I've never seen this commercial before; I kind of watch a good amount of TV. Maybe they don't show it on HGTV. haha. The first thing that I thought after I read this was: What is the role of the church? Okay, that's broad, so I will expound. If the Church is supposed to be the hope of the world, that should mean that if something happened, like a recession, people should be able to come to the Church for support. And if the Church, right now, is behaving like the world and is involved with consumerism that much, what hope will we provide when or if there is a recession? I don't know. It would certainly be interesting, and I don't know what the Church would do. I guess I hope that giving would go up. I hope people would really turn to the Bible for their hope and see the promises that come from tithing. I guess that's just a hope. I think it will be interesting to see.
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