At present, I am between Churches. This leaves us in an odd position: on Sunday morning we ask “where should we go?”. There is a risk that may be the hardware store, or the mall.
(It will not be today: we have plans made, God willing).
But the passages are about money and resources. I read this earlier in the week, and it challenges.
For you should know this: The pewsitters have the power of the purse.
This presents, of course, some apparent difficulties. A bad bishop could close the good parishes in order to keep feeding the bad ones. He could get the missing money by starting to monetise the vast patrimony many dioceses have. He could intensify his calls for donations from wealthy donors who, in some countries like the UK, make 70% of the total donations if memory serves me.
However, all this simply should not interest you. You just can’t keep feeding evil people just because they happen to be priests and bishops.
Yes, a miserable V II church near you, led by a priest with a suspiciously high-pitched voice, might close down one day, the building deconsecrated and sold to a developer to be converted in apartments (you see a lot of this in England already, though I would say mostly with Protestant buildings). Yes, the priests served a valid mass and his absolution was also valid.
But the mass of that priest was so dumbed down and kindergarten-like that it only helped your children to lose the faith once they become adults. That priest would never try to give them a solid Catholic foundation to get through life. He would only blabber the generic fluff of his ilk: be good, be inclusive, don’t reject the “other” (means Muslims), don’t be closed to “the excluded” (means perverts), don’t refuse the “stranger” (means illegal), and such stuff. Feeding these people means perpetuating the problem.
The gangrene must be excised. The limb must, if necessary, be amputated. Don’t worry, the Church is Indefectible and will never die.
I am aware that the Presbyterian Church of NZ requires each congregation to pay a fee to its central office, which is full of social activists, and cares more about the approval of the muppets Fairfax puts on TV than the gospel. I am aware that the leadership in my last congregation minimized our official congregation size, and instead did good locally. But since they have left, the officials have descended like locusts.
They same people spend more effort in lobbying the government for grants, but that means that they are now having to toe the official line, and are converged.
Again, this is not merely the Presbyterians. Catholic Social Support, Anglican Social Support are as progressive as the most radical Greens, or more so. It is only the crunchy and cultic who are not, and who are now being publicly shamed and attacked by the aforementioned Muppets, for Fairfax is more progressive than the state run by socialists.
So before we talk about money we have to ask What seed are we sowing?. May it be the gospel. May it always be the gospel.
6The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
24So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
25When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” 28Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” 32Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
What should we do? Firstly, the poor are with us, but their provision is now socialized and part of the state bureaucracy. There is no need in NZ, at least, to beg: most of the beggars are on the benefit and in state houses. You can ignore them on the street.
Secondly, find a faithful congregation and support it. The giving is for the gospel, and not to show we are worthy or virtuous. We are not paying penance.
If you cannot find a faithful church, find faithful parachurch organizations. They still exist. They are probably new.
And use your general charitable giving to support truth and light. Giving nothing to those who promote evil. Let them starve with their titles, or run to parliament for support. Our taxes do enough damage already.
And I am never cheerful when I look at my tax bill.