Posts Tagged ‘tithe’

Irony! Ain’t it great.

Just the other week, we spray painted a post on the Wall about gambling and Christianity because of a man that won his state lottery of $6M and cut a tithe check to his church. How faithful, right? Well, the church gave him the Heisman and dude kept his cash.

Amazing how churches are supposed to worship the same God, read the same Bible but pick and choose different scriptures to follow. Take the True North Community Church in Port Jefferson, N.Y., as noted in FOX News.

Pastor Bertrand Crabbe of the True North Community Church of Port Jefferson said the donor, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “This was why God put the ticket in his hands.” The state Lottery announced Wednesday that the independent Christian church will get at least $102,225 a year through the year 2028. The amount could be higher if withheld taxes are refunded because of the church’s nonprofit status.

Conversely from the aforementioned post,  this is a church (and a pastor) that doesn’t mind where the money came from, but rather what they intend to do with it. Oh, the church was given a $3 MILLION check as a result of the proceeds.

If any Wall Watchers dares to start the debate on WWJD, great. But in so doing, please answer WWYD as well.

You know, I wonder if somewhere the pastor who stood on his biblical laurels in the previous post is thinking, “You know, this foundation is cracking. Maybe I oughta’ get that Pick 6… in the name of Jesus, of course.”

This is truly an age-old question: Would Jesus use money that was gained from gambling?

(YES, I want to hear from you Wall Watchers).

It was a question that ironically I read from time-to-time at a cyberdome called, “Jesus the Radical Pastor”, a couple of days ago. My comment was:

OK, we could go ’round and ’round theologically about the wiles of gambling and how they abstain man from using his faith in times of financial stress.

That said, if some saint won the lottery and decided to tithe to his or her local church, God couldn’t use that money to build a life center, send kids to a mission field or pay a light bill? I would say with gritted teeth, the answer is yes.

Should Christians gamble? Probably not. DO they gamble? You beter, I mean, sure they do. So, imagine my amusement when I fell upon this lovely story about First Baptist Church in Orange Park (Florida) and their bold decision to not take the ubiquitous, “You know, if I won the lotto, I would tithe first” donation.

One of its faithful, Robert Powell, had his number hit and he scored $6 meeeeelllliooonnnn dollars (Can’t you see Dr. Evil there with pinky erect and mouth tweaking?) Church, each of you have a friend that have said it, but who would really do it? This cat did… and was given the Heisman:

And he offered to drop his tithe, around $600,000, in the collection plate of First Baptist Orange Park. But the church and Pastor David Tarkington politely declined and told Powell they will not accept the lottery winnings.

WOW! Again, theologians could hold a classic apologist debate on the dogmatic ethics of gambling and how it negatively affects one’s faith. However, give a pastor of a 300-member church that kind of scratch and let’s see if he doesn’t itch!

Now, this is not advocating what gambling does to some of those poor souls who cash in a child’s future for a horse named after his mama. I’m talking the average dude, paying another $119 for gas and grabs some chips, gum, and… oh yeah, hand me the Quick 6.

What happens when that guy wins the lotto, cuts that three-foot by one-foot ceremonial check for the church and wants to see the pastor send the entire youth group to Africa for a missions trip. Most have no clue WWJD, so I ask you, “W-W-Y-D”?

For years, pastors have been (IMHO) neglecting their pulpits in place of punditry, as noted in this previous post. However, they have done so at their peril.

IRS and JesusYou see, the Feds have a little issue with that so they created a code in the IRS saying essentially that if churches want to be tax-exempt there must be conditions. One that has stuck in the craw of the aforementioned shepherds has been the Church should not engage in politics.

Obviously, this argument comes up in headlines every four years, but this time, some pastors are getting more terse than usual, as noted in the Wall Street Journal.

A couple of myths in this article:

The section of the tax code barring nonprofits from intervening in political campaigns has long frustrated clergy. Many ministers consider the provision an inappropriate government intrusion, blocking the duty of clergy to advise congregants.

FALSE. Pastor of astigmatism (because evidently you can’t see what’s directly in front of you), THIS is a Bible. You are called to minister to your flock the principles, truths and teachings in it. NOWHERE in these 66 chapters do we read, “Thus saith the Lord, VOTE FOR…” Your “duty to advise” revolves around issues and those predicated upon biblical principal, NOT the people YOU THINK have those issues.

Mr. [Rev. Steve of Grace Community Church in Houston] Riggle says he told his congregation from the pulpit, before the Texas primary in March, that he was supporting former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for president. “As a pastor, a private citizen, I can speak for myself. The IRS cannot quench my voice,” he says.

TRUE. Well, kinda. You are a private citizen, therefore have certain unalienable rights… blah, blah, blah. You can say what you want regardless of how idiotic or intelligent it may be. So, to say, “I AM supporting Candidate X” is suitable in the privacy of your own circle of friends. However, to do so in the sacred pulpit of your church where 1000s of impressionable sheep go to pasture is an abuse of your authority. Pastor, there are sins of commission and others of omission. This is both. You knew what you did wasn’t proper and negated the fact that half of your flock would follow suit because they don’t have the responsibility to read the issues on their own.

Last summer, the tax agency said it was reviewing complaints against 44 churches for activities in the 2006 election cycle. Churches found to be in violation can be fined or lose their tax exemptions.

TRUE. Then there are issues like Bishop Charles Ellis in Detroit, Mich. He evidently isn’t in tune to his spiritual gift of prophecy as he dawned then-presidential candidate Al Gore with a jacket with the lovely inscription, “President Al Gore.” And for him, his status should be lost as a penalty. Listen, whether Al Gore was the right man for the job and did win the popular vote is not of concern. What is the focus is that this is nowhere near the place of a pastor.

WWJCIn summary: pastors need to find more meat in their homiletics to help them abstain from the temptation of declaring the next political candidate du jour.

If you are called to be in the pulpit, there is a greater obligation than what you think your church should do in the polls.

Those people warming your pews rely on your counsel and leadership. Find issues intertwined in the parables. Discover truths lost in the scriptures. Reveal guidance found in biblical stories. But, whatever you do, force them to ask WWJD? Or even HWJV?

This has nothing to do with you… Pastor. Voting is an issue that is bigger than all of us to get it right.