Hey there, friends. You might be wondering what I’m referring to in my title. Well, there is something that has been weighing on my heart the last few days – something that hopefully isn’t taken the wrong way, but is merely an observation.
Side Note: we have been very busy for the last six weeks, resulting in me missing mass altogether (trust me, the Catholic guilt has set it with a fury), or attending a service elsewhere.
On Tuesday, we received a letter from our church. Said letter listed our total giving for 2017 (we became official parishioners in May) and then proceeded to break it down even further to list we had only given a couple hundred dollars since September. The letter ended with the (in my opinion) poorly worded assumption that we are not giving enough and the church would appreciate an increase in our donations.
That letter hasn’t been sitting well with me since opening it.
I’ve concluded there are a few reasons why…
First, as mentioned above, attendance in general has not been good. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth. Therefore, giving these last few weeks has been nonexistent. Instead of receiving communication that the church misses my attendance, you know, as a member of the congregation, they instead miss the money. What if for some reason my faith had been lost? They aren’t concerned about my spiritual well-being, it’s all about my money (at least the way the letter was worded).
Next, is it odd of me to think the insinuation of “only a couple hundred dollars” over two months time is not an insignificant amount of money?
Finally, the assumption that we are financially able to give more, and the pressure to do so is incredibly overwhelming to me.
Don’t get me wrong, the church is a business. It needs money to run, pay the bills, give to charities, etc. Understood. However, it seems to me that the church today is reminiscent of the Leodicean church – lukewarm in practice; concerned for money more than spiritual warfare occurring in the modern era.
The church does not have ill intentions, but that letter threw me for a loop. Not the content, but the wording. The emphasis on giving, and not giving enough. Fellowship is supposed to be uplifting, stress-free, and strengthen your relationship with God. Not give you anxiety about whether you’re being judged on your giving.
Food for thought – which of these members of the church would you want in your congregation:
The old widowed man in his tattered jacket, who shows up every week, even several times a week, spreading nothing but love and kindness, but only gives the couple of bucks he can.
The impeccably dressed mom who sits in a place in the church with her nose in the air, watching and judging everyone walking through that door. The mom who donates a large portion of her husband’s hefty paycheck, but won’t converse with you after mass if you don’t fit her mold.
I know who I’d rather sit next to.
My point is this: it is a belief of mine that to whom much is given, much is expected. However, lukewarm Christianity is not the answer. Your relationship with Christ is not dependent upon how much money you put in the collection box. Donating large sums of money is not a free ticket into heaven if you don’t practice Jesus’ teaching.
Oh, and did it ever occur to the church that there have been several times I’ve anonymously donated to a cause, or threw a large bill into the collection box without my name on it? Probably not.