First Church of Cash

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Submitted By: Slowfo

Gentry’s Note: I’m pretty sure that Slowfo first saw this on the Stuff Christian Culture Likes page on FB. They apparently lifted it from here.

What is it they say about pictures and a thousand words? Hmmm………Now before you get your Acts 29’s in a wad, I’m not specifically pointing out Mars Hill as being a money-hungry church. Heck, I’d at least have to get to know them a little before I gave them a good tongue lashing over their financial dealings. The quick defenders of Mars Hill might even look at this photo and say, “This picture doesn’t tell the whole story. You’re taking a photo completely out of context from everything that transpires with the church.” Context. Yes, lets’ provide some context.

As my family and I are home-bound due to 18 inches of snow being dumped on the Tulsa area this week (we Okies are paralyzed at 3 inches of snow, let alone 18!), we’ve had plenty of time for TV watching. Last night, we stumbled upon Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. I like that Adam Richman. Just a good-guy, John Belushi look-alike who attempts to take on the biggest food challenges that this country has to offer. I watched as he successfully choked down the hottest burger on the planet, attempted to eat 11 pounds of pizza with a friend in 60 minutes and then tackled 4 pounds of blueberry pancakes in 90 minutes. How this guy will live through this TV series is beyond me but I found myself entertained nonetheless.

It was only after I consumed 90 minutes of this program that “context” finally dawned on me. We were watching a television production that cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to create (that’s just a guess – if anyone actually knows how much a show costs to produce, let me know) to be entertained by seeing a guy gorge himself with as much food as humanly possible in a short amount of time. Meanwhile, the world’s story is much different. In the U.S., we are consumed by multi-million dollar entertainment and excessive amounts of food to the point of gross obesity while half-way around the world and even on our own streets, there are many that are hoping to just have enough food to make it for a few more days. The hungry don’t know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, instead living meal to meal. With the rare Oklahoma blizzard this week, I was saying my prayers and being thankful for electricity that still worked when an acquaintance of mine offered up a prayer for the homeless in Tulsa…..praying that they would find shelter and warmth in the midst of sub zero temperatures. Sadly, I hadn’t even thought of their plight until he reminded me and I quickly followed his lead to ask God for their protection. I was embarrassed that I had forgotten even my local context.

I don’t really even need to spell out the global context for the church, do I? There are millions and millions of church dollars that are put towards just the right property locations, modern looking mini-mall facilities, giant, state-of-the-art projection screens, and even more armored trucks full of dollars thrown at advertising while pastors easily justify the expense, muttering with a crack in their voices, “It would all be worth it even if we could just save one soul.”

The Church is trying to keep up with the entertainment world and instead should be a breath of fresh air for society. The church should NOT be a testament to bloated consumption and excessive entertainment. Instead, She is to be the constant reminder to society that we MUST pay attention to the hungry and poor.

C’mon Church, surely your Dave Ramsey classes have taught you the value of money by now. Are we really doing the right thing spending so much on ourselves while our brothers and sisters around the globe starve? Trust me, I understand that I’m probably coming off like a bleeding heart who’s asking for “the end of global hunger” when it’s just not that realistic or simple. I get it. But we really need to stop and look at a photo like the one above and ask ourselves, “Have we just gotten so used to seeing a picture like this and dismissing it that we forget about the true context of what is really happening?” I just think Jesus calls her Bride to stop looking in the mirror at how pretty she is and instead to do more to heal the pains of this world we live in.

  1. “surely your Dave Ramsey classes…”

    I’m crying over here.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susan Jones, Jeff Gentry. Jeff Gentry said: Today at #TheInconsistentAdopted Slowfo offers a slightly more visceral take on the church and money. […]

  3. Hey, Mars Hill puts out their financial statements every year. If you want one, I’ll drop it in the mail for you.

  4. Do they publish a 990? Would probably be more revealing. Props on the annual report though. Seriously.

  5. Thanks for your reply Torrie. Like I said in the blog, I really am not picking on Mars Hill per se. I was more just making a statement about the overall Church in America and making sure that we’re thinking through how every single dollar and dime have been given as an act of worship (tithe). All churches no matter how large or small should feel the weight of that responsibility and make sure that money is going to God’s best use around the globe.

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