Thursday, June 23, 2011

Candor Camera

Last Sunday, the local megachurch announced a new fundraising project -- for 1.2 million dollars. Now what do you suppose they were going to use that for? Any guesses?

A food service ministry? Nope.

Some other kind of social service ministry, like a thrift store? Nope, not that either.

The 1.2 million is for the purchase of new television cameras -- so they can continue showing their service weekly on television.

There are times when attending or watching church services makes me physically sick. Sometimes it is because the teaching is so poor, where the Biblical text is twisted to serve some modern psychosis. (That happened, too, by the way: Genesis 22, the story of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac, was perverted into, among other things, a lesson on fathers bringing their children with them whenever they make big decisions.) Sometimes it is because emotion and experience is emphasized while rationality and evidence is ignored. (That happened, too; every week in fact, because the very title television show this church produces has a strong emotional/experiential connotation.)

Then I get sick when this sort of thing happens -- funds being raised for some accessory purpose that's more for show than for serious and unavoidable ministry needs.

Yes, they'd say: A lot of people are "touched" by our television program. Okay...laying aside the fact that the insipid content does more harm than good, don't tell me that 1.2 million dollars is needed to buy television cameras. Maybe that's also for other production costs? That I don't know. What I do know is that we have a lot greater needs than that right now. They obviously have working cameras now, so why they need new ones, I can’t say.

Just for perspective here: Tekton will never need 1.2 million for any of its projects. Indeed if anyone dropped that amount in its accounts, here's what that would mean: I could tell every donor to never donate again; I'd be able to conduct the ministry until I was 83 years old (that's 40 years from now) or even longer, if I were able to put some of that into Treasury bonds; and I'd still be able to give away $200,000 to some other ministry, or else give Nick Peters a good head start as my associate.

A slick television show is often produced with the notion that it will serve as a "beacon" to the world. I think a much brighter beacon could be lit if we used our resources in a way that showed we used God's property in a responsible and efficient way.

I'm still a little weak from the surgery, and have an unrelated physician appointment Tuesday, so the Forge will return again next Thursday.

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