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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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45 Responses to 559

  1. Caz says:

    “I’ve upped my giving. Up yours.”
    :D

    Sorry.

  2. jody says:

    :-) i am abivalent about church building projects, and have had experience of two so far. one imho done well, one not.

    the first was a 3.2mill suggestion and the second is 3/4mill. the money will always worry me on an ethical front, but in terms of a growing church which offers itself to the community in many ways, this seems the best solution for continuing to be a blessing to our community.

  3. jody says:

    sorry not clear, the 3.2mill suggestion was not particularly executed very well and subsequently has not been completed.

    the 3/4mill one is good, I think

  4. Pingback: Steini’s Garden » Blog Archive » Verschobene Prioritäten in der Kirche?

  5. smudge says:

    seems like Paul was wrong and ‘God does live in temples built by hands.’
    [or should that be 'god'?]

  6. Linus says:

    This is a tricky one for me. I believe passionately that church communities need to radically overhaul their buildings* and virtual presence so that they give a welcoming, relevant and positive impression. But these things do cost money. Lots. And there are lots of other things to spend money on. I liked that in the throes of a long and painful attempt to raise money for a building project (now on site), our church community was prepared to give a substantial sum to a church we have links with in Albania so that they could purchase their own building, thus ensuring a meeting place for several congregations.

    *yes, not all church communities need a building, but some do. There are just some gatherings/activities/ways of serving people that can’t be accommodated in hired or borrowed buildings. And if you’re gonna have a building, it should be excellent. And friendly and welcoming and should help people to seek God.

  7. chris says:

    I think you’ve under estimated the cost of the new sound system.

  8. Linus says:

    haha yes Chris, couldn’t agree more! =P

    However much gets spent on PA, though, it never seems enough to ensure that the band can actually hear each other!

    More seriously, not sure what our leaders are on, but the support staff at our place put up with wages and general treatment that i wouldn’t stand for. And they prob wouldn’t either, ‘cept that they do, because they see it as part of serving the church i guess. The church should be the best employer, and often its the worst.

  9. Kim says:

    I read an interesting article on this subject on the City Gates church website (!). The guy said that building alterations etc should really only be done in response to a work God was already doing – ie. lots more people coming in, more work with community groups already happening. The building shouldn’t be expected to generate the work of the kingdom, but the other way round. I found that useful as it means the heart of the church is prepared and working to serve already.

  10. Caroline Too says:

    The vey best for God or a wise stewardship of money? (Read haggai, which suggests that the lesser temple would bring greater glory)

    Facilities that the community can use or a presence out in the community? (Acts seems to suggest the latter, but that may just be my bias)

    ambitious for God or wanting to look good to the world? and how can we spot the difference?)
    A place for the ‘church’ to gather or places for church family members to relate deeply and encouragingly? (For me this is the crux of the matter and isn’t easy to answer)

    Just some of the tricky questions of judgement in building. And I wouldn’t claim that there are easy answers… i suspect that I end up strongly on one side of the questions but I’m not sure that I’m right and not always sure that it’s the cheaper option.

  11. Caroline Too says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to build church relationships in such a way that family members could have access to our money?

    and not require us to do some thing particular called ‘giving’.

    not easy though, maybe we should work at it, do some playacting of such relations? and learn?

  12. janetp says:

    Hmmmm. Difficult one in many ways, but I think on the whole I’m with Kim on this. That said, the bane of many churches lives (at least here in the UK) is the cost of keeping their buildings properly maintained, especially in these days of ever-increasing regulation. :(

    We also have a huge legacy of fantastic old buildings which represent a big part of the history of the communities in which they are situated. This is a wonderful thing, but can cause massive financial headaches for small congregations and can effectively limit the activities and/or expression of the church in that place.

    That said, there are also wonderful communities that have come up with really creative ways to use these old buildings and develop innovative, open and welcoming churches. :)

  13. chris says:

    Seems a bit of an odd thing to say here, but I’ve found that TC Helicon VoiceSolo VSM-300s are a great way to help band members hear themselves and each other without drowning out the front of house PA… worth a look if anyone’s needing to solve such a problem. Rest assured I’m not on commission for TC Helicon!

  14. will says:

    We’re in a position where we want a building (the church where i go have been in existance for 25 years and have never owned anything) This is to stay the same. For a church meeting we are not bothered how and where we meet. If we end up meeting in peoples houses then no problem. What interests us is to give a building to the town where i live. To offer space for people to use and from that also have things there that are essential to those in need. At the present we are looking at credit unions, debt counselling, safe houses. All sorts of stuff and don’t want people to have to walk into a church to get it but just that it is setup/run by people who love and care.

    On another note i have seen so many churches spend up and over £75000 on p.a. equipment and have yet to meet anyone who actually has a clue how to run it. I ask you what is the point.

  15. Francie says:

    I’m not going to say that church buildings are evil, but I think God is pleased with what Francis Chan’s church is doing. http://kellyssabbatical.blogspot.com/2008/07/francis-chan.html

  16. Carole says:

    Funny we should have this one – just the other day I was chatting to a friend from a neighbouring church. They received a ‘Godsend’ a few years back, courtesy of a bequest from an elderly woman parishioner. She had no relatives and decided to bequeath her house to the church. Well, it must have taken about 2 years to-ing and fro-ing between clergy, PCC and parishioners to decide what to do with the proceeds. They finally started work on a lovely church hall extension, since their old one had seen better days. In the meantime, works exceeded the budget as typically happens but everyone is now very pleased with the new resource. But anyhow, they are now in a position where it will cost 80,000 of your Earth pounds to knock the old one down due to the fact it contains significant amounts of asbestos which will need specialist removal. Money – blessing or a curse?

  17. Mildly OT, but with all this giving, are churches in the UK required to pay taxes, or are they tax-exempt, as they are here in the US?

  18. chaino says:

    my church runs on 20-40 dollars a week for about 50-60 people.

  19. smudge says:

    to Linus 6.

    what’s the definition of an ‘excellent’ building?
    mine is a friendly welcome from the Living Stones, with the Chief Cornerstone Present.

    and, no, many things cannot be done from rented/hired buildings…me and my husband…both of us over 40/he over 50 – got exhausted in our last congregation with the set up/set down requirements of the rented school hall/building – plus the need to watch over our 2 lively children at the same time…

    thank God we have a home which is funded regardless of whether it’s used for people to meet in to worship God and pray in or not.
    So no extra money needed, for anyone who wants to gather with other Christians [i.e. church]

    Why do people think things have to cost a lot of money?
    i.e. Christians gathering
    people getting married
    what is all this abandonment of the wisdom/instruction the bible gives?
    Why have we become so much like the world thinking their values are what works?

    Can we seriously justify spending money on bricks and mortar ‘church buildings’ when some, even in the U.K. cannot afford their rent and utility bills and many in other countries cannot afford food?

    How far we have gone…and, yes, I can find all the reasons to justify it too – the poor we will always have with us…etc
    God will look after them
    we can have both…

    I don’t think so..

  20. smudge says:

    quote:
    Facilities that the community can use or a presence out in the community? (Acts seems to suggest the latter, but that may just be my bias)

    amen Caroline
    it’s about The Kingdom, not simply the local church as a building.

    it’s almost like a weaning is needed…but hands firmly gripped tight…
    what will need to happen to loosen them?

  21. zefi says:

    I would normally put up with such thing if financial reasons are given, but I find it distasteful when people start drawing some verses out of context to justify their decision.

    But can’t entirely blame them also. Some don’t want “secular” reasons. They want one that sounds spiritual. Demand and supply thingy.

  22. becky says:

    What Jon describes is sickening – every time I go into a megachurch (occupational hazard), I feel like I am watching a theatrical show designed to make sure I have an uplifting spiritual experience – sort of like watching an Andrew Lloyd Weber production. It’s all about making sure the customer is satisfied so they’ll keep buying more product.

    9. I agree Kim is spot on – If the church is praying for how God wants them to work in his kingdom then the building will reflect that – some will be large hangouts for kids (and in those cases, they might have more of a club like feel with sound systems and all), others small cells where groups gather before being sent out in the world (rather than starting up a ministry see what’s going on in the community where can join in), and still others will need to expand their space as they feel God telling them to sleep those who need a bed. And using that logic, if a church is only open on Sundays for “pretty church” perhaps they should pray for how they can have their space used the rest of the week – I get church finances but I’ve seen some creative ways that churches have rent/donated their space – for many an AA meeting is their first introduction to a church building that didn’t scare the crud out of them.

  23. Linus says:

    Smudge @19, i couldn’t say, but i know one when i see it =]

    And i know a cold, stinking dripping room with an outside bog that hasn’t been slopped out since 1972 is not conducive to friendly welcome!

    Seriously… an excellent building is welcoming, inspiring, easy and intuitive to use and fit for purpose, improves productivity, is easy to find your way around, is comfortable to be in, makes you feel good about yourself and your hosts, communicates your inherent value as a human being, communicates the values and character of your hosts, meets a genuine set of needs, looks damn good, and probably won’t get planning permission. Many people’s homes achieve this. Some church’s homes achieve this.

    Its really cool to understand the church building as the “domus ecclesia”: House of the Church. The house of God is the people – the church community. The building is the house of the church. You learn a lot about people (and God) by what their home is like.

    I think its much harder in our current culture and circumstances to have a genuine big impact on a whole community without a building to use as a permanent base of operations and to be identified with.

    I think there are some ways in which a church community cannot serve unless it has certain accommodation which it can use in persuit of that service.

    I think that where buildings are necessary, they should be designed and used to realise their full potential to serve and communicate with people.

    I think that we can justify bricks and mortar if there are genuine benefits. Like space to house homeless people or offices for traidcraft.

    I think that many aspects of being a church community work much better informally and in a domestic context.

    I think that every building that at any point contains people who are trying to follow Jesus is a church building.

    I think that its wrong to spend money frivolously.

    I think that lots of things can be done cheaply, and that everything should be done well.

    I think too much =]

  24. Pingback: Credit Crunch? | Kouya Chronicle

  25. AnneDroid says:

    Our new church building, which I may have mentioned once or thrice, has been open for 3 years now. (We demolished the previous one and rebuilt). It cost £1.2million and we started with £1 to open the bank account!

    When it was first suggested I was very uncomforable as I thought about all the poor who could use the money. I thought it was wrong.

    And then I thought about the big council housing scheme in the very centre of which we are located and all the thousands of people there, and I thought about the high standards people now expect from shopping centres and cinemas and pubs and so on. That’s the reality the church here finds itself in. I also thought about why I was embarrassed to invite the middle class mums from the school gate to the church. I realised it was because the building was old fashioned, uncomfortable, and a total contrast to all the other amenities they were used to elsewhere.

    Anyway, I learned a lot during the year or two it took to fund-raise and build our current buildings. One of the main things I discovered was that the working together that we had to do to fund-raise was REALLY good for us, and lots of fun, and a blessing to the community too through events that we ran. It was very good for our faith too as there were milestones from time to time that we got worked up about in advance, praying harder than we might normally…!

    And now we’ve got the new building, lots more people are coming than used to. The atmostphere is a million times better, in lots of ways. It’s used almost full time through the week, by community groups, our own activities and national things (90%of Scots live within 90 mins of our church – woo hoo!).

    Our giving is up, so the poor are doing better from us than they used to anyway.

    It’s a win win situation.

    I think the parable of the workers in the vineyard which my RC colleague was talking about today shows the wonderfully surprising, reckless, extravagant and, to some, offensive, accounting methods by which God works.

    If he tells a congregation to raise and then spend £1.2million on a building, that’s entirely up to him, surely?!!

    PS Four of the aforementioned school mum friends of mine and their husbands and wee ones are now among our new attendees. I’m not sure what they believe exactly but they enjoy coming and I’m not embarrassed!!

  26. AnneDroid says:

    Most of you will have heard this, but for those who haven’t, a minister once said to his congregation, “I’ve got bad news, good news and bad news. The bad news is that we need a new roof on the church. The good news is that we’ve got the money. The bad news is that it’s in your pocket”.

  27. Caroline Too says:

    I dunno AnneDroid… embarrassed to invite your middle class friends from the school gates…

    I do understand the reasoning..

    but…

    I just see the difficulty that we have in making poverty history and meeting the millenium goals…

    and then I see the ease with which our polititians (on both sides of the atlantic) find many times more billions to keep us and the mega rich sorted…

    and it just seems wrong, it just seems to be missing God’s way…

    and I don’t know (genuinely don’t know) how to work out when our use of mega quid (bucks) succeeds in presenting us to the world in an ‘audible’ way or if it just reflects how we and the world are not different at all.

    I just feel uneasy about how alike the world we are…

    (and just to admit that three fingers are pointing back at me… I still live in a very nice house and give more to that than I give to church, Northumbria Community and mission…

    so, perhaps I don’t have a leg to stand on here…

  28. jonbirch says:

    thanks all for a very interesting discussion. i think i sit on both sides of the fence here… not easy… biologically not possible in fact! :-)
    i have seen schemes that were clearly good and seen the opposite too. the cartoon is clearly taking the mickey.. but it is true that there is what becky is referring to and then there is what annedroid is referring to. two completely different things.
    thanks for the fascinating input from everyone.

    caroline too… i see those three fingers pointing back at me too.

    i think i hate capitalist church, which is what i think zefi is hinting at… justification for empire building… i too find it distasteful.
    and as carole warns us… playing the market can be like playing roulette no matter how much wisdom we’ve tried to exercise.

  29. dennis says:

    Funny really I wish I was a farmer because I would start donating a sheep a month just to see what they did with it.

    Im sure you can get a website for about 24.99 a month! (they are a bit crap though)

  30. Robb says:

    I suspect there is a difference between the mega church who are asking for 2.4 million for the 6th mega building on their compound (just up the road from here – where he man and sh-ra bound onto the stage to declare “If God has given you lots of money there is no one better to spend it on than yourself”) and the local church dealing with the dripping leaking building that means that they remain the heart of the community in which they are part (where the council estate has a library, meeting rooms, job club etc etc etc…..).

    I also think that for every minister who is having his merc and armani suit (‘strangely’ the same mega church up the road) there are hundreds of ministers who have given up their livelyhood to instead show their family how they can budget a modest stipend.

    This does however highlight a question that the emerging church never asks – sustainability. In my experience, either the institution pays (for the ‘institutional church’ that they meet in) or the market forces pay (beer in the pub, coffee in the cafe, etc) for the economic venture that they meet in. Net result is the same – someone is somehow paying for it so that people can live with the belief that it is “free” and church is “the people” and the “living cornerstone”.

  31. Robb says:

    Dennis – they would sell it for £3ish after it cost £6 to raise – the problem farmers in the UK face every day!

  32. becky says:

    Rob – ergo the dilemma. Emerging church always seems to break down around the practical issues. I’m wondering how some of these gatherings will continue now that we’re in a serious financial crisis in NYC – I have to think twice about meeting someone for dinner – i tend to propose coffee or a beer at a place that won’t kick us out if we don’t order a lot. Economics dictates this more than some would like to admit.

    Tonight is not a good time for me to reflect on emerging church – I am aware of some folks going through some really bad stuff right now. For all the academic posturing and theological debates, I don’t see any emergent buds that know some of the parties involved acting like they give a damn here. Hence in my view they can call their little gatherings whatever the heck makes them feel good but it’s not “church.” For me the essence of church is do I have a community that will hold me together during those times when I fell apart so I can be put back together again? Knowing full well, I’ll always be somewhat of a mess like Mike Yaconelli was. I had that in the ’80s inside this very active mega church in New York City that used every inch of it’s space to the glory of God – they needed to do a building expansion and were shut down by the city as they’re a landmarked building. And now I find church in bits and pieces – sometimes in a church building, often times not.

  33. AnneDroid says:

    Good summary, Robb @ #30, and may I reassure you that Him Indoors has only one suit and it came from either Matalan or Tesco, I forget which!

    Caroline @ #27 “I still live in a very nice house and give more to that than I give to church… and mission…” I think you’ve absolutely nailed the issue. So do I and so do most of us, I expect.

    Many a church has lots of stuff in it, old desks, old cookers, old whatever, that people didn’t want in their house any more. There’s this attitude (unconscious) of “it’s not good enough for my house any more but IT’LL DO FOR THE CHURCH”. So missionally the church is stuffed because it conveys an impression not of superb spiritual people who are so unmaterialistic that they give all their money to the third world but a bunch of hypocrites who have foreign holidays and nice homes and clothes but give the bare minimum to the church yet claim they want to make it a welcoming place for strangers.

    The emerging church meeting in cafes usually goes for nice ones like Costas, not greasy spoons! If the six of us who live in this house were to do church in Costas (apart from the fact the kids couldn’t sit still for more than about ten minutes) it would cost a lot of money too, and we are a dual income family. Robb’s right – someone has to pay whatever way you do church.

  34. There is one thing about the man in the cartoon that is really impressive. He is so up front about where the money is going. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such an open honest appeal. I think that sort of transparency would be very refreshing.

  35. subo says:

    - “For me the essence of church is do I have a community that will hold me together during those times when I fell apart so I can be put back together again? Knowing full well, I’ll always be somewhat of a mess like Mike Yaconelli was.”

    Powerful stuff Becky, thinking about how our faith structures how we do community fascinates me. as an oldie I’ve had the opportunity to be in a number of churches, and often reflect on the quality of faith they were able to share, and at times the pervading depth of disbelief masked by ‘healing and deliverance seeking’, or ‘fixing and controlling’.

    what I find in the emerging church things I get to go to, is the inspiration some people seem to have to live free of the group culture, and listen to the way their faith leads them, the nature of emerging church is to be stepping out into the unknown, at times this just seems to look like a scary blank canvas

    I so very much value what you say about being human “I’ll always be somewhat of a mess like Mike Yaconelli was.”, what I struggled with from within the old evangelical structures was a sense of ‘the gifted, sorted leadership, working on the ungifted, messed up pew sitters’.

    I think the ‘fixing’ culture has now become abhorrent to our more aware society, where we know our dark-sides hurt those around us, and that we have a responsibility to find the way of peace, so I think the emerging church is looking for ways of being pastoral without being fixing, without having a model to follow. the prob. with blank canvasses, is we think we see the picture, then it disappears, then what

    I sensed though, from you post though, that you’ve been going through it, so hope you’ve had some fellow travellers to chat with, and thanks for being so real on this blog

  36. Carole says:

    Reading through the stories and the views expressed here, the only thing that is clear is that one size does not fit all. Personally I NEED a sense of community to keep me going, whether that is in a church building, in a small group, in cyberspace or whatever. If change happens from an overarching ‘building based’ community to meeting in pubs/cafes etc. it will not happen overnight. So we content ourselves in knowing that stirrings will happen at various locations but it will be a long time until the church building model becomes obsolete, if that happens at all. Personally, I hope it doesn’t go away completely.

    When it comes to giving, there are so many ways in which you can give that it seems to be a shame that the emphasis is always on money. Yes, we do need to raise awareness of global injustices, we do need to fund projects (particularly if this is equipping locals to sustain their own communities/projects). But what about those churches who use their buildings for luncheon clubs, mums & tots, AA, youth clubs and the like? Is this not looking after the poor? God’s plan for his people is a grand and complex design. There ain’t nothin’ simple about it. I wonder what He thinks when he sees us muddling our way through all of this wonderful diversity of activity? Does it look anything like synergy?

  37. Carole says:

    Dennis, for the record, I set up a website for my church. OK, it wouldn’t win any records for style, but it functions. The domain name and hosting combined costs me about £42 a year. But that is because I decided to upgrade the hosting package from the basic one (which served us well for about 3 years – I’m not good at housekeeping so there is a lot of rubbish on the server!). Also because even though I told the priest that he was in need of a good .org.uk, he insisted on a .com. If we stayed with the basic package and a .org.uk, it would only cost £25.19 per annum.

    Many church websites have lots of snazzy Flash. I haven’t got the time to get my head around flash so I keep it very simple. I know some churches with impressive Flash sites but it is all froth and no substance and they are often out of date. I decided from day one that content and a real sense of our community was more important than style (I’m not that despotic, really, just no-one else was interested!). For us it works.

  38. Robb says:

    Anne –

    Suits? Personally it is always Matalan as I only have magic beans… and I don’t like wearing a suit. But then one of the ‘jolly good chaps’ singled me out as unsuitable candidate for ministry in a school because I was wearing a Darkenss T-shirt. I suspect that he has never been in a school!

    “So missionally the church is stuffed because it conveys an impression not of superb spiritual people who are so unmaterialistic that they give all their money to the third world but a bunch of hypocrites who have foreign holidays and nice homes and clothes but give the bare minimum to the church yet claim they want to make it a welcoming place for strangers.”

    Ouch. Yes!! Ouch….

    “The emerging church meeting in cafes usually goes for nice ones like Costas, not greasy spoons”

    This is the issue I have with that which I hold dear (The Emerging Church – you only need to read my blog to see I love “the institution” and “the emergent”)… it’s so very middle class*.

    When I heard Pete Rollins speak at Greenbelt I heard a lot about Marx and Nietzsche. The last time I was in the working mens club (the hostelry I feel most at home in) I didn’t hear any talk of any of this. Who or what is an opiate and aren’t masses held on Sundays?

    When we read about alt worship services they tend to be reliant upon “utilising the social capital and artistic tallents of the people who come to the worship gathering”. Again, a little thin on the ground in an ex-mining village sat on top of the deserted yorkshire coal faces. So the big question for me is “what does it look like when these communities emerge”? I suspect it looks little like an arts project or book group in starbucks.

    Anyone who’ll listen – One point about websites. Again, if you have the social capital in the congregation/gathered people focussed upon the cornerstone, all you need is the cost of hosting. That is rather like saying that the only cost in producing ‘The Guardian’ each morning is the paper.

    *This is not a slight on the middle class – I have a degree and a profession whilst coming from a working class heritage.

  39. Chris F says:

    Is anyone else bothered by the simple business of passing around a collection plate/bag in all services? It seems to me that the church is perceived by those currently outside, that it is “only after your money”. While this may not be true, it is what many think. So I say ban all collections in the service, so as not to give any offence to someone seeking after God and daring to come into a church.

    I know it is a legitimate part of worship and some will miss the opportunity and the ritual of processing up the aisle of the gifts, the accompanying prayers – which DO of course have a place. But it’s a place that does us more harm than good, and gives the wrong message to the “little ones” that Jesus told us not to drive away

    Those of us who are in already may need reminding of our responsibility to pay, but it should be done quietly and in the spirit of 1 Cor 9 – no compulsion, God loves a cheerful giver.

  40. Robb says:

    I have big issues with it. Asking for money isn’t what the christian faith is about. Giving is…

    Giving is a free act that comes as a response to God. We decide how and when and where we are to give. It is right that we should have our offering acknowledged. There is a liturgical sense in which bringing our offering towards God is a spiritual act. however, each week I don’t stick anything into the plate. In fact, it must be nearly ten years since I physically placed something into the plate. My mother has a standing order to her church and she still feels guilty and puts a quid in the plate. I always have the embarassing stand off with a sidesperson. They are embarrassed – I am not. If you want me to gift aid and make a regular contribution you can keep that stupid thing from under my nose or give me somthing symbolic to put under it.

    And any one who says “if you pass the plate at weddings/funerals people will give. They want to give!” there will be interesting noises develop from my larynx…

  41. Robb says:

    That sentence is nonsensical but you can work it out!

  42. janetp says:

    Very interesting discussion since I last posted on this.

    Thanks all. :)

  43. I have huge problems with the asking, at least how it’s done and how many times. On the new website (and I’ll rant about websites later)that nobody was consulted about, there’s a click-on icon that follows you through all the pages so you can donate to the restoration appeal. The appeal is mentioned twice on the home page intro and several times on other pages (lest ye forget). On the information table in the church there are at least three different options for coughing up your cash, envelopes in every pew and home pc generated posters randomly dispersed throughout. There was a stink recently after a big funeral when they all arrived in mercs and beemers (and parked on the grass…but what can you expect from fairground people?) and nobody donated ANYTHING.
    The old website was terrible so they paid a fortune for a new one with the same content (it’s just more flashy). Relevant people weren’t consulted so there’s information missing and/or on the wrong pages but as it costs £120 to add another page….TOUGH. They could have built a site themselves for a fraction of the cost and it might not have looked as swish but I can’t believe it would have looked any worse. They also thought (@carole) that anybody who is anybody has a dot com.
    All these deals are made, it seems, at rotary club dinners or on the golf course.
    If it weren’t for these middle classes there would be no money coming into the church…the yearly donations from the congregation are impressive but it isn’t enough to preserve the fabric, hence the begging.
    I was always keen on the preservation of our heritage but now I’ve seen it from a different angle; and what I see makes me cringe. Waffling again…euuuuu

  44. AnneDroid says:

    botticelliwoman, I too get embarrassed when the church is perceived as asking for money too much. Sadly, though, I think the solution is entirely in the hands of the members… If we all start giving up front, and UNGRUDGINGLY, then there will be no need for churches to do this unseemly begging. Talking about money is a big taboo in this culture – I think in other countries we might not feel so stressed about it. But since it is, and since many of us don’t give unless it’s made easy for us and we’re reminded, this tension will go on for a while yet I reckon.

  45. subo says:

    “When it comes to giving, there are so many ways in which you can give that it seems to be a shame that the emphasis is always on money.”

    thanks for the reminder Carol, if I’m broke I often crawl into a hole of shame, hang my head and disappear, it’s so hard to remember your smile still counts if your shoes are ready for the bin

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