Oct 28, 2011

10% Extortion

How important is God to you?
Do you deem it important to honor Him with the first fruits of your increase/income? Or do you just think tithing is a one way to keep the church off your back?
Do you have a pastor who pesters you to part with more of your money so that the overheads of the church is met?

While Christianity in India has a long history of evangelism and has roots that can be traced back to the Apostles, the past decade or so have seen an explosion of missionaries visiting India to spread The Good News.

I know churches that works with the lowest of the low and strives to make a truly wonderful change amongst the community it works with. Thatched roofs Churches where the faithful gather to hear the Word of God and the pastor does not have a mic but the congregation still picks up every word he says. 

I recently met a pastor, an American, who has been nagging his church members to give 'generously'.
So what's wrong with the picture here?
Here's what-
- The pastor, sponsored by the mother church in the US, earns in a month, probably the equivalent of what a middle class family would earn in an year.
- He stays with his Wife plus 4 kids in a very expensive home in an exclusive neighborhood, besides all the other material trappings that a upper middle class family should possess.
- He insists that his church members pay for the electricity and other overheads of the church. Generously.
- While he quotes scriptures to prove his point and urge his church members to fork out the extra rupee, I remember the famously quoted line: 'Even the devil can quote scriptures'.
His ruse is that true Christians need to support the church financially so that the church can spread. Image that comes to my mind: Like the tentacles of an Octopus.
Now, I don't have anything against missionaries who have put their western way of life on hold for the Indian toilet, but I do find it a huge insult when we have missionaries who come, start churches in a air-conditioned hall of a building and expect us to meet their electricity and living expenses.
While none of the members have voiced out their concerns and their reservations, what I need to understand is why the dear pastor cannot forgo his so generous salary if is truly concerned about the rising overheads.
While much of the US has already been invaded by televangelists, the many wolves in sheep clothing have now turned their sights on India. An emerging market.

Do we really have the right attitude towards God?
When we insist church members to tithe generously, isn't it against the true spirit of giving out of free will?
Why do we let church leaders manipulate the scriptures for their own will?
Does giving money absolve you and complete your duties towards God?

A good family friend of mine, 'donates' a certain portion of their time every week towards bible study. Although they cannot afford to give 'generously', they consider this as their way of offering their talents to the Almighty.

After growing for nearly 2000 years, Christianity has now taken a beating in the past decade because of it's dubious practitioners.
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