Friday, November 30, 2007

Do Money and Spirituality Mix?

Recently, a local husband-wife pastor team was asked to disclose their personal finances to the IRS. They own 6 houses, including a mansion at a very prestigous address, several companies, and more. They earned most of this by doing the "Lord's Work."

Some church members stated they know about their extravagant lifestyle and approve of it. They said that they were "working for the King" and should present themselves as so. But did this televangelist duo go to far?

Things like this give religion, any religion, a bad name. When the leaders of a church, temple, or other organization are shown in a bad light, people begin to disbelieve. Historically, this is typical.

The Catholic Church used to sell indulgences, where one could buy their way into heaven.

The church mentioned above took donations by credit card. How one can preach financial responsibility while swiping members' VISAs is beyond me. The Bible states that one cannot serve two masters: money and God.

But there is a place for money in spirituality. Twelve-Step Groups call it "self-sufficiency," and decline outside contributions. Buddhism uses the term Dana, or genorousity, and ask for contributions to expenses. Christians tithe, or give 10% of their income to the church.

Giving to one's faith fosters responsbility and accountability. No one should be left to bear the financial burdens alone.

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