The Church and material wealth

There is nothing wrong with money, as long as it doesn’t become an idol on an individual level. But what about a corporate level? Money can, and does, detract from our message.

When thinking of the Church (big “C”), and money, what comes to mind?

On twitter today I saw a picture which showed on the left Pope Benedict sitting on a gold throne and on the right some starving children. There is something very wrong with that.

First, the pope is thought of in the media world as the leader of all Christians. This is scary because anything done (sins of omission and commission) and we, Christians, are lumped together by the unbelieving, watching, judging world. The unbeliever looks at that picture and applies the judgement to us all. Nevermind any acts of love and mercy we have done individually in our own communities, they go unseen by those who judge us. Of course their judgement of us doesn’t matter, except for the fact that the example takes away from the message we are trying to deliver.

Going back to that picture, why does the pope have a gold throne? Why does the leader of the Catholic Church have his own city? Why does he have his fancy vestments and pope mobile? What purpose does it have? Why do all the cardinals have their crosses they wear? As a child and into my teens I used to wonder how the Catholic Church would survive without all that stuff. If my local parish went up in flames, where would the church go? It wasn’t until my journey out of Rome that I realized **WE** are the church!

This isn’t just a catholic thing. What about the Protestant mega churches all over? My employer says “perception is reality” and I couldn’t agree more.

In Luke 9 when Jesus sent the twelve out, he told them to take nothing. No staff, no bag, no bread, no money. Jesus said that.

We know the Vatican and all of those called to shepherd the church need chairs to sit in, something tells me they don’t need to be gold-plated. The world so desperately needs Jesus. I mean desperately. Let us not sour the gospel for those who need to hear it by things like this.


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