Sunday, May 20, 2007


I know what you are thinking.  NO, I really don't mind dogs coming to Church.  We have several that come from time to time.
I'm talking about Churches that are kept as pets by people who for serendipity or tradition are supported nearly 100% by one man or woman.  Then they control the pastor and crush the move of GOD.
I know of several churches like this.  Every Pastor secretly wishes he could have such a sugar daddy who he could depend on to fund whatever.  Pastor, There are big time strings that come with that giver.
What Pastor wouldn't love to get Bill Gates saved and have his tithe coming in the door?
The problem is it would then become the Church of Gates.  There is a church in the northern suburbs of Chicago financed by a wealthy construction company owner.  That church is his pet.  It's a dead place.  There are sycophants who hand around but there is no need to live by faith because the big guy makes sure all the bills are paid.
I know of a church in Tennessee bought and paid for by ONE MAN.  He pastors the church.  He's a decent sort but he is really buying his own platform.  The giving in that church other than his is nearly non existent.  Attendance is paltry.
This is the case of several close in city of Chicago churches.  They live off the giving of a few and an endowment or two.  One such is in negotiations right now with another church which has started in the community.  This edifice seats over 400 and Sunday morning seldom goes above 40.  Except for the endowments and CD's there really is no church.  If I attended there I would be the youngest person there. 
This is happening all over the place.  Communities change.  Churches languish.  They still have money and are kept open because of a few donors who treat the church as a pet.  Feeding it. 
I know the pastor at this dead church.  Decent man.  Trying to do right.  But there is no future.  So, the clock ticks down.
The relevance isn't completely intact but I think of a story from Mark 7:1-13.
One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. 2 They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. 3 (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. 4 Similarly, they don't eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)

 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, "Why don't your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony."

 6 Jesus replied, "You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

   'These people honor me with their lips,
      but their hearts are far from me.
    7 Their worship is a farce,
      for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'

 8 For you ignore God's law and substitute your own tradition."

 9 Then he said, "You skillfully sidestep God's law in order to hold on to your own tradition. 10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.' 11 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, 'Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.' 12 In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. 13 And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others."


I think a lot of what God intended for his Church is canceled by people who use money, power, position and tradition to destroy what could have been a manifest move of God.  That my friends is a horrible pity.

Maybe even an abomination.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sounds like a Fox Valley church I heard of