Thursday, September 15, 2005

tithing and church giving

So the question is, should the pastor of the church be paid? I opened my mouth and weighed in last week when this subject came up rather than waiting to discuss at dinner this week. I think I have a problem with this for several reasons. One is that I don't like the idea of paying to go to church like it's entertainment. Also, other people (H for example) see this as being required to pay money to go to church, and it's a turn off. Growing up the way I did, nobody got paid to be a pastor, but everyone there was getting paid to be a missionary. Somehow this is different to me. People weren't paying them to help themselves (the people paying) but to go and help other people. Also, I'm not sure a church should require a lot of money to run. I like being a house church and not having a lot of overhead. I don't think churches should be very big. That said, I'm not against people being paid for work that they do, either.
(It's funny how I'm such a strange cross between Episcopal and Quaker and yet go to a Baptist church! I like the ceremony of high church, but I like the equality of Quaker. Also, I don't think ceremony is necessary, just nice.)
Finally, I really want my money to go to help people who really, really need it. And maybe if I'm paying someone to preach and then they're spending the money on things that I don't approve of I may not like it. Which raises another interesting question. Even though I'm earning my money in the secular world, shouldn't I be concerned about how I spend it? I think if I ever become a priest I won't ask for a salary but will live off of H. (How's that for a twist? A muslim supporting a christian minister?)
I've been thinking about giving lately because I had a dream. I usually don't pay much attention to the meaning of my dreams but I've been reading a book where the author does and she has these amazing dreams. (See earlier blog.) In my dream I'm in Pto. Lleras and I find my friend Janeth. She has many small children and she's very poor and her husband is abusive. I want to help, but I have no pesos, just dollars. I decide I'll give her the twenty dollar bill in my wallet, but I can't find it so I have to give her the 100 dollar bill. I do, even though I feel like I need it myself.

No comments: