A good friend sent me this article, and it resonated so strongly with me that I’m sending it on to you. Perhaps that is because Pete and I also attended a well-known university, and what we’re doing now also has little to do with our respective degrees. In any case, I find this post both challenging and liberating. I think you may too.
“Given our culture’s growing sensitivity to economic injustice, including among younger evangelicals, how would you respond to accusations of hypocrisy against megachurches with costly facilities?” That was the question Skye Jethani posed in his recent post, “Do Megachurches Hurt the Poor?” I started to write a reply which quickly grew into this response. If you haven’t already read his article, I strongly encourage you to do so now. As usual, he makes some very thought-provoking points.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, Pete and I go to a megachurch. Last I heard, our regular attendees number in the 10,000 range. Our “living room” (as our auditorium is affectionately called) is one of the largest venues in Colorado Springs, with full stage lighting, huge screens, and an elaborate sound system. While the basic building design was an economic one, it cost millions of dollars to build, and we’re still paying off a mountain of debt on it (incurred by our previous pastor).
“Sweetie, you threw away your apple core again! And [gasp!] there’s a banana peel in the trash!” My long-suffering husband had once again run afoul of the compost fanatic in our household—me.
As my family can attest, I’m pretty rabid about recycling. Plus, I love to garden. Add those together and it’s no surprise that we have a compost pile. In fact, until recently I had a worm bin in the pantry. It was so convenient to dump my kitchen trimmings in with the wrigglers and let them convert wilted lettuce and carrot peelings into worm castings. (Pete did not like having worms in the kitchen but he was incredibly patient with my enthusiasm.)
Not only am I keeping plant waste out of the landfill, recent research from Colorado State University’s soil lab concluded that homemade compost is the best soil amendment. They tested 40 commercially bagged products on the market, and homemade compost surpassed all of them. Plus, it’s free!
“Our credit cards are maxed out, and I don’t know what to do!”
“I can’t sleep at night—I just lie there and worry about our finances.”
I’ve been hearing a lot of comments like these lately. Many of our close friends are at the end of their financial ropes, and the cords are fraying. While my husband and I are doing all right—we’re paying all our bills, at least—we too are feeling the effects of a challenging economy and several years of missing income.
I knew when Pete made the switch from commercial consulting to full-time ministry that our financial situation would change. We were used to being somewhat frugal—at least we thought of ourselves that way—but this would be on a whole new level. Sensing God telling me we needed to simplify our finances and learn to live with less, I sought counsel from older (and hopefully more mature) members of our church. And I was astonished that no one had any advice for me. All I heard was, “You’re doing fine!” Really?
With the media inundating us with heartbreaking stories and photos about the suffering in Haiti, we naturally want to do something to help. However, not all organizations are equally effective at providing the relief they promise. Sadly, some even seek to profit from the situation, more than they intend to help. I suggest you read the article I’ve linked to here, as it provides some well-thought-out guidelines to help you give generously yet wisely: GuideStar’s Tips for Giving Wisely to Haitian Relief.
That being said, here are several organizations we know well, that I unreservedly recommend:
They are all already working in Haiti, have infrastructure there, and understand the situation. They will make effective use of your donation. And, they will minister in Jesus’ name.