“For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.
But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.”
1 Thessalonians 2:5, 7 ESV
As I read this, I think of a couple of things. I think of Christians who actually did suffer to be Christians, and who are still suffering today. I wonder how strong my faith would be under pressure. I think my faith is under some sort of pressure. Nothing like the early church, or what it's like in non Christian countries. I'm not persecuted. I might be thought if as a bigot, or ignorant among some of my peers. But I also have people among my demographic that are outspoken. Academics like the Liturgists. Former screamo guys on BC Pod.
So, I'm not persecuted.
It's also easy for me to criticize the church while reading this. I think of mega churches. Is it up to me to criticize? I've got my own problems. I can choose not to attend a mega church...
It does make me feel uneasy. The way these churches operate. Thousands attend each Sunday. They pull in tons of money. I have no idea how much money is received. I don't remember Calvary publishing weekly giving amounts. Sagebrush did, I think. If I remember correctly, it was close to $1,000,000. I would venture to guess that Calvary receives more, because I would assume they have a larger congregation. I may be wrong though.
What does money have to do with things? What I read says that they didn't come with words of flattery. What motivates someone to flatter? Either they respect the other persons position of authority, or they're selling something. They said they didn't come with a pretext for greed.
I might be bitter. But I could never imagine Skip calling out his congregation. Like really calling them out. I couldn't imagine Skip putting out a message that would potentially repel a long time tither...a customer. I feel like megachurches, including Calvary look at Christians as customers. They feed them with nice things. A nice building. A comfortable environment. A feel good story. An entertaining worship service.
People walk away feeling good, but not really challenged in any way.
People give their 10%--pay their dues. Trust the church will do something nice with it, then go on their way. This was me at one point. Maybe even today.
Is it okay for these guys to profit. To have giant salaries. They started the church. People attended. What's the difference between a mega church pastor that started a church plant and a small business owner who found success?
Churches don't pay taxes. That's one. I think the mission of the church is to love in their community. When money is the mission, it's lost. When a church goer is a customer, and not a fellow follower of Christ, I think the mission is lost.
So, here you have it.
Mothers nursing. Talking to Lindsey, she's told me it's a very special experience nursing. I remember three instances that were very special. The first time she nursed each of our three kids. Her face was pure joy and happiness. A face full of love.