Church and Christ

Where money is involved there will never be a unified church, or a unified community of Christians.

That’s, I suppose, the trouble with tithing. We give money, but there’s always the group of people who receive the money, and the group of people in charge of doing something with that money. In the earliest Christian communities, tithes went to help the poor and needy. So, there wasn’t the financial control, as much. If they were poor, they received money from those who were not poor. I guess this can bring with it its own forms of control, dominating the oppressed through the giving or withholding of funds. But that’s why it was open giving.

Now, tithes go into often vast budgets, and people gain power and influence in the church by their giving or by their control over who gets the money for which program or which building project. Giving large funds is often the easiest path to significant influence, even if there’s not an accompanying spiritual depth or maturity, leading the church to increasingly become distorted by money, hardening the lines and causing disruptions. As long as money and power are at the center of an ecclesiology — an understanding of the church — no one will concede. We seek power and money, trying to take advantage of our supposed rights. Rather than following the example of Christ, who did not see power something to be taken advantage of, but made himself a servant, for the poor. He let go so that he could build a new community.

We try to take up power to build up communities. And our communities suffer for it. Because of the money.

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