Friday, May 13, 2011

Travel Stats Continue

Just a quick update on the travel itinerary of the Young Pastoral Elite. In the last month they've crossed the sea to attend ministry related functions having to do with Hillsong. Opportunity has presented itself on the coattails of the enviably popular cousin who is included in the speaker lineup for the Hillsong conferences. I guess they aren't too proud to tag along with their infamous Cosmopolitan Cousin. (How can they stand the subtle gloating and attitude of specialness??)

But meanwhile, back at the home front, the people who are invariably funding these 'ministry missions' are scraping by, paycheck to paycheck, actually working for a living (concept). Some of them losing houses, some having to pay huge tax bills. I wonder what the travel itinerary of the typical ordinary parishioner looks like? Sad to say, most of them are too busy working or, if they do travel beyond their allotted vacation time, it's for an unglamorous work trip.

To those who don't see the error of using funds from a 501 3 c organization (i.e. with tax exempt status) for global galavanting, my ranting may sound like jealousy. If my friends and I were to entertain jealous thoughts, our feelings immediately give way to outrage. We are appalled that this church does not see that what they are doing is any different than what a former Boise Mayor spent jail time over which was using government money to take his employees on nice trips. What's even more incredulous is the people don't see the correlation and think this is all ok!

This is not a jealous rant, this is a reality check. But in the spirit of a true reality check, I must admit life is unfair and justice is painfully slow going. Year after year we watch the church across town revel in their delusion that they are highly blessed of God because they go on so many trips (which include shopping sprees to Harrods and I'm sure the hottest boutique in Paris). How could it not be a blessing from God when they are ushered into the presence of what they deem as greatness or walk the floors where Royals walk?

But in reality, what IS happening? All of the above is funded with the money that hard-working ordinary Americans tithe to the church every week to keep the church afloat, for the work of the ministry. I doubt they designate their offerings to fund global treks to the latest Megachurch conference with a little shopping thrown in.

Why do the people continue to pay the tithe? Is it they are waiting for God to bless them like he seems to be blessing their leaders? They've been taught, by their leaders, that blessing begins at the 'top' and trickles down. Nevermind the scriptures about leadership being 'the servant of all' or 'the first shall be last, the last shall be first'. That hardly factors in - besides, it would interupt the wonderful cashflow.

If only God would remove the scales from the eyes of the people so they can see the truth for what it is - that they are the ones enabling the dysfunction. The Pastoral Elite will continue to travel on the dime of their church as long as the funds are available to be used at their discretion and pave the way for such glorious living.

Doesn't scripture infer that God will recognize those who gave a drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, clothing and shelter to the poor, taking care of widows and orphans and even prisoners? Do you think he will be interested in the travel itinerary of the rich and famous then? Just wondering...

Yes, God will ask the Pastoral Elite to give an account one day, just as he will ask us all to give an account. But, human nature being what it is, we commoners sure wish they'd have to give an account before then. Can we hope for justice on this side of heaven? I hope God will forgive any wrong motive on our part and consider that a prayer.


IndiVidual said...

Since this post the tour took them to Israel then back to the states for a quick trip to Disney World.

Just saw someone mention "are you ever home? reading your tweets makes me want to jump on a plane."

My question is will they ever put 2 and 2 together and figure out who is paying for the wonderful global excursions?

NoJoke said...

Alas, their latest rambling is back from Florida to the left coast in LA and Palm Springs.

This may be a vacation and I don't bemoan anyone a family vaca. However, if you are going to take a 3-year old to Disney why not tour the land closest to your destination? After all, Disney World, where you just were, is in Florida and now you are in LA shopping on Rodeo Drive.

Tell me something, Highly Favored Ones, (i.e. your opportunities only exist because you have access to what should be labeled designated funds) do you even realize that you aren't exactly using that church tithe money wisely? Why not take your child to DisneyLand which is close in proximity to wherever you are staying in L.A.? Are your flights and motels free and if not, what kind of stewards does that make you?

Oh, that's right, you are the types that feel it's eithical to travel travel travel all year long instead of funneling the weekly tithe and offering money back into the (501 3 C) non-profit organization you claim to be. Silly me, I forget so quickly.

The rest of the world pays for their own vacations without access to a weekly flow of ministry money. Maybe you pay for your excursions with your weekly paycheck but just where does your paycheck come from? The money trail begins with those who give financial gifts - donations - to your church every week to run the ministry. Even though you may do the work of the ministry part-time (full-time would mean at least a 40-hour week), my guess is those donors, who obviously trust you, would be pretty disappointed and upset if they truly understood they are funding your privileged lifestyle. (It's certainly what caused US some major disenchantment.) Furthermore, if you are allowed the benefit of writing off each of your family homes each as a parsonage then you shouldn't be abusing your tax exempt status in such obvious ways. It goes without saying that as a Christian you shouldn't be doing it in clandestine ways either.