Asking for money

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11/27/2013

Asking for money

By Charles Oberkehr

Originally posted Nov. 20, 2013, at Church Outloud. Republished with permission of the author.

Just sent out the stewardship letter today. End of the year. This Sunday is Christ the King.  

The rap on churches is “they’re always asking for money.” Turns people off. I guess I bought into that because “asking for money” has not been a particular strength or interest of mine. Maybe it’s part of the “oldest child” syndrome. It’s hard to ask for anything when you’re raised to be self-sufficient and independent.

Congregations tend to shy away from raising the issue of money, and a lot of other issues, afraid to alienate anyone. Keeping people quiet and calm and in the pews. Except, that hasn’t worked so well.

Still, we try to keep the lid on politics, issues of justice, equality, or anything controversial that might get people riled and excited. As if keeping people calm and compliant was a Christian teaching of the highest order. 

Isn’t faith, by definition, controversial? Isn’t obedience to the God of love a sure-fire recipe for push back from all the places in the world where love flies in the face of “business as usual”?

Was for Jesus. King of the Jews. King of all that was a laughing stock, broken, despised and contemptible. God’s chosen One.

Can we be disciples of Jesus and live irrelevant lives in communities that value everything bland and innocuous and avoid anything controversial? Especially when the heart of our faith demands of us: open minds, open hearts and open arms?

Faith is permission to ask for what we need, because faith requires us to be open to the needs of others. Even when it’s controversial. Especially when it’s controversial.

Faith is a whispered plea for pardon, improbably granted in a moment of utter forsakenness. “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

These are the moments our faith lifts up. This is where we are directed to look for meaning and peace.  

Faith is not a means of avoiding the unseemly, for tip-toeing around disagreement. Faith is a means of living authentically by living for others.

That in itself is the height of controversy.

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