I believe that the role of the Evangelical church is to help people to come to an awareness that the dominant narrative of greed, denial, anxiety, self sufficiency and so on will never give you what you want so come over to this world of trust, abundance and TRUTH TELLING, and that one will give what you want for safety and joy. If the church is faithful to that than our way of being in this world contradicts the way the world wants us to be. Now the problems is that most of us want to have it both ways but the scriptures tells us that nobody can't serve two masters. The church is a place where the covenant people gather around the God of the Gospel who is going to give you a different life. I find it hard to believe that buying mansions, not disclosing financial statement details such as the pastor's salary and so on it is far a part of the Gospel's world. By the way Tyler, DLP's comment was not taken out of context. To believe that Jesus was targeting the money changers at the temple by overthrowing their tables is to misunderstand the text. We as Christians know who the real targets were. If not ask Mr. Furtick, he knows.
Great article Erin! It baffles me how vocal Christian leaders can be when it comes to issues like gay marriage, abortion, etc. but when it comes to money... mum's the word. Jesus was unequivocally clear regarding his feelings about the rich. Why do so many Christians continue to ignore those parts of the Bible?
Sigh, if only you could reply directly to comments. DLP, your use of Matthew is so out of context...
1) Giving 10% goes all they way back to Genesis - "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.' " - Genesis 28: 20-22
2) Jesus came to fulfill the law and never spoke against this in any of the New Testament. Not to mention, the money changers weren't collecting tithes, but extorting pilgrims and the poor with over-priced livestock for the burnt offerings they needed.
3) Tithing is meant to sustain the entire church in all of its financial needs not just the salary of a pastor.
...Now, with all that being said. There is a history of independent, non-denominational churches running into issues for fraud and embezzlement because there is no true accountability structure or transparency. I love watching Elevation online and pray that they can change to a more open financial model. The work they are doing is really amazing and should not be overshadowed by stories like this.
The purpose of giving to the church is not to pay a pastor's salary and fund a pastor's unaudited (unlimited?) budget. Yes, the staff of the church needs to be paid, but the purpose of tithing is to fund the work of the church. And the allocation of those funds -- from paying the electricity bill, to funding community organizations, to helping people who are in distress -- is decided BY the church -- by the members of that congregation, who hold each other accountable. Not solely by a pastor. All is -- and should be -- transparent. I don't understand this cloak-and-dagger approach to Elevation's finances. Churches must avoid even the hint of impropriety -- to avoid creating the appearance of greed and further driving people away. Yes, some things need to remain confidential ie. donors who wish to remain anonymous. But a church's books should be without reproach.
Our pastors need not be paupers. What kind of people would we be if we demanded our ministers and their families live in poverty, and all of the stress and hardship that comes with that? I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. But -- Elevation's finances and pastor compensation reeks of excess and inappropriate boundaries, at the very least. It is very concerning and alarming for other churches, that this kind of behavior taints their mission and work.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves...
Think of that every time your pastor starts reminding you that God wants you to give the pastor 10% of your GROSS income.
I could be a Republican if I wanted to. Life has been good to me. I have adequate resources and very good health insurance. But my conscience just won't allow it. I actually care about people who are less fortunate. I know that some of them are just lazy and chose to be uneducated, but look carefully. Many of the people the Republicans despise are victims of circumstance. Many good jobs have been lost at the hands of politicians who think the answer to every problem is either a big tax break for rich people or a giant check written to a large corporation. Look at the value of homes that are being repossessed. Those are people who used to make decent money before something happened to pull the rug out from under them. Maybe next time it will be you...
Republicans subscribe to the delusion that wealth "trickles down" from the "producers" to the riff raff. Actually, the economy is driven by consumer spending. It flows UP from the people who have money and need a product or service. When consumers have no money, the economy crashes. And then the finger pointing starts, and almost everyone is wrong.
I wouldn't rule out State Treasurer Janet Cowell as a contender either!
Great article! However, the Democratic bench is much deeper than you let on. Don’t forget North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin as "an up-and-coming Democrat" (your words), whom D.G. Martin and other pundits have included on their short list of gubernatorial prospects in 2016 and 2020.
Not only has Goodwin won two statewide elections and served in the legislature, he is a better and more inspirational speaker than many of those you mentioned. Goodwin has also developed a populist, bipartisan appeal and he has a record of saving voters billions of dollars. Goodwin is also a proven, organized candidate.
Insurance Commissioner Goodwin is also a true North Carolina native, not the case among some of the political prospects mentioned by both major political parties in the state these days. Goodwin’s personal story is one that voters can – and will – relate to. Don’t count him out.
Since he's now a candidate for different office I'm sure he can live without the $150K the taxpayers are shelling out for him.
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Thanks for your comments, Juli. As you know, the full scope of Area 15 is far too rich to be boiled down into a single story. And while there are many stories to be told here, my focus was primarily on the individuals of the Free Store--including their apprehensions. I look forward to seeing this unique area evolve and I know many are appreciative of your input and sensitivity throughout the transition, as noted in the article.
As the owner of Pure Pizza, I really appreciate your article about the Free Store to bring citywide awareness to the great things that are happening at Area 15.
I also really enjoyed our conversation on the phone when you called to ask about us opening our second location in Optimist Park. However, I'm a little disappointed the article left out so much of the information we talked about. It's a little disheartening reading the article bc the slant could appear that our team is coming in to gentrify and displace the neighbors in the neighborhood. And that is absolutely not the case.
What was not mentioned in this article are a few things:
The community garden the Pure Pizza team started - It's not a garden for our purposes, but rather for the neighbors of Area 15. We have been weekly participants of the Sunday food distribution - which operates out of the Free Store kitchen currently - and the fall planting of lettuce, cabbage, kale & herbs will be used in the weekly meals served to the Sunday guest. We are also there on site on Sundays to serve the guests who come to eat at the gathering. And we are working with the group to ensure there is access to our kitchen on Sunday's once we occupy - as not to disrupt the weekly service event.
We have been bringing food donations weekly to the Free Store for the Men's Bible Study. And I'm there several days a week to help volunteer at both the Free Store and the Urban Prayer Room.
We've started conversations with the pastor if the Urban Prayer Rooms homeless ministry about providing work opportunities as we are moving towards opening.
Additionally, our goal in the spring is to work with our urban & local farming community to have a unique farmers market bc it is important to us is to bring access to fresh, local food to the Optimist Park food desert.
Lastly, the Free Store is literally moving 10 feet (2 doors down) on the same block - so while there may be a sentimental value to the "house" - the amazing concept & community and essence of the Free Store is not moving or changing.
Thank you again for the awareness of the Free Store - just wish the full store of the relationship between Pure Pizza, the Free Store & Area 15 was articulated.
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There should be ZERO government involvement in marriage. No license needed, no special privileges granted.
The "10 reasons" are laughable. Especially No. 10. You don't have the first bloody clue whether it offends God. Have you spoken to God and received his/her perspective on the matter?
This is a great article, Ana. It's stories like this that make journalism, good journalism, so powerful.
There are more than 10 Reasons Why Same-sex "marriage" is really wrong
For starters, see: http://dld.bz/bTrHW
this marriage was denied because the video was filmed vertically. Sooooo close!
what does the picture of the girl sleeping have anything to do with this?
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