Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Stuffing

(In continuing my Thursday Thankfuls, I would like to point out that friend Janet lists 50 things she is thankful for every month. Wowza.)

Today I am thankful for stuff.

Cath and I recently gave away a lot of our stuff in preparation for our move.

What struck me most in that process is that we could afford to give away so much stuff. We have been over-stuffed with stuff, to the point that we didn’t need all that stuff anymore.

Which is a deeply felt reminder of how good G-d is to us, especially in such hard economic times. (Any of y’all watching SECRET MILLIONAIRE?)

The real key to looking at stuff is to know that the blessing of stuff is a side blessing, and not a central blessing.

I’ve been thinking about that since Phil Cooke (The Change Revolution) used the proposed demise of the Prosperity Gospel reign as a conversation starter.

For those of you who aren’t aware, the Prosperity Gospel is the teaching that runs the world of televangelism. The notion goes like this: if you give to G-d, G-d will turn around and bless you with boat loads of money.

There are a lot of scriptures backing up at least the essence of this teaching: G-d does make it clear that he will bless his children.

But I find any preacher or church that focuses on the Prosperity angle to be insidious, primarily for two deviations from Christ-like-ness that they incorporate.

First, every ministry that focuses on Prosperity will tell you that “giving to G-d” means (and only means) giving to that ministry or minister.

Flip the channels and you can easily find a preacher saying, “Send me your checks, and I will pray over them, and G-d will send you wealth.”

You will never find a Prosperity Gospel preacher saying, “Send World Vision or the American Red Cross your checks, and I will pray for you, and G-d will send you wealth.”

In other words, the prosperity Gospel is a fundraising tool with a specific, single function: making money.

Now there are all kinds of justifications for this: ministries need money, the ministry does all kinds of good things, etc.

Fine. Just stop using the word “Gospel,” because it really isn’t good news.

Which brings me to the important error in the philosophy…

To be continued.

Just my thoughts,



David Goulet said...

The Prosperity Gospel is good news -- but only if you're the snakeoil salesman running the con. A pox on them all.

One side question, how come you use the Jewish hyphenation for the Big G.? Just curious.

Gaffney said...

In full disclosure, I deleted a comment to this post. It was an ad to a get rich quick scheme. Oh, the irony.

David -- I found that I was falling into the cultural casual use of the word "God." The dash is a discipline I am hoping will cause me to not treat the name so vainly.