When I grew up, I attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Montgomery, New York.
Incredibly small, very hard benches that made your butt sore, a chilly draft came in over the Virgin Mary’s right shoulder in the stained glass window, and the roof leaked when it rained.
When the collection basket was passed, the sound of coins dropping far outweighed the silent sound of dollar bills.
But the sermon always touched our lives in a very personal, Montgomery-centric way, and the priest knew us all by first name as we left the church.
In those days, the priest made the dinner circuit to parishioners homes, and he stayed for hours. And the conversations were far ranging, from politics to sports, but NEVER about other people.
For those of us who were poor, the church was at its best. In a very quiet way, the poor, and those who faced a more immediate disaster in life, found comfort from the church, which had little to offer financially, but ALWAYS DID ITS BEST.
And church functions always brought you together with families you loved, and kids you liked.
Never did we think that the church, with God’s approval, could make us rich!
Time Magazine conducted a survey and found that thirty one percent of Christians believed that if you gave God money, God would reward you with more money!
Wow! It’s the ultimate winning scratch off ticket.
But, you are asking, what about poor people who can’t afford to drop more than fifty cents in the basket?
Hey, sukkah, that’s the breaks! Ye shall remain poor, and God approves!
One thing my childhood church never taught me was that God loved the more prosperous among us more than the poor. And our community, TO A FAMILY, always lived their lives that way. And to be honest, Montgomery folk were incredibly decent with or without church in their lives.
Recently, mega minister Creflo Dollar, (Dollar! His chosen name should make you run!) has instructed his parishioners to plunk down major bucks so that he can purchase a very fancy shmancy SIXTY MILLION DOLLAR personal jet. His old jet is just not cutting it. Crap, and we struggled to come up with a few hundred bucks to fix the leaky roof on our church.
And Joel Osteen, he of the permanent greasy smile? You could fit a thousand of my dumpy little childhood churches into his gigantic stadium. So that little personal touch I spoke of with the priest greeting us all by first name after the service….perhaps not when you leave Joel’s chicken barbecue and ‘rake in the bucks’ bookstore.
In the last year or so, Joel’s ‘church’ suffered a robbery…the offerings from ONE weekend were stolen, an amount reported to be over six hundred thousand dollars! This does not include the bookstore or other sources of income! But not to worry, for Joel’s Church of Filthy Green, this was chump change.
If you had robbed my church’s box, there was a good chance that you would have felt sorry for us, and dropped an extra ten in the bin.
Perhaps when the Bible speaks of prosperity, it does not mean that I have twenties bulging out of my Christian pockets. Maybe it’s prosperity of the soul, or something like that.
I love when these ministerial phonies chummy up with celebrities and politicians. Gives them so much f’ing credibility. Always good to have a Kardashian blessing to smooth your path to prosperity heaven.
Pretty sure that the Montgomery Catholic Church is still trying to figure out a way to do away with the field mice (in a humane way) in the rectory, and scratch up a few bucks to take care of the Harrelson family after their house fire.
Let’s face it, isn’t that what its all about?