I got a great few questions that I thought I would throw up here. Perhaps it may clear up the last few entries, which admittedly, could be viewed as harsh. (the questions are in italics)
"Now if I understand the "Current Situation" blog correctly you are trying to raise money for Campus Crusades but in these hard economic times it is difficult and you are relying on a few churches and select people to keep it up. And that you seek their help both financially and preyerfully."
Right! Well, sort've. Essentially we're asking people to consider 'sponsoring' us. We're a non-profit organization, and the way those work are they rely on funding from outside people to provide for the business. All NPO's work that way. We sit down with people and churches and explain our ministry, plan, and heart behind what we do. We then ask if it's something they'd like to give to (or invest in).
"And that also God seems distant during these hard times. And the reply above mine leaves a quote about building with gold, a monetary tool, instead of hay and wood. Now this quote to me seems a little contradictory since you are seeking funds to do your ministry and wondering where gods help is when the funds are low and despair has set in. Will this not be a judgement passed upon you when that day comes then? "
This is a good question. However, we're not raising our funds for our ministry to "make a buck." Sure, through our financial partners we will have a salary, but just to give you a point of reference, our entire family will be bringing in around $30,000 annually; I'm sure you'd agree that we're definitely not in this for the money! The judgment would be on me if we were in despair due to a lack of surplus money, but on the contrary, our despair is wondering whether we will be able to raise the funds necessary to allow us to do ministry at all. Notice the difference? Now, we will be held accountable for that despair also, and in my blog I definitely was not trying to convey that lacking a trust in God's provision is a good thing. I think Bill's judgment was on others because he understands that we make very little. He was saying it's sad that people would rather horde their gold than give to something that will last for eternity. Make sense?
"Now my second question pertains to the blog called "faith vs. religion pt 2." Here you speak of people who pray for a good job and sickness. Now getting a good job is something I agree can be done on your own without God's help. But I also see prayning for this as a persons way of finding the strength to maintain in these hard economic times such as you are doing when you try to find funding for your minstry. Does the churches financial problems out weigh the average JOe's problems."
Prayer for a job is a great and necessary thing. I definitely did not mean to imply it was not, for the average Joe or for Pastor Joe. I was trying to say prayer for selfish reasons is near valueless. Note the word near. And part of your question I would challenge: when you say "finding the strength to maintain..." I would say it is that type of prayer that has very little value. We must never use God, or prayer, as a means to "feel good" or "find strength." It was those selfish ends that I was trying to address. Again, the difference is subtle, but do you see it?
"And if so then who is the church designed to help besides those with money. The churches you reach out to are for both prayer and funding. Is that not somewhat hypocritical of the first blog I mentioned."
I hope the above comments cleared up these questions. We do ask for prayer that our financial support would come in, but, again, it is not to be prosperous, but to live. Additionally, the prayer partners we try to raise (we hope and encourage anyways) spend very little time praying for our support, and the majority praying for students at OSU and around the world.
"Now as far as praying for someones health, I do not think their is one single thing wrong with that. You are the company you keep. I rarely pray, but when I do, I do it because it is something that is out of my control, such as cancer, and am seeking some help or guidance. Would you not put a sick friend or family memeber in your prayers everyday if they were sick and dying. Or would you just consider them to be a lost cause or going to a better place? If someone feels that praying for someones health is what cures them should they not utilize this for their own comfort at least?"
Prayer for health is a necessary and great thing! Again, I definitely did not wish to imply otherwise. I would pray for a sick family member every day. My advice was to not let that be the entirety of my prayer. And my advice was to caution against selfish prayers. Yes pray, because to do so is to be obedient. Let's not make God a genie lamp that we rub everytime we need to feel better was all i was trying to say. Again, please let me know if that doesn't make sense.
Man I was excited about these questions! I wish everyone would take the time to consider things like this. And on that note, everyone please read this comment to me also from people I admire a great deal. They quote a book I love and share a sentiment that beats deeply within my heart. My apologies that is was not conveyed (perhaps a knock on my writing talent!) re: Faith v. religion
I think of the first page in Philip Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace?" where the prostitute wanted to know where to go and when advised to go to church, she was horrified and said, "That's the last place I would go." I would love for our churches to be safe places where people "come as they are" ... whether or not they are certain or doubtful about their faith.
I know that your line "Go to church because you believe it to be true or you're a lying hypocrite before you even walk in the door" was intended for those who SAY they are believers but aren't walking the talk. But I have friends who are afraid to go to church because they don't yet believe it to be true ... but would like to learn more. COME. Don't hesitate ...come as you are ... bring your questions, doubts, frustrations about God, etc ... God is not afraid of them, He wants to hear them and walk you through them. "Believing Christianity to be true" is NOT a prerequisite for coming to church. I know you added the tag that it's also for curious people. I'm glad ... one of my desires is that people feel safe to explore their beliefs at church (as opposed to alienated because they don't feel like they have their ducks all in a row).