Monday, September 05, 2005

Denominational Miseries

People all over the place are doing their best to help the victims of hurricane Katrina in whatever way possible. My church is no exception. One expects churches to donate money and goods to relief efforts wherever the need arises. One also expects churches to do so without bringing a hint of politics into the drive. My Pastor, in yesterday's sermon, delivered a message in which he denounced politicizing, as well as finger pointing in general, by those who wish to blame President Bush, FEMA, or whoever else, for either causing the storm, failing to prevent the damage, or supposed slow response to the crisis. Right now the important thing to do is to help.

The denomination with which my church is affiliated is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or ELCA for short. I sometimes wonder whether the EL in ELCA doesn't stand for "Execrable Leftist". Printed inside of the church bulletin was a sermonette from a few years ago. The title was "Guidelines for Giving from the New Testament". "Sounds inspiring," I thought, before reading it. The very first line:

You really couldn't blame them. It was the 1980s after all. Excess was in.

No need to read any further (although I did). I get the message loud and clear. This was a thinly-veiled attack on Ronald Reagan. Leftist rhetoric about the so-called "decade of greed" became tiresome years ago, and I was very disappointed to see it pop up in my church bulletin. The rest of the message was just fine -- a family with more money than they could manage found themselves in financial dire straits and turned to the church for guidance. It could happen to anybody at any time, but the preacher who wrote this lesson chose to start it off with an unmistakable political barb.

It's enough to make me stop giving directly to the denomination (my membership "dues", if you will) and saving my offering money for charities and special ministries. But not just yet.

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