Wednesday, September 20, 2006

And God said let there be bling?

We’re jumping right in today, chil'ren...

A bitch was at the grocery store yesterday taking care of my food-based bitness. While waiting to check out, my ass scanned the display of magazines decorating the aisle.

A bitch's mind wandered a wee bit...

Blah, blah…is Martha Stewart trying to stress a bitch out or is it time for Halloween already?... blah, blah…is it me, or does John Mayer look like Tommy Gnosis?...and more blah followed by fall fashion blah blah followed by bullshit and ending with….

Does God Want You to Be Rich?

What the fuck?

The cover of Time Magazine questioned whether God wants folks to be rich. The story is apparently about the gospel of wealth and the growing theology of greed not being such a bad thing.

This bitch reads Newsweek, so that shit stayed on the shelf.

But the topic of mega-church preachers evangelizing the gospel according to Gordon Gekko?

Now that’s a very interesting topic...

This bitch grew up in a traditional Missionary Baptist Church. It was predominately black…the congregation was of varying levels of wealth...and the Pastor often had to address the issue of greed versus need versus faith in action.

And I recall that at the end of each service…every Sunday…the congregation sang a song that seemed to send us off in the spirit of giving rather than taking.

As you go, show the world and as you go, tell the world.

I was raised to understand that not everyone believes in God…and that a lot of people don’t believe in God because God’s chil’ren are the worst advertisement for a life of faith ever unleashed on the world.

I don’t know if God wants folks to be rich. This bitch chats with her all the time, but we don’t talk about shit like that.

But I do feel a call to stand up against injustice and hatred…to welcome those in need into my life and offer them what I am able to…to embrace the ill as I was once embraced…to help my neighbor without the expectation that she will help me…to participate in my community and not sit back bitching about it from afar as if I don’t live here too.

And somehow I find myself asking…what definition of rich are we using?

As you go, show the world…

Rich in friends…in love…in peace…in family…in knowledge…in laughter…or in bling?

And as you go, tell the world…

About God?

Or about the transformative power of material things?

And the church said show me the money...

9 comments:

kusala said...

I'm really curious to read this article. I find the different permutations of religion and faith in the modern world to be very, um... interesting. I don't want to jump to the conclusion that this whole "Gospel of Wealth" smells like total bullshit, but I'm wondering how this all gets reconciled with the camel passing through the eye of a needle thing.

Littlemilk said...

OK ABB,

I moved back home after being away for 17 years to see that we had expanded and built a mega church. The only problem is the congregation is the same, but the mortgage has gone up. It is a debt that will be left to my generation and those after us.

At my family church, we are a bit ultra-conservative for Missionary Baptist in Sunday service, but radical in our acts of up lifting the community (building a retirement center near our new red brick cathedral and keeping our uppity black behinds in the hood instead of moving over the river do come to mind).

I agree with you. This trend is pretty bad, and what is worse is that in the same southern city there is a black church with 15,000 members, 3 services every Sunday, and 3 different churches. What kills me about this is that the sermons are lacking in gravitas, biblical citations and radical calling. When I went to this MEGA CHURCH, the music was uplifting, but the sermon was like a Halmark card on how to get through struggle, and at the end of the sermon the C.F.O of the church got up and gave a financial report on the state of the coffers.

It was a little bit disturbing, but maybe there is something to be said about how people are used to receiving information as entertainment, without interacting.

I remember my grandmother was well versed enough in the bible to give me a play by play blow of what was on about the preaching and what she disagreed with in interpretation and why. I was always spellbound sitting next to her in her baby blue Caddy and white hat.

Akasha said...

This has long been the sermon of many ministers. I remember growing up and seeing people in congregations struggling to make ends meet, yt putting much money together to buy the minister a Cadillac. This opened my eyes and a critical thinker was born within me.

LBellatrix said...

You said: "I was raised to understand that not everyone believes in God…and that a lot of people don’t believe in God because God’s chil’ren are the worst advertisement for a life of faith ever unleashed on the world."

I absolutely believe in God. I just don't believe in religion. Too many religious people are the worst advertisement for a life of faith ever unleashed on the world. It only took a couple of years of various born-again friends and relatives trying to "save my soul for Jesus" to scare me off religion.

So this whole "wealth gospel" justification-for-being-rich bullshit doesn't surprise me because nothing these folks come up with surprises me.

~Macarena~ said...

Apparently, God rewards you in the currency of your land. What I despise about this idea is that it follows that, if you're poor, it's your fault. You must not believe, or you don't beleive strongly enough or you're not living faithfully. Otherwise, God would pay your ass.

Margaret said...

Personally I like pastors/ministers who have real jobs during the week. Like my own bags groceries and stocks the produce down at the Piggly Wiggly.

I have issues over the 10% clause, for at the moment we are barely bringing in $1000/mth and to give up $100 of it? Who are they kidding?

There is this great movie out now, called "Second Chance" that shines a lot of truth on this whole entire thing. Enter Rich big White Congregation and their sister church little black inner city congregation. That movie shined more light on the truth than that magazine article will ever do.

As a poor white trash I have found that there is truth in "Time is money". I don't have the bucks but I do have time. It shouldn't be about "showing me the money" but all about "showing me the love." Working with teens doesn't pay me a single cent - but seeing them get through school and the other shit against them - is priceless.

Enabling peeps with opportunity, love and acceptance makes them richer and in turn - will someday come full circle. And if it doesn't.... who cares. =O)

cats said...

there is a reason why jesus talks about money more than any other topic in the gospels... and it ain't about people getting rich.

belledame222 said...

You might find this interesting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_materialism

allaboutgeorge said...

Us Bay Area folks were Dollar signs last week. Must be a loose-Change thing.