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Author Topic: Why beautify our churches instead of giving to the poor?  (Read 3559 times) Average Rating: 0
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yeshuaisiam
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« Reply #45 on: May 25, 2011, 11:01:49 PM »

Just a thought: if no one gave to the church, the church would be poor, and couldn't do anything.  Huh I have said this before, but many churches in turn give some of their resources to the poor. A person can make room for different things in his or her choice of giving. Volunteers can also help the church, thereby saving money.  Smiley  People can donate new or gently used materials to the church; my parish has developed a modest lending library this way. Every time I go to the office, somebody's always running around with a table or cloths or cups for the next dinner.  Smiley  It is not necessary to buy the most expensive icons only; I think I've seen a post by Irish Hermit which showed large paper print icons in one church, and they looked as good as any others. There are different ways to accomplish things.

Well, churches need VERY little money to function. As for sacraments, that comes basically free.   

Usually I would say the fellowship is more expensive.   Especially if the church members are capable of supplying the needs of the church.  Such as bakers, bee keepers (wax), etc.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2011, 09:31:44 AM »

Quote from: yeshuaisiam link=topic=34297.msg576429#msg576429
Question, so why does Jesus Christ say "You can't serve God & Money" (new covenant),
Actually, He doesn't. What He does say is You cannot serve God and Mammon, which is defined as greed.

Quote
yet in order to bring Gold into the church, and fine linens, you obviously need money.  Jesus in the new covenant taught the rich man to basically give what he has to the poor and to "follow him".

But I can get badger skins pretty cheap, but I'd have to skin them. Goat hair I can get for free outside.  Ram skin I have no idea where I can get that.  But anyway, when I get this stuff is it okay to give it all to a priest to put on the altar?  Since God wants that stuff I think it would be bad not to give it to him.

Don't be silly. The point is, (as I'm pretty sure you know, though I can't for the life of me figure out why you want to waste time - in a discussion you started - by being deliberately obtuse) that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with beautiful churches or with money, for that matter. In Exodus, which is also part of Holy Scripture, God is apparently concerned about the beauty of His house. Now, is this for His benefit or for ours? My guess is ours.

You just have a different personal preference and a different opinion about what a church should look like. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not necessarily supported by Scripture or history, and it's somewhat disingenuous to pretend that it is.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 09:33:48 AM by katherineofdixie » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2011, 09:37:40 AM »

Well, churches need VERY little money to function. As for sacraments, that comes basically free. 

Seriously? Have you served on a parish council or board lately? Have you seen the utility bills? The insurance? Not to mention the priest's salary, FICA and health insurance?
Welcome to the real world.
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« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2011, 09:55:24 AM »

Well, churches need VERY little money to function. As for sacraments, that comes basically free. 

Seriously? Have you served on a parish council or board lately? Have you seen the utility bills? The insurance? Not to mention the priest's salary, FICA and health insurance?
Welcome to the real world.

Exactly. Our parish pays about $100,000 per year JUST FOR THE POWER BILL.  The total budget for this year is about $1M, and that's totally bare bones.

Quote
Usually I would say the fellowship is more expensive.   
Of our budget, less than 10% pays for anything having to do with fellowship (and that's pretty much all for the youth).  The vast majority is utilities and salaries. 


Quote
Especially if the church members are capable of supplying the needs of the church.  Such as bakers, bee keepers (wax), etc.
Really?  We are blessed to have parishioners in almost every line of work needed within the parish (except bee keeping, apparently).  They are extremely generous and do things for free or for discounted prices (even with a generous discount our new air conditioning unit is going to cost upwards of $500,000!).  And yet, we still need $1M a year just to function. And that's not even accounting for all the things we'd LIKE to be able to do! 

Sorry, my friend, but it costs a LOT of money to run a parish these days.

Personally, I think this conversation has descended into the ridiculous.  There is no reason that we cannot have beautiful churches AND minister to the needy and the poor.  We're SUPPOSED to do both.  If we're too cheap to cough up enough to do both, then that's a spiritual failing on our part.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2011, 11:35:33 AM »

Personally, I think this conversation has descended into the ridiculous.  There is no reason that we cannot have beautiful churches AND minister to the needy and the poor.  We're SUPPOSED to do both.  If we're too cheap to cough up enough to do both, then that's a spiritual failing on our part.

I agree.


And I was reminded of this: But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” - John 12:4-5
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« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2011, 11:35:50 AM »

It is a common practice in Britain for Evangelical churches to tithe their annual income - that is to give away 10% of the total that comes in. This is usually done on a quarterly or annual basis, when income is totted up and a number of cheques distributed to the recipients. Is this what Orthodox (or other American) churches do?

Mainly, this giving goes to "spiritual" rather than humanitarian work, though the "spiritual" may well include such compassionate ministries as orphanages run by Christians.
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« Reply #51 on: May 26, 2011, 12:12:42 PM »

Quote
I have found that the beautiful adornments of our Orthodox Churches, the radiant vestments, the gold chalices, etc., are often a shock to Protestants, particularly those “Evangelicals” who are particularly iconoclastic and may pride themselves over such iconoclasm.  The popular and widely attended “mega churches” today are often set up as auditoriums without even an image of the cross present, just to emphasize that, according to them, such things aren’t “necessary” for salvation.


have you read St. Dionysius and the Theology of Beauty.  Beauty draws us all closer to the Divine Creator, the origin  of all beauty.
Yes, we need to give to charities to help the poor but not at the expense of stripping our churches of beauty.  Both charity and beauty are needed.
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« Reply #52 on: May 26, 2011, 01:17:52 PM »

Both charity and beauty are needed.

Exactly.
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« Reply #53 on: May 26, 2011, 04:02:02 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Well, churches need VERY little money to function. As for sacraments, that comes basically free. 

Seriously? Have you served on a parish council or board lately? Have you seen the utility bills? The insurance? Not to mention the priest's salary, FICA and health insurance?
Welcome to the real world.

Exactly. Our parish pays about $100,000 per year JUST FOR THE POWER BILL.  The total budget for this year is about $1M, and that's totally bare bones.

Well, churches need VERY little money to function. As for sacraments, that comes basically free.

Seriously? Have you served on a parish council or board lately? Have you seen the utility bills? The insurance? Not to mention the priest's salary, FICA and health insurance?
Welcome to the real world.

Quote
Usually I would say the fellowship is more expensive.   
Of our budget, less than 10% pays for anything having to do with fellowship (and that's pretty much all for the youth).  The vast majority is utilities and salaries. 


Quote
Especially if the church members are capable of supplying the needs of the church.  Such as bakers, bee keepers (wax), etc.
Really?  We are blessed to have parishioners in almost every line of work needed within the parish (except bee keeping, apparently).  They are extremely generous and do things for free or for discounted prices (even with a generous discount our new air conditioning unit is going to cost upwards of $500,000!).  And yet, we still need $1M a year just to function. And that's not even accounting for all the things we'd LIKE to be able to do! 

Sorry, my friend, but it costs a LOT of money to run a parish these days.

Personally, I think this conversation has descended into the ridiculous.  There is no reason that we cannot have beautiful churches AND minister to the needy and the poor.  We're SUPPOSED to do both.  If we're too cheap to cough up enough to do both, then that's a spiritual failing on our part.

Thank you! I was waiting for someone to step in there and pinch hit on this one.. Churches have ALWAYS been expensive institutions to run, Lord Have His Mercy, even in medieval eras in rural parishes just the sacramental flour and wine required considerable effort for the parishioners to be able to contribute for their Divine Liturgies, aside from also having to maintain the living for the necessarily celebrant priests and deacons (and hopefully even a school teacher for the kiddies) and all this were the obligatory tithes to maintain the worship cycles of the Orthodox Church.  Let alone the modern version of this as has been mentioned above with utilities/maintenance/insurance/salaries/charities/celebrations the costs for even a medium size parish of a few hundred can easily run into the millions, let alone the costs of building a church complex from scratch!

This is how the economy of the Church operates, we parishioners gather the financial fruits of our labors and efforts in the day to day world and contribute a portion of these towards the maintenance of our spiritual life as well through the Church.  This is more so an opportunity to enter into the economy of the Divine rather than a mere obligation, and it is part and parcel in connection with our charity as well.  It is simply not an either/or issue, they are deeply interconnected.  For example, say the Church gives up ALL its resources to feed the poor, inevitably there will still be more poor to feed, and yet there will be no Churches to feed them spiritual food for Eternal Life and to offer a place of Grace to cool our heels and lick our wounds from our day to day lives.  Where will the Divine Mysteries come from then, who will preserve and administer them if not the Church in the Grace of God through our own sanctified efforts?  It is as Christ said, "What is more holy, the offering or the Altar which sanctifies the offering?" (Matthew 23) 

Stay blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #54 on: May 27, 2011, 09:19:07 AM »

It seems to me that there is an equal and opposite question.

A few posts ago I attached a photograph of an Orthodox church at Briki (Greece), in which I for one see beauty and where I would be pleased to pray. A few miles along the road, outside the village of Drialos, is the Orthodox church of St Peter (O Agios Petros), and because my wife and I like visiting old churches, we went inside. We were gravely disappointed! It is still in use - as evidenced by the usual artifacts like candles, oil, etc.. But the whole church stank; mold was growing up the walls; the frescoes were peeling off. In short, it was a place of neglect and decay - but not a disused church falling into ruin.

Now this was Greece, one of the heartlands of Orthodoxy. We were puzzled as to why the local people, who use the church, should allow it to fall into such a distasteful and disgraceful condition. I am not really even talking about expense, for it would cost little more than some manual effort to clean it and freshen it up.

Can anyone explain this to me?
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« Reply #55 on: May 27, 2011, 09:35:52 AM »

Can anyone explain this to me?

Not really. It's one church in a small village in Greece. Who knows why? Perhaps the population is aged, perhaps there is no money, perhaps there is no regular priest. There could be any number of reasons.

After all, would you be able to tell us why the roof wasn't repaired on a small evangelical church in Sussex, without talking to the parishioners or the pastor?
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« Reply #56 on: May 27, 2011, 04:26:13 PM »

In response to above concerning church budgets, visit my home of Lynchburg VA....tell you what just look it up...see what I call the mountain of power (IE Thulsa Doom's mountain from Conan). Its the falwell empire.

Basically, I can say that many mega-churches do have literally millions at their disposal because many either are ran as a business, or have businesses attached to them (book stores, clothiers, heck...even whole colleges).

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

yeah, seriously....

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« Reply #57 on: May 28, 2011, 04:33:18 AM »

would you be able to tell us why the roof wasn't repaired on a small evangelical church in Sussex, ...?

Let us assume it was an independent church, or Baptist, or Congregationalist, because in these churches the local members are responsible for upkeep of the building. In some denominations (e.g. Methodist) the denomination central body has authority.) The chapel is owned by the legal trustees, who can be individuals, or a denominational body (such as the Baptist Union), but they are not usually involved unless the decision is taken to sell the building, or perhaps to build an extension. Then recall that, as a whole, England (where Sussex is, and where I used to live) has turned its back on God and prefers to live without him. I have read that about 2% of the population go to church frequently. This means that the upkeep of a lot of chapels is in the hands of a handful of loyal old people living off meagre pensions. Some years ago I read that the average Baptist church has 25 members; seeing there are some large thriving ones, this means there are lots which now have congregations of half a dozen people, all aged 60, 70 or older. That is why the roofs and other parts of the buildings are so often not maintained. It is, I think, a very different scenario from Greece, where Orthodoxy is so much part and parcel of the culture, and where the churches are cherished and loved. That was what mystified my wife and me when we stopped on our way to Drialos and went to look at (and in) the church "tou Agiou Petrou".

Perhaps I should have put this on the thread "An Outsider's Impressions of Orthodoxy", but it is not an impression so much as a question from one baffled.

« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 04:45:59 AM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: May 28, 2011, 05:58:25 AM »

It is, I think, a very different scenario from Greece, where Orthodoxy is so much part and parcel of the culture, and where the churches are cherished and loved.

You may be surprised at just how little the average Greek cares about Christ -- I am not saying that in judgment but by way of explanation.

Thank God for those who are on fire for his truth.
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« Reply #59 on: June 03, 2011, 09:46:22 AM »

In some parts of the world the church or synagogue might be the only beauty the poor have access to. Also, the articles that add beauty to worship are one time expenses; if you sold a gold blessing cross or a silver Torah crown you might feed some for a day, but after thta money's gone they'll still need help and the ornaments will be gone.

Have you been reading Maxim Gorky by chance?  In one of his books he says just that.  As a poor boy going into the church was the only beautiful sight in his miserable existence in late 19th century Russia.
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