The church should not have a budget if it actually gave 100% of its tithes to the widows and orphans - EXACTLY - how it was written in the scriptures and practiced by the early Christians.Then who was getting the support that St. Paul refused, when he made a big deal of being self-supporting?
The early Christians practiced in tombs and later homes. They did not need a budget.
You know that they only did this because they were liable to be arrested and imprisoned? As soon as they could, and very early on, they had dedicated and beautiful places for gathering for worship.
But even then, most of the churches were supported by government funds anyway.
Look, this will start a hailstorm of issues. But formulates what I have posted in other threads.
Mostly the "beautiful" large churches were built post Constantine (who I believe is not saintly compared to other saints). After "legalization" much exploitation of money occurred in church funds.
Mostly 1st and 2nd Century Christians did meet in homes/tombs, did contribute tithes to helping widows and orphans.
I have no problem saying that the gold laden churches exploited money.
Orthodoxy is very vexing in this. I've seen dedicated Orthodox hermits who lived in caves who just wanted to be simple and pray for their lives... I've seen simple churches set up (arguably much more beautiful this way). I've also seen churches that were so wealthy, gold plating on iconostasis and solid gold crosses were used.
I do not believe that all EO churches exploit their money, however, unfortunately, I do believe most of you would not argue that in tradition of the early Christians, the church has exploited some.
There is a wonderful OCA convent in Kemp, TX... Modest. I think the nuns there are very kind and nice. They live a simple life. Though yes they have a building and a church (which I don't think is wrong btw), I do not think it goes too far. It's just modest. Nothing wrong with it. No gold everything.... They run a large garden to keep costs down.
What confuses me most of all, is that the EO praises the monastics so much.... -> Then live like them more.
Church budget is one of those things that has smacked me around a lot on the EO church... Sorry if I went off topic on this some... Every time I think I'm sealing the deal and will walk away from EO for sure, I go back to the monasteries... Mostly Humble. Simple. Budgeted. Not exploitive.