Monday, September 23, 2013

That was disappointing

I went to church on Sunday because I was upset. Gun violence at the Navy Yard. Gun violence in my backyard. I needed to put the violence in some context. I wanted to learn how to cope and move on without becoming insensitive to or dismissive of these ugly events.

My minister really let me down.

Yesterday was, unfortunately, the start of the first-ever "Capital Campaign." The building we worship in is too small for our burgeoning congregation and it needs a lot of work. I get that.

I didn't want to hear about the change in our fiscal year, about the differences between what I put in the plate and my pledge to the annual fund and now my prospective contribution to the Capital Campaign. I didn't need to hear from two congregants, explaining why they felt the Capital Campaign is just as important as the annual fund.

I needed to hear how to handle 16 shots being fired by an assault rifle into a pick up basketball game less than 15 miles from my church.

I get that there were events planned for us after the service. A day at the park, with a barbecue and ice cream stand and games for children. All planned months in advance to kick off the Capital Campaign. I'm not proposing that any of that be cancelled.

But beyond -- literally -- two sentences from the pulpit, last week's shooting should have been addressed.

I suspect that it matters that the violence last Thursday was completely gang related, and that if you don't know The Gangster Disciples or The Black P Stone Nation, or aren't unfortunate enough to live in that community, it's easier to be distracted by a cookout and balloons and the prospect of a new air conditioning system.

But I expect better from my minister.

While the kids involved in the shooting may be a lifestyle away from us, they are, quite literally, our neighbors.

This is weighing heavily on me. I now don't want to support their fucking Capital Campaign. I won't commit, one way or the other, though, until I cool off.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. The sensitivity to what's *really* going on out there. I'm Catholic. That darn Capital Campaign drives me nuts! I u dersand but entirely the wrong focus at the present time.

  2. It sounds very disappointing! I hope your minister is the kind that you can voice your concerns to. He was legitimately thoughtless.

    Also a good idea to sleep on your decision about the Capital Campaign. Good works are good works, even in this context. But you're right that it's very off-putting.

  3. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4 NIV

    I have to fall back on God's word when man fails me, which most of the time man does.
    Hold fast to the word of God, he will never let you down.

  4. Anonymous5:45 PM

    . . . and this very thing is one of the reasons why I haven't attended church in years.

  5. Exactly one of the reasons I have so much trouble with 'organized religion' Why is it that they are usually more interested in money. I believe in God. I send my grandkids to church to learn about God. I don't need them to constantly talk about how much money they need. Great post!

  6. "organized religion" what is that?
    I am always confused when i hear those words. The church I attend doesn't harp on "money" if you want to give okay, give.
    As a christian I am not worried about what i give to support my church, the programs we fund and yes I do give my 10% and more. Why, because I want the church to grow, reach the non believers and to try and do some good in our community.
    Church isn't about the people, it is a place to go and worship God, it is a place to heal, a place to put me last..if you go for another reason, "I say" it is wrong.
    It isn't about "you" it is about "God".
    Yes, I defend the church and if you don't agree, I am okay. But when you make remarks about the church and the money they need, i am going to speak up.
    nothing we have is ours, God provides for all we need. American's are so selfish!!
    Gal, sorry for the rant.

  7. I am with you on this one as well, Gal. Timing is important and how they can deny what is right down the street (give or take) is short-sighted at best.

    Edwene Gaines (an amazing woman!) discusses tithing as giving to where we get our spiritual food. Do you receive that spiritual food (however you define it) from this church? If so, consider an offering. If not, perhaps give some thought as to where you DO get sustenance (can be anywhere or any person) and give that money thusly.

    Just my .02


  8. I think he really let you down too. While I'm an atheist, it's a personal choice, one that I don't put on other people. I believe he should have put off the "capital campaign" and addressed the shooting. Especially since it was so close to home. Have you thought about calling him and letting him know that he let you down? I'll be others were seeking what you sought, and were let down as well. Just a thought.