This post originally appeared on April 24, 2011, but I’ve been thinking about this again, so it seemed like a good time to repost it.
(Warning: This post may be offensive. This is something that has been weighing on my heart, and it’s not a glittery subject. Please comment if you have something to add, say, disagree with, etc. I look forward to and welcome all comments.)
This is an image in my head, not a real event:
“Offices of such and such church, so and so speaking.”
“Yes, hi. I’d like to buy a ticket to faith please.”
“Okay, that’s $10 a ticket and the event is Friday at 7 PM.”
“Okay, here’s my CC #”
After hanging up the phone, I turn to announce to my husband that I have just purchased two tickets to faith, and should, on Friday, be turned into a better Christian. This should sound good to him, being a better Christian would in turn, make me a better wife. The week passes, and I arrive to receive my purchased faith. I go in, get some sort of handout, pamphlet, book, something to show for my time. Then I sit and listen. I listen to some speaker comment on the book they wrote, or even better, a book someone else wrote. Sometimes they comment on someone elses comments about something someone else wrote. By the time my two hours is up, I’m not sure what scripture has been talked about, but I get a gold star for attendance, right? Another event is marketed, and I buy that ticket to faith. Upon arriving home, my purchase has made little impact in my life, and my husband can’t see a difference.
How often is this the case? With so many “bible” studies that come with a ticket price, and someone commenting on a book they wrote, or someone else’s book, isn’t it like trying to buy faith? Yes, I’d like the $10 plate today. Any chance you’d add an extra scoop? My faith is waning. It’s a funny image, then again, it’s not so funny. Faith can’t be bought and sold. I cannot sell you faith. And Christianity is just the next business opportunity. We sell Christianity like a gold-star, like a team t-shirt, like a fad diet. Here, come try this! It’s only $10. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. I can’t find any reference to Jesus charging people to hear him speak. Or how about the disciples? You think that Matthew stood at the door selling tickets, while Peter preached? Think again. That’s not how it was. The message of salvation is free. The healing, hope, peace, and faith that only God can give us, is free for us. I can’t sell you faith. I can’t buy my faith.
Now, am I speaking out against public speaking? Sharing wisdom? Writing? No. In fact, I love to write. And I hope to publish a book. I even am interested in speaking on matters of faith. I know publishing isn’t free, and I’m not against book sales in certain ways. Such as…bookstores? Amazon?
This trend needs to be reversed. When a study is offered, it should be from the Bible. We should study the bible together, read the Word together, pray together. And you shouldn’t have to pay to take part in that. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I believe that we help one another grow. I think that we should accept Godly counsel, and we should let other people speak into our lives. More importantly, we should let God speak into our lives, and we should seek Him and who He would have us listen to. Obviously the example given us in the gospel is that Jesus & His disciples spoke. They spoke in small meetings and large. They shared the gospel. They wrote letters. They encouraged, and even corrected. Yet, I don’t see any account of them charging people to hear the message they had.
(Final note: this is not about tithing, either. Tithing is biblical, and we should all be doing it. I will have a follow up post about tithing, and forgiveness.)