Friday, August 15, 2008

Can't Tithe My Lotto Winnings

So if the day ever comes that I win the Lotto, remind me just to go ahead and keep it all, that God cannot redeem those dollars if I give them to the church.

At least that is the story out of Florida. But I think Hacking Christianity and Stress Penguin have a little more insight.

But, I repost my comment on Jeremy's blog here for my immediate thoughts.

I wonder about the "morality code" of accepting offerings. I think about the prostitute or stripper who gives to the church, and is not spurned for their giving. More to the blood money side of things, what about the person who owns the conglomerate who owns the strip bar, or the defense contracts that manufacture bombs. Let alone the person on the lines in the defense contractor factories who make the bombs. Do we declare soldiers' tithes as immoral because they are earned in the service during war, and we have been very clear about calling war "incompatible with Christian Teachings".
I expect that the God who is capable of redeeming people who are by nature corrupt is very capable of redeeming things that have no nature, except that of the user.


At August 17, 2008, Blogger Rev. Jeremy Smith said...

I know you mean it in jest, David, but if you agree with the values of anti-gambling, then you wouldn't be winning the Lotto in the first place. ;-)

To your very perceptive points, Money always means something. Budgets are moral documents, as Jim Wallis is fond of saying. The way we distribute money is at least as telling as how we accept the money.

All the incidents you mention are private choices by private people. If they silently put their lotto winnings or john money or government salaries in the tin, that is between them and God. I'm not here to play the church police.

But when the spectacle of giving comes from an obvious source, then the church has to ask whether or not the ends of ministry are worth justifying the means.

The church in question made their choice. What would yours have been?

At August 17, 2008, Blogger David said...

Good stuff as always from you. I realize that the spectacle of it all rings of the widow's mite story weighed against the chest pounding of the rich man. I wonder who made the spectacle though...the church or the giver. In such a case it rings more of the money changers in the temple, approved by the temple priests, scalping fees to pay back to the church for the sake of gratifying the egos and assuaging the "purity" of the gift.
Alas, I think I would take the money, though I do wonder what strings were attempted to be attached, and whether I would have accepted such a gift with big strings attached.

At August 19, 2008, Blogger Questing Parson said...

You know the old story of the United Methodist pastor who won the lottery. He was asked by his District Superintendent if he intended to keep the money. He replied, "Of course, this money has worked for the Devil long enough."

At August 20, 2008, Anonymous Henry Bechthold said...

Hey, check out this website:

At September 07, 2008, Blogger John said...

I can go along with this idea, David, so as long as the prostitute/stripper/war profiteer/gambler is in some way encouraged toward sanctification.


Post a Comment

<< Home