Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shrove Tuesday - A Lesson in Gluttony

Today is Shrove Tuesday, the day when a lot of people go hog wild with gluttony before they enter the time of Lent...the dreaded days of fasting of self denial.  As I was exercising this I was listening to what was on the television at the Y.  On the Morning Show (I think that was the name) the topic was prosperity pastors...those folks who preach that God wants each of us to be rich and that if you give more money to the church, you'll be blessed in many ways, including financially.

I found it interesting that on Shrove Tuesday they were paying attention to this topic.  What the pastors said was interesting.  One stated that he needed to have the private jet to get places because he had a family and had many places to be.  When asked what he thought Jesus would say about him flying in a private jet or first class because it was more comfortable for him, he said that he thought Jesus would have a jet too.  I was impressed by the host who must have some church background said he really doubted that as Jesus was very critical of the rich.
Another, who had received a Rolls Royce from a parishioner, said of course he was going to keep would be rude to give back a gift.
One pastor pointed to what all his congregation does to feed and help the homeless to which the host asked, "Well, don't you think it'd be more help to sell your big items or save your money and then donate it to the poor?"
Again the pastors frowned upon the idea of giving up luxury, because they need to be comfortable and they have families, and instead focused on the fact that they had been blessed by God and God will do the same for those who ask and actively seek God.
I just thought it was interesting that on the day when we think of excess and gluttony that this topic would be covered.  Don't we all in some way overextend ourselves to make our lives more comfortable?  Don't we have those times when we splurge on things that are luxury items?   Maybe it's that I don't want to be like these guys...but I think that somehow what I do, what many of us do is different.  Do I think that God will bless us if we seek to do God's work in this world?  Yes, most definitely.  But I think the blessings are in those priceless things in life...not as more pennies in our bank account.
Another topic for the show was the idea of paying for miracles.  A family shared a story about their mother who gave most of her money to be healed from cancer.  They tried to get her to go to the doctor but she refused saying she'd be cheated out of her miracle.  That made me sad.  Throughout his ministry, Jesus reached out to heal people...but he didn't charge them anything to do this...he did get a little hacked when the nine lepers didn't thank him but he didn't hand them a bill for his services.
I don't know how the discussion ended...I had to get back to work.  I realize that there are so many pastors out there doing the right thing...reaching out in the love, grace and peace of God to a world that is hurting and in need.  But for many people these pastors seen on this show this morning are normal clergy...and that makes me sad.
And you probably thought this was going to be about dieting.