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March 02, 2008


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I'm not sure that this is the kind of comment you wanted from Let the Rich Man Go, but here is my 17% worth.

I sent an e-mail last night asking to be removed from a well known charitable organization's mailing list while offering a suggestion to them.

We started a new tradition at Christmas time a couple of years ago with our daughters. We give them a certain amount of money to give to whomever they choose, instead of buying each other lots of stuff. We still give gifts, just cheaper ones. And fewer. One of the girls chose _____ this past year. I made an online donation. We didn't get the 'free' gift that went with the donation, because that would actually mean a lower net donation would go to the organization. I liked it that we could opt out of the free gift as I made the donation.

Since then, we have received at least two mailings requesting another donation. Here is my problem with that practice. We were not on their mailing list before the donation, and as far as I am concerned, it was probably a one time thing. When I give $__, I want that amount to go to the cause. Their latest mailing informs that in 2006, "83% of all gifts and donations to _____ goes directly to our vital programs". The pie chart shows that 83% was Program Related Expenses, while the smaller piece of the pie went to Administrative and Fundraising Expenses. That may just be a fabulous percentage; I don't know because I haven't compared them with others.

The fact remains that if 17% of my donation is for Administrative and Fundraising Expenses, that is either salaries, free gifts, mailings, advertising or other operating expenses that I haven't considered. How much of 17% is for mailings? Probably not much, but I don't want to receive the mailings. Valuable resources are being wasted. __% of 17% of my donation is being thrown in the trash.

Here was my suggestion. Let people opt out of mailings when they make a donation, just like they can opt out of the 'free' gift. I'm calling it The 17% Solution.

[sigh] I left a church I loved and where I sang in a nationally prominent choir after a sermonizer told us we were not good Americans and not good Christians unless we supported the Bush administration's policy in the Middle East.

I am not rich and really can donate only time and talent. But I have spent a fair amount of my life in the Middle East, and I do know how the Arabs think about the West and why, that torture is immoral, that an unjustified war is immoral, that lying to the American people is immoral, and that George W. Bush and his colleagues are the worst calamity that has ever happened to this country. While I have room in my heart for those who think otherwise, I do not appreciate being told I am un-American and un-Christian because common sense tells me what has now become widely accepted, even among the right wing -- certainly not in a church, which is where one goes for reconciliation and peace.

So I left, and I have not gone back.

I have left at least one church for not teaching solid biblical principles (watering down the truth), as that is unacceptable. Church is a place we should go to be spiritually fed, not catered to with what we want to hear. Additionally, I would not want to go to a church that is afraid to kick out a member of the congregation if need be (there are justified reasons for exiling a member).

When I left a church once I didn't think of it so much as taking my funds with me as I thought about it as a situation not congruent with my interpretation of scripture. I didn't believe the church was the best steward of my tithe and I sought out other options within the church universal.

This story reminds me of the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19. The rich young man sadly left Jesus presence because the things Jesus told him (to sell all he had and give his wealth to the poor) were too challenging, and not what he wanted to hear. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.".

It's a nice reminder that having faith isn't always easy, and sometimes we'll hear preaching that may challenge us in a way we didn't expect.

If I could not support what a church or charity was doing or teaching, I would take my money and presence somewhere else. Unfortunately not everyone thinks this way. In our church right now, there are several wealthy elderly couples who have approached our church council with demands that must be met before they continue their substantial giving. Until then, they are donating $1 a week to the church.


I went to college. When I started a job life was doing ok.
Then one morning I woke up and couldnt get up. That followed its self many times. The job I had let me go. Then when returning home I tried getting a job here and there. Came in from work one day laid down and had a grandma seizsure. From there on out I lost all. But by staying busy and living the streets for the medical help I needed my life has returned to some what normal. God was asked for help many times and i ended up in some of the worse places I ever dreamed of and even slept on bathroom floors threw the winter sometimes becuase the shelter was to hot for my body. The heat would set seizures off. So if the rich man giving money out to help others is satens gate i guess satens gate is a little better then god,s. But the truthe really is the rich willing to help the poor and still willing to donate to a church just not willing to give all to your god becuase god sits in many places other than the church. something to think about becuase a church can be that man working with others its not your building. The donations to god is helping all and not investing into some building.

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