If this were an award site the next sentence would go something like this, "The award for worst decision of the year goes to... the American churches for accepting government aide in the wake of Hurricane Katrina"
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I remember learning in college, and have stated on this blog before, that is was Plato who made the point that the center of any society will be the organization within that culture responsible for the care of the poorest and weakest. Traditonally American cultured was structured so that the church would supply that need. This meant that the church remained the center of American society for nearly the first 200 years of it's existence. However in the mid 1950s as the church became more affluent, more self centered, and less focused practicing "true religion" the government came in and filled the void left by the church in caring for the poorest and wekest of society and thus established itself rather than the church as the center of society. Once established as the center of society, the secularist within the government have been able to marginallize any influence the church holds within culture. Basically the church when it stopped caring for the poor ceased to have a public voice.
Fast forward 50 years to 2005 and the tragedy we have experienced in the Gulf States. The church came out strong and powerful. Aide was sent from thousands of churches targeted in ways that no government organization had the abilty to achieve. The church had a mission and many locally and nationally responded exactly as the church should. Servianthood and sacrifice, rather than doctrine and slef help, had become the messages of America's pulpits. The church the last few weeks has been glowing.
HOWEVER, now FEMA is saying, "thanks for helping out, let us reimburse you for your costs." The effective church will be marginalized and forced to once again take it's place on the sidelines as society's center pays for it's blunder. DO NOT TAKE THIS MONEY. This is Judas' 30 pieces of silver. This is blackmail, urging the church to "Go back to your back seat, resume your normal social schedules, and we'll all pretend this never happend."
I pray that we will be pushed forward with a "true religion" mission rather than urged back with a "Money lovers" payoff. We must not buy into this idea that we need reimbursed because we were doing the governments work. Instead we must go forward humbly and repentantly for letting the government do our work for FAR TO LONG!
To be fair, FEMA only will reimburse churches that were asked by local, state and federal officials to be emergency shelters PRIOR to lending a helping hand. This means that most the churches who displayed "true religion" in a spontaneous and Spirit-led way will not be recieving any monies from the government. In this particular case, the government is treating the affected congergations in the same manner that all other non-religous shelters were treated. This does not mean I support the accepting of the money any more than you do, but it is only fair to make sure readers have all the important facts to make up thier own minds.
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