While responding to my local public radio station’s fund drive last week, I thought of writing a post about the challenges faced by non-profits and charitable organizations, including spiritual services, asking for financial support.
I receive much thoughtful news commentary listening to National Public Radio and occasionally reference their reports on this blog, so I feel happily obliged to contribute to their services. But I doubt if churches could “get away with” dispensing with regular programming to devote their time to fundraising.
Of course, there is plenty of fundamentalist, evangelical, and/or prosperity gospel religious programming that does, a point that John Oliver has recently hilariously ridiculed on his HBO show by establishing a faux church named, “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.”
But those of us on the progressive end of the religious spectrum tend to be more circumspect about much needed financial support. Perhaps that’s why some progressive religious blogs have paid subscriptions, but this blog has never required donations for access. Nor has it allowed advertising on the site, and there is no remuneration for sales of recommended books or use of its posts on other blogs.
When I served West Hollywood Presbyterian Church, many of us went to brunch after Sunday services. Once, while we were gathering money to pay our collective bill, I mischievously joked, “If only we could get this much in the offering plate!”
“But we don’t get fed at church,” one person remarked, to which I responded, “You don’t?”
At the time, the church was part of Pacific Presbytery, and many a time, both during presbytery meetings and when I served on its committee overseeing candidates for professional ministry, I witnessed seminarians transferring into the Presbyterian Church without seeming to change their fundamentalist, evangelical background beliefs, and I cynically wondered if it was because Presbyterian ministers are paid better than most.
MCC, the denomination that ordained me ten years ago, does not have the material resources of longstanding mainstream denominations, yet I have witnessed its pastors serve their congregations with zeal, despite frequently being underpaid. A common joke among the clergy is that one has to be partnered with someone with a “real job” to survive.
A churchwoman once told me that she was well into adulthood before she realized pastors were paid!
Fall is the time congregations usually have their stewardship drives. The end of the year is when charitable groups and other non-profits seek our donations.
I urge you to take these requests to heart.
And I invite you to consider a tax-deductible donation to this blog.
Blessedly, my “church” overhead is low—I don’t have a sanctuary to support or multiple employees. Ten per cent of your contributions (beyond credit card charges) goes to MCC in gratitude for its oversight, not only of contributions, but of how this emerging ministry does its work. I write an annual report, documenting what I’ve done during each calendar year, and pay an annual ministerial credential fee, as an “authorized, active, and accountable” MCC ministry.
Collectively, your congregation might consider putting “Progressive Christian Reflections” as a line item in your mission budget, because this blog serves as an outreach to progressive Christians in unsupportive congregations as well as those beyond the church.
But only do so if you believe you or someone “out there” is being fed spiritually by these reflections.
Find out how to support this blog ministry by clicking here and scrolling down to the donate link below its description. Thank you! Or copy and paste this link into your browser: http://mccchurch.org/ministries/progressive-christian-reflections/
Donations of $100 or more will receive a gift signed copy of a first edition of my book, Henri’s Mantle: 100 Meditations on Nouwen’s Legacy.
Several posts referencing NPR are on the link in the second paragraph. Additional posts referencing local public radio can be found by clicking here.
Copyright © 2015 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Other rights reserved.