Fiscal & Christian Responsibilities
Mark 12: 13-17
by Rev. Elaine Wing
It is with great joy that I share this story…
Just the other night, the phone rang
and the caller identified himself as a representative of the Internal
Revenue Service. The caller asked me, “Did David Smith give $10,000 to
Calvary United Methodist Church?” I thought for a moment and carefully
replied, “He will!” (Pause for effect - Too bad this story came to me as a
A cynic said recently “”Death and
taxes may always be with us but at least death doesn’t get any worse.”
This morning I want to tackle two topics that are not easy studies for me
– economics and politics. I find both topics confusing, complicated and
full of rhetoric. After trying to digest the plethora of information, I
usually end up making cynical comments about politicians, the government,
corporations or individuals like our fictitious Mr. Smith.
What finally drove a reluctant cynic like me to spend countless hours in
sermon preparation was not statistics or emotionally laden stories of
people turned away from empty food pantries. The tipping point came from
Paris Hilton, the heiress whose fame is solely the result of being rich.
Hilton was giving ABC News Reporter
Dan Harris a tour of her Beverly Hills mansion. She pointed through one
window to the 300 sq. foot house she had built for her six dogs. The
$325,000 two floor pooch mansion has a clay-tile roof with copper gutters,
intricate ceiling molding, central air conditioning and a crystal
chandelier hanging in the bedroom. The dogs even have a closet and a
downstairs living room! In the book of Genesis we are told to care for
animals but I do not believe God meant that our four legged friends need
such extravagant quarters.
Given the increase in our government
debt, one might think that Ms. Hilton was in charge of spending federal
dollars! Using official government statistics, the US federal deficit grew
by $1.5 trillion in 2010. The total outstanding US Treasury bonds was
$14.5 trillion meaning the size of our total debt was near to the size of
the total US annual economy. The numbers are now so big that we struggle
to comprehend their impact on our lives. No wonder fear is utilized as a
tool by politicians and religious groups of every stripe to win debates
and pass legislation.
With the exception of the extremely
rich, I believe nearly all US citizens (and undocumented residents) are
fearful of not having enough money to live simply
. . .
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