Prioritizing, Tithing and Honest Truth
Well, it's plain to see that my parish was not #1 on my list of expenditures.
By far the largest chunk of my expenditures was cycling related. I spent A LOT of money at Erik's Bike Shop (Erik the Bike Man!) in 2006. I bought a new bike, lots of new cycling clothes, accessories, bike repair, bike ride entry fees etc.
Another big expense was an emergency plumbing repair at home as well as various car repair expenses. Those are necessities so nothing to criticize there.
I spend a lot of money on food. Dining out, groceries etc. Too much is spent on dining out.
One of my Lent 2007 resolutions was not to eat in our company cafeteria and, instead, give the estimated $40/week I spend there to my parish.
I'm going to continue that resolution going forward.
Our finance committee already told us that 2007 is going to be a tough year for our parish. We are losing one big source of income and we will finish this year in the red if we don't make up that loss. We were in the black with a surplus in 2006.
I, honestly, don't tithe enough anyway. Sometimes you need the truth. The credit card statement provided me with that.
As members of the Body of Christ, we need to hear the truth of our community's finances from our finance committee and/or our Pastor. Some parishes avoid any talk of money and finances. I think avoiding honest talk about the financial state of the parish is almost as bad as avoiding any kind of discussion about sin. Some parishes pick one or the other, but they should have both.
We don't need all affirmation all the time, we need to hear the honest, critical, truth. There is a way to be charitable about truth. You don't need to berate, yell and insult someone. But, it doesn't do us any good to constantly hear "I'm OK, You're OK". For proof of the fallout of the affirmation movement look no further then this study that was released today on self-centered youth: the products of 20 years of politically correct affirmation.
A real friend will tell you the truth. I can always count on my blog readers and fellow bloggers to point out my errors. I thank you for that. I have 35 years of dissenting Catholicism to overcome, I need all the help I can get.
My personal trainer told our class today, "What good are washboard abs if you can't see them under all your belly fat?" True. She said it straightforwardly, not snickering, not yelling. Just an honest, thoughtful, statement of fact. She has already proven her bona fides with the class as someone who truly cares about our fitness. We can take the truth. We need to hear it.
I think of Fr. Shane Tharp of the now defunct Catholic Ragemonkey blog who wrote about how his friend, Father Stephen Hamilton told him he was concerned about his friend's health because of his weight. Fr. Tharp publicly thanked Fr. Hamilton and is currently in a weight loss program. Now that's real friendship, right there. A friend sees you are on the path of self-destruction and intervenes.
A true Christian should intervene and point out, in charity, that something is an error. I would not be the Catholic I am today if my fellow Christians had not pointed out how I was wrong.
We must be our brother's keeper in that we take the time to speak up and speak the truth. Sometimes, it's hard for us on the receiving end to hear the truth but it's better to hear it and reject it then not to hear it at all.
Same with the Truths of our Faith. What good does it do any of us not to Evangelize? What if Peter had decided after Jesus' Ascension to go home and never to speak to anyone about his life with Jesus? We all know that Peter did not have an easy time teaching His Truth. A lot of people did not want to hear it and rejected it. However, many did accept it.
Speak Up! Honestly and Often.