The other day, I was flipping the channels and I happened upon a comedian on television telling a series of televangelist and church-related jokes. The funniest part was his focus on the use of Paypal for tithing. I don’t recall his name. He was hilarious, and the audience was very much in to him. Little did I know that it’s actually a thing. I thought it was just a joke. I should have known better.
Times sure have changed. When I was a kid, I remember the church giving my mom a large envelope with 12 smaller envelopes (one for each month). When I was a bit older, there was a form the church would use for debit or credit transactions to siphon the tithes from your bank account or credit card. Nowadays, I supposes Paypal is the 21st century way of doing things. A bud of mine told me when he was at home for an extended period recovering from surgery, his pastor wanted him to call Western Union and send his tithes that way. All I could do was shake my head.
Churches can be a little aggressive when it comes to tithes, I want to say some are ruthless, but I’ll be nice. I recall not long ago a woman had been in a coma for a long time and she ultimately passed away. The pastor didn’t want to host her funeral services because of her unpaid tithes – which she didn’t keep up because she was in a coma. She had been a faithful, tithe-paying member of the Fourth Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Texas for more than 50 years. But when her health suffered, she ended up in hospice and the tithes stopped. The church revoked her church membership. See, with Paypal she could have set up a recurring payment and avoided this.
Okay, I’m only kidding about the recurring payments. Well, yes you most assuredly can set up a recurring payment with Paypal, but there should be concessions made for a person’s sickness, especially for someone who has been committed to that church for so many years. As an aside, I have had one of my credit cards since I graduated from high school, and I have had the same car insurance for about as long. When I have the opportunity to speak with a representative on the phone, they usually talk to me as if I’m royalty, thanking me for being a faithful customer. I recall once when I simply forgot to send my credit card payment – it got there late, I called and they were nice enough to remove that blemish from my record because of my longevity of service, and all of my begging and humble pleading. I was never late again. I like that.
Anyhow, I digress. I hope that this situation with the Houston church is only an anomaly. I hope most churches have more compassion. You know your church and your pastor. If I attended a church like that one and the pastor did that to somoene, I’d be looking for a new church. But that’s just me.