I think we’ve all been a bit torn at some point or another about our churches selling things.
Like the author of this article says, it tends to almost immediately bring up that iconic image of Jesus chasing out the moneychangers in the temple.
I’m sure there are probably some situations in which it’s ok for churches to sell things, particularly as part of some sort of fundraiser.
That being said, I don’t think there’s ever a situation where it’s appropriate to sell $1,000 iPods even if they come “loaded with $4,000 worth of [gospel related] video programming”.
Based on the sermon content described in this article, I find it impossible to believe that “gospel related” content is worth anything near $4,000.
Buying A $1,000 iPod At Church
By David Collins, The Day
On my way out of the stately 1851 First Congregational Church building on State Street in downtown New London, after a service Monday evening, I stopped to look at some of the likenesses of former ministers.
In the portraits that line the walls of the stone-floored vestibule, the former pastors look severe, some keepers of the faith in 19th century New London, leaders of the city’s first church, a congregation dating to the 17th century.
I wondered, looking at the frowning countenances of some of these men, what they would have thought of the Monday night service, put on by revivalists from a church in Florida.
What, for instance, might have the Rev. Thomas Field, who served from 1856 to 1876, still pictured in the vestibule today with his stern frown and gray mutton chops, thought about a pastor in his church selling $1,000 iPods preloaded with gospel-related videos.
The pitch for the expensive iPods (“loaded with $4,000 worth of video programming” that would play for 19 days) was part of a sales pitch to the congregation of the Engaging Heaven church, which has become a tenant of the New London church, for all kinds of wares, books, albums, even self-help programs for getting out of debt.
The merchandise was all being sold off big tables set up in the back of the sanctuary of the magnificent stone church.
I don’t know a lot of the New Testament, but the story of Jesus driving the money changers from the Temple came to mind when I heard the sales pitches Monday from the altar of the Congregational church.
Rev. Field’s eyebrows also might have also gone up a bit, if you could have looked closely at his portrait, during a long sermon in Monday’s service on the lessons of how to give generously to the church, no matter how little money you have, to help guarantee “inheritance for your children’s children.”