Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Show Me the Money!

I also just saw on ABC News that many schools are now offering money to high school students to attend school.  That’s right folks, cold hard cash is given away for attendance.  But it’s not just cash they are giving away.  They are giving away cars, laptop computers, $2,000 shopping sprees, gift certificates, gym memberships, and etc. to encourage attendance.

This angers me.  For one, I wonder where this money is coming from.  Secondly, I want my laptop.  Thirdly, I seem to remember the encouragement to attend school “back in the day” was a swift whoopin’ to my backside if I didn’t get out of bed.

I also have the sinking feeling that the reason these giveaways are happening is because the schools probably get more money if they can boast larger attendance figures.  I hope that I am wrong about that.

But here is the parallel that really keeps me up at night.  It reminds me of our churches.  The schools realize that the real problem is that young people in their districts do not value education, they have no motivation at home to come, and they realize that an education is of tremendous benefit to the student and to the society in which he lives.  So, they give him some cash to come to do something he ought to be doing anyway.  And they simply ignore the larger issues.  All they want are rear ends in the seats, and maybe some education will happen because they come.  Who cares how we get them there?

Churches today are doing the exact same thing.  They are giving away a ‘bread and circus’ show (Harley Davidsons are given away, amongst other things) to motivate lost people to come.  Hoping that when they get there, some spiritual change will happen by getting someone to sit in that seat.

Both the schools and the church are pandering to people to get them to do what they ought to be doing in the first place.  And they both have a similar pragmatic reason for doing so: Increased Numbers, baby.  That means success.  More opportunity and more lives touched that way.  End of story.

Do you see the parallels, or am I off my rocker?

UPDATE:

After writing this post, I saw that Tim Challies has written a great post today about pragmatism and the Church. You should check it out.

3 comments:

ColinM said...

I think it is a good parallel. At a church growth conference, how many would be apalled at a strategy to pay people to walk in the door? Maybe door prizes?

Yet, if someone would then draw a parallel to current 'acceptable' stategies, like you have done, there might be an awakening...

Anonymous said...

You sound right on to me!

So sorry about all the devastation too, by the way. I suppose they will begin setting up some places for us to donate household things soon here...they did the last big hurricane anyway. And people think that there could not possibly be a connection between emptying Gaza and this! This is worse seems to me!
Elizabeth

JIBBS said...

Hummer anyone??