This week’s Acts 8 BLOGFORCE Challenge is a deceptively simple question. “If you had a million dollars to help ‘proclaim resurrection in the Episcopal Church,’ where would it go and why?” I say “deceptively simple” because when I read it on Monday morning, I thought, “Pshhh, no problem,” but almost immediately push back came from without and within. Here’s the dirty little secret, when Jesus said that the love of money is the root of all evil, he didn’t just mean for people. Institutions, like Saint Paul’s Foley, Beckwith Camp and Retreat Center, the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, and perhaps especially, The Episcopal Church are just as susceptible to the dangers that come with the love money as your typical person might be.
Anyone who is vaguely familiar with the politics of General Convention can tell you that she who holds the purse strings holds the power. That’s why every three years, good and faithful Christians queue up to speak to the Committee on Program Budget and Finance to essentially beg for money in the triennial budget.
And so it is that this question from the Acts 8 BLOGFORCE has real life implications. If PB&F handed me a million dollars to proclaim resurrection in The Episcopal Church, what would I do with it? Honestly, I’d probably give it away. Well, not all of it. First, I’d develop a website geared toward sharing resurrection stories. Then, I’d invite members of The Episcopal Church to share their stories. I’d want to hear about food banks and lunch counters; after school programs and literacy for older adults; innovative liturgy and damn good Anglo-catholic worship; prison ministries and drop-out prevention tools; anything and everything that the Church in all its varied forms is doing to share the good news of Jesus, that the Kingdom of God has come near. Then, I’d give it away as grants to help sustain and grow those ministries because the fact of the matter is that a) ministry costs money and b) even congregations that are doing amazing things for their communities can be dying. For example, supporting the out of work in a failing coal town costs money, and odds are in a town hemorrhaging citizens, the local Episcopal Church isn’t growing either. They need someone who believes in their work and the power of God to help them continue to share the love of God for as long as possible.
It is probably simplistic and naive, but that’s what I’d do with a million dollars. I’d give it all away.