I am confused. Really and truly confused, don’t get me wrong I have no issue with the church any church wanting to help their members, but I thought this was part of the deal. Isn’t this what you sign up for? Join the club and gain some benefit other than automatic bliss and life in the hereafter. No? Well I bet you don’t sign up to be scammed.
Do not mistake me, I am all for the idea of individuals seeking out and finding solace in personal faith. Whether that faith ends up being Christian or otherwise is frankly not my business and of little interest to me. My only interest is they are comforted and lifted up by their beliefs. Well admittedly, I have one other interest; those who find religion and faith keep their beliefs from infringing upon my personal right to freedom of and from religion. I am perfectly happy to celebrate with them their happiness in finding joy, just not in the public domain.
Back to my confusion though, in recent years there has seemed to be a plethora of new business models focused on the Christians among us. I wonder to myself every time I hear the advertisements for these businesses, what are the drivers and the justifications:
Christian High Risk Lending
Christian Tax Preparation
Really? The above are just three of my favorites; these seem contrary to Biblical teaching.
Starting here on Lending:
“You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.” Deuteronomy 23:19-20
Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. For there were those who said, “With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive.” There were also those who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine.” And there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards. Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.” Nehemiah 5:1-13
Then looking here on Tax payment and the authority of Government:
Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Romans 13:2
Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:7
So I did a bit of investigating for myself, I thought well this is interesting do they lend based on some principle I don’t understand or file taxes based on rules different than the ones I follow. Do they only lend to professed Christians in good standing? File taxes for those of their own faith? How do they know, do they call a pastor at the church you attend? There are hundreds of Christian denominations, what if you don’t follow the same denomination what if you follow one distinctly different from the lender or lending officer; will this be a problem?
What I found is I couldn’t find anything, when I typed “Christian Lending” into Google Search this is what I found as the top three:
Of these the first was a very pretty website, glossy and what you would expect I think. The site provides mortgage tools, testimonials and a contact page. What it doesn’t provide is links to Christian Lenders or any Lenders for that matter.
The next one is even more interesting, no matter which link you follow you go nowhere but another obscure page within the same site. The front page is a terrible yellow page with three links, all of which take you to this site. This site is nothing but articles, cross linked to more articles. Information you could find anywhere else on the web but with a few “Christian” quotes thrown in for good measure. If you scroll across the top tabs you find yourself mired in the selling machine for bonds, mutual funds, stocks and bad college options. Doesn’t sound terribly Christian to me, but then what do I know.
Finally, we come to my favorite, the last in the list a complete scam if I have ever seen one. Suck you in and without even a by your leave you get a blurb about what a ‘High Risk Lender’ does and then this.
So what I ask you exactly is a Christian Lender? I certainly couldn’t tell by the top three Google searches.
Tax preparation, seems to follow the same line of thinking though not nearly as slick. At least these gentle souls promise to do your taxes with ‘integrity’. I am not certain what this means, all the top three tell you is they are Christian and will apply Christian ethics to your tax preparation. Does this mean they will ‘render unto Caesar’, or something else?
I don’t mean to be snarky or ugly. Many of my best friends, favorite bloggers and closest family members are believers. Not just Sunday go to Meeting believers, but true walk in the footsteps of The Christ believers. I love them for their great faith and the wonderful example they set for others, myself included.
My problem is when I hear these advertisements on the radio or see them in the local newspapers and think of the people who are sucked in, believing they have found help. When what they have really found is just one more Shady Huckster willing to put on the mantle of holiness to strip others of their worldly goods at their time of greatest need.
All I can think, what the Hell is wrong with this world.