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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Moneychangers in the temple...

From CNN: Church lobby ATM receives, but doesn't give

Donation stations. Giving kiosks. These are the euphemistic terms being used to describe the placement of ATM's in churches. Pastor Marty Baker of Stevens Creek Church, who owns the company who is providing many of these machines, will quickly explain that the machines only receive, not give. So much for picking up that Big Mac after church...oh wait, just use the handy "donation station" at McDonald's!

The picture of the "kiosk" above was not taken in Pastor Marty's church. This machine is located inside the Cathedral of Linz in Austria. Yes...a Catholic Church.

Friends, the moneychangers are in the temple...these machines are operated by a "for profit" company. Since when has an usher taken a cut from the collection basket after the Offertory?

Thanks to Catholic Church Conservation for the image.

A brief excerpt from an interview with Pastor Marty Baker:

"Baker has waded further into the 21st century than most fishers of American souls, as evidenced one Wednesday night when churchgoer Josh Marshall stepped up to a curious machine in the church lobby.

It was one of Stevens Creek’s three “Giving Kiosks“: a sleek black pedestal topped with a computer screen, numeric keypad and magnetic-strip reader. Prompted by the on-screen instructions, Marshall performed a ritual more common in quickie marts than a house of God: He pulled out a bank card, swiped it and punched in some numbers.

The machine spat out a receipt. Marshall’s $400 donation was routed to church coffers before he had found his seat for evening worship.

“I paid for gas today with a card, and got lunch with one,” said Marshall, 30. “This is really no different.”


Anonymous said...

In my opinion, an atm machine does not have a place inside the cathedral. I do, however, believe that it is completely acceptable and even smart to have one available in the lobby or entrance of the church. Hardly anyone carries cash these days anyway, and it gives them an opportunity to make their contribution without writing a check or withdrawing from their bank account separately.

Kimberly Wasson said...

It is a sad state of affairs when individuals can no longer be "inconvenienced" when participating in the Offertory, which is much more that a "cash depository".

The issue of convenience is the same argument that the Jews in the Temple would have used when Christ expelled the money-changers.

Money-changers were prosperous men, who would for a fee, exchange Greek and Roman money, for Jewish and Tyrian money. You could say that the Jews faced the same dilemma of "convenience".

Yet, Christ drove out the money-changers, for their presence was inconsistent with Temple worship. What would Christ do today? Here is a quote from scripture...I think it still applies:

My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.—Isaiah 56:7


But you have made it a den of thieves—Jeremiah 7:11

Remember: the providers of these machines are "for profit" corporations taking a cut from the offering of the faithful...highly immoral!

Micki said...

Thank you Kimberly for finding my Holy Card blog and your very kind comments. I'm visiting your blog now and I can see that there is much to come back and devour.
If you ever want to use any of my cards on your site, feel free. I just kindly ask for a bit of recognition.
Now....I agree with you about the ATM's...and you brought to my attention and a reminder that these are profit making ventures for the bank. No place in a church.