Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Big Business

Religion is a booming business. In The Woodlands, there already seems to be a church on every other street corner, and construction on new churches seems to be beginning all the time. There are two “megachurches,” Fellowship of The Woodlands and The Woodlands United Methodist Church, in this “real hometown.” These churches have enormous compounds, costing millions of dollars to build. United Methodist Church has outgrown its spacious new 165,000 square foot facility that is a mere four years old. They are breaking ground on a $17 million expansion. Lakewood Church in Houston recently celebrated the Grand Opening of its new “Central Campus,” which formerly was a sports arena known as the Summit; it has been transformed into a “house of worship.”

A preacher resides in a house down the street from me. I saw him leaving for church this morning, in his 740 iL BMW. His church is renting the million dollar plus home for him and his family while they construct a new home in a more upscale neighborhood. I suppose his parishioners tacitly approve this, when they contribute to the collection plate every Sunday and when they tithe. Perhaps they wish to attend a “wealthy” church, so it is important that their preacher appear affluent.

If these congregations have sufficient funds in their church coffers to enable them to construct these humongous places of worship, and to compensate their clergy so handsomely, there must be vast sums to be made through religion. This seems to me to be in contravention with what the Christian Bible teaches. I am of the impression that the accumulation of material wealth is not lauded in Christianity, or in other religions, for that matter. News of this $17 million expansion coincided with the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina. The displaced Louisianans could probably benefit from some of this money. The members of The Woodlands United Methodist Church could continue to squeeze into their existing church so the money could be applied to disaster relief.

It is commonly held that only three avocations can properly be called “professions”: the legal profession, the medical profession, and the clergy. I guess I entered the wrong profession. I should have attended seminary.

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