Thursday, September 01, 2005

Christian Service or Feel-good make-work?

So, the men at my church are planning a relief expedition to Gulf Port Mississippi; leaving 4:30am on Saturday, coming home Monday afternoon. This puts me in a lousy situation because, obviously, I really don't want to spend my entire Labor Day weekend without A/C, sleeping in a smelly hot church on the floor and hauling debris away from homes while standing in Typhoid and snake-infested water; yet if I don't go I'll look like an uncaring prick who selfishly values my own time and comfort over the desperate need of my fellowman. Yeah, I guess that's pretty spot-on. Truth hurts, am I right?

Unfortunately, they're still planning on having church on Sunday. This means that if I don't go do this bit of service then I get to see all the ladies at church and explain why I'm not in Mississippi doing Christian service with all the other men in the church.

The answer came to me just now: skip church and run the table so to speak. If I'm hell-bound this week end, why not go whole hog?

Seriously though, I'm going to cut a check to charity to cover the miniscule amount of help I would be able to render if I were to go there over the weekend. Honestly, I'm not into suffering for the sake of suffering. If my own discomfort were able to substantially and uniquely improve the lot of the folks in the wake of the storm, then I'd be happy to help. I spent a weekend doing service right after Ivan, and all I can say is ... if we'd each pitched in 40 bucks we could have hired professional to do what we did in a quarter of the time.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find your rich man's entitlement attitude just as disgusting as that of your poor counterparts who are sitting in the Superdome asking CNN "where is my food and my bed and my welfare check? When are they going to start serving steak and Jack Daniels instead of these disgusting MREs and water?" Seriously man, do you think that your big fat check exempts you from physically helping out when you have a chance to do so? Cut that check and then get off your butt and help too! If the people in New Orleans didn't have the same attitude that you do, you might not even need to go out there with your church to help!!
Just a thought.

J. Willard Curtis said...

Tto be fair I'm not a "rich man".
Also, how much have you done/given?

Finally, what the hell gives you the right to critique the manner in which I choose to help people in need?? If I feel like money is a better way to help than driving out and raking peoples lawns or hauling debris to the street -- well, that's because I think if I was in their situation I'd prefer a little cash to purchase exactly what i need (e.g. a motel room for another night, some food or booze or whatever) rather than some do-gooder willing to do some manual labor for me. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

ADevoe said...

Get your lazy white butt to Gulf Port! Suffering for suffering's sake?--No, Service for Service's sake! (re: the Savior--imagine if he decided to donate some money toward the redemption of all mankind cause?) Beth and mom and I cooked grub all morning for the refugees here in Conr... And I'm thinking very seriously about going to Houston and volunteering at the Astrodome (though my line is firmly drawn at the "clean-the-latrines" command).

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%...you should choose how/when/how much you give to others...not a church/neighbor or some liberal jerk who thinks he knows what's best for you to do...time after tome leaders say send cash...I guess our commubist friend who thinks you are rich feels that creating wealth obligates you keeping it instead of helping the needy...piss on him and his tree hugging buddies ...fred f

J. Willard Curtis said...

Fred's got my back: you the man Fred.

adevoe: you're thinking very seriously hmm amy, well I'm thinking very seriously about lots of things. Let me know when you actually do something ;) -jk

Anonymous said...

Wow...no need to get your blood pressure up!

First, "rich man" is a relative term and not necessarily wrong given that you are an educated adult (see your profile) living in the USA. (Do you have carpet? A car? Air conditioning? You're rich...even in America, I safely guess.)

Second, please re-read St. Matthew 6:3-4. Only one person needs to know how much I've done/given.

Third, thank you adevoe. It's nice to know that there are a few of us left in the world who will call it like it is minus all the liberal "hurt speech" crap. Which brings me to my next point...

Fourth, sorry Fredo, you're way off when you say "I guess our commubist friend who thinks you are rich feels that creating wealth obligates you keeping it instead of helping the needy." You couldn't be further from the truth, nor more illogical. A liberal say keep your wealth? Come on! Plus, I didn't suggest he keep it...read a little closer next time and learn your left from your right!

Anonymous said...

Apparently my use of the term "rich man's entitlement attitude" has been misinterpreted and caused one too many a blogger to think me a raving liberal. That comment came neither from the left nor the right, but from my own Christian perspective as one who feels that we should give all that we can in times like these and not just $$ because we have it and would rather give that than our time and physical effort.

Calm down everybody...no need to go in for the kill on one of your own. I am simply making this blog interesting by offering a counterpoint. No need to thank me, I'll collect my blessings in heaven. ;-)

J. Willard Curtis said...

I appreciate your comments anonymous -- in fact I was hoping to have something of a debate on this issue so I'm glad you weighed in on the topic. Your use of the word "disgusting" might have made me a litte defensive.

Also, my rebutal stands: if the situation were reversed, I'd prefer hard currency to a do-gooder offering to rake my lawn or haul debris (about the only service that I'm qualified to do.)

Finally, you claimed that a big fat check doesn't exempt me from physically helping out -- but I honestly think it does. Suppose that my time is worth 50$/hour. I could go work for 20 hours doing menial labor that has a retail value of maybe $150, or I could cut a check for $200 and everybody would win -- I'd have time that I value at $1000. The refugees would have $200 value instead of $150 worth of labor. And I would be spared enduring hot sweltering physical labor in malarial swamp land.

Anonymous said...

I do apologize for the word "disgusting" that was a bit strong...opening the valve let out a bit too much pent up frustration.

As an olive branch to show I am a peacable person, consider the following idea which supports your position: A prime example of people who should STAY OUT of the disaster cleanup and rescue business and just give their money...CELEBRITIES!

Too often they are more willing to "volunteer" (read: get in the way) instead of forking over more cash, of which they have plenty. I heard tell on a talk radio station that emergency crews had to rescue Sean Penn because he was trying a little too hard to be a hero. I say they should just stay out of the way and write those checks instead of "helping" or "using their celebrity" to bring "awareness" to the issues. /{gag. retch.}/

If I'm stranded and starving, I need $$ not Oprah to stick a camera in my face and ask how I'm doing.

J. Willard Curtis said...

I couldn't agree more, sometimes I wonder if the celebs are just clueless or if their image consultants are in the background prompting them to make total asses of themselves for the sake of garnering public acclaim.

Emily Curtis said...

I was just wondering if you ever did cut that check? Here's a web site to make things easier for you:
http://www.providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,6147-1-3186-1,00.html
. . . unless you've since changed your mind and you're considering the "menial labor" approach.
I would like to add that I agree with anonymous.
"Cut that check and then get off your butt and help too!" Well put Anonymous.
Not everyone can afford a $200 donation to aid the relief efforts, and not everyone is in a position to spend a weekend hauling debree and raking lawns. If you're in a position to do both, and assuming you're charitable selfless Christian, you should!
That's my two cents.

J. Willard Curtis said...

As for the check, yes via Buffalo's Reef.

"Not everyone can afford a $200 donation to aid the relief efforts, and not everyone is in a position to spend a weekend hauling debree and raking lawns. If you're in a position to do both, and assuming you're charitable selfless Christian, you should!"

Except I have a very needy wife and children who basically can't spare me for even a single weekend. Thus the money will have to do.