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Money, Museums, Missionaries …and Cathedrals November 17, 2016

Posted by Pete B in Uncategorized.

I have a love hate relationship with Cathedrals. I’d hate to see them disappear but I’m not convinced they are worth the money they cost to maintain. Giving wisely is surely one aspect of giving well?

Some Cathedral are a strange mix of ego and faith built to bring glory to God. Many were constructed centuries ago by people some of whom wanted to make a name for themselves and some who acted out of true faith and commitment.

Some are still powerful cultural and religious symbols and some have taken on a different meaning. At their best the vastness of the architecture does indeed inspire awe and remind us that God and his church are rooted in history. At their worst some have turned into museums, run like ‘for profit’ companies …except without the profit.

The saddest site for me on visiting a cathedral a while ago was the sign declaring that it cost over £6,000 a day to keep the Cathedral open.

A verse comes to mind of a disciples who saw what he considered a huge waste of money and pointed it out to Jesus, that the money could have been “given the poor” , and those of you who know the story may recall the name of the disciple – Judas.

It’s not always wrong to spend money on extravagances – but it’s not automatically right either.

My musings on Cathedrals were actually sparked by hearing about a brand new Museum of the Bible. I’ve got several conflicting thoughts on that, but I am willing to believe that it is being done with good intentions and when built it will help some learn and engage.

Like many other projects it is expensive! Just think what else the money could have been spent on:

  • It could have fed millions of hungry people for a month or a smaller number of well fed people wanting to eat out.
  • It could have built hospitals or it could have built shopping malls.
  • It could have been used for education or entertainment.
  • It could be used to fund a wide variety of mission work (including supporting us and other missionaries relying on individual support) or it could have been used on things that lead people further from God rather than closer.

The money spent on building and running the Museum of the Bible or on renovating and maintaining historic Cathedrals will pay people’s wages and they in turn will have to decide how to spend their own money.cathedralcosts

A 2012 news article highlighted that on average visitors to Gloucester Cathedral donated 55p of the suggested £5 entrance fee. Which of course means many gave less and some gave more

In another place in the New Testament is the story of Jesus sitting near where people put their offerings into the temple treasury. (The temple had high running costs too!)
He saw that some gave much, and some little.

Judas would have focused on money. Jesus focused on motives.

Whatever you give to, however much you give, however often, give well.


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