Sunday, November 28, 2004

SBs Only

I'm sure that most of y'all know that I was raised as a Southern Baptist, and what I will say in the following post is really just for other Southern Baptists. I'm sure that will spark the curiosity of all you non-SBs, but really, if you're not one, you don't need to read this. If you do read this, then I apologize for possibly adding to any dislike you might have of SBs in particular or organized religion in general.

Today in SB churches all across North America, people were shown a video of Jerry Rankin, President of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In that video, they used the names, images, and work of four of my friends in order to wring your heart to get you to give them money.

I beg of you to not give a single penny to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Last year, I half-heartedly asked you to give to support the work of people on the field, but this year, I beg of you not to give a single, red (or any other color) cent.

The money from the general Lottie Moon fund does _not_ go to support the work of missionaries, it goes to pay for unnecessary conveniences like satellite internet connections and wireless networks. It pays for completely useless local staff who get paid more than twice what most of the workers on the field get paid. It pays for generators and security guards who cause the missionaries to be shown to be different from the people they're sent to work among. It pays for houses in the richest neighborhoods in town. It pays for vehicles that aren't needed or wanted. It pays for unnecessary travel.

It DOES NOT pay for projects. It does not pay for Bibles. It does not pay for training. The vast majority of those things are provided for by separate, designated funds, and/or the missionaries themselves.

The IMB has a god. That god's name is "Money," and they don't serve him very well. They're excellent at making heart-wrenching PR videos, asking for you to give your money to support their work. They're also excellent at stretching the truth as to the work being done currently.

As they wave the deaths of my friends in your face and say things like they were willing to lay down their lives - the least you can do is give money to suport their continuing work, they tell people who would give anything to be there that they can't go in. While they ask for your money to support the "work" that's being done in Iraq right now, they keep workers from _being_ in Iraq right now, and when they do allow them in, their movements are so restricted as to be next to useless.

If you want to support missions work as a Southern Baptist, give directly to a missionary on the field (your church will probably help you out with that if you're worried about your tax write-off) either for a specific project or for their own living (there are plenty out there with kids in college, etc. who aren't being adequately supported), or, if you're determined to work through the IMB, then donate to the Lottie Moon Challenge Database.

What do you mean, you've never heard of the Lottie Moon Challenge Database? Well, that's probably because it's not advertised because the IMB doesn't _want_ you to know about and give to the LMCDB, because they assume that if you do, then you won't give to the regular Christmas Offering. But you see, I'm all about that now. The LMCDB is where all of the missionaries on the field input projects that would greatly help the people with whom they're working, but which are projects that the IMB refuses to fund. Since the IMB does not allow its missionaries to ask for donations for specific projects (for fear that it will take away from Aunt Lottie's Christmas giving), this is its completely unadvertised method of allowing people to ask for money for a specific thing and still say that it's part of Lottie's Christmas Offering.

The entire database is not available online, although they do list a few of the most "strategic" needs at the following URL: You can go there directly, or you can get to it by going to, clicking on "your giving" near the top left, then clicking on "strategic priority needs" in the box on the right.'s that "simple" to find.

Talk to your local Director of Missions to find out "strategic" needs for anyplace with which you're partnering, or talk to someone you know overseas to find out the 13-digit number you need in order to designate your gift appropriately.

But I'm begging you. Out of respect to my friends. Show the IMB that it is unconscienable for them to use the deaths of my friends as a means of squeezing more money out of you. I'm about to write a letter to Jerry Rankin and all of his VPs (all of whom live in very nice houses in Richmond, VA - paid for by your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering funds). You do it too (

Missions work and giving isn't about sob stories. Missions work and giving is about following God's will for your life. It's not about effective marketing. It's not about stretching to truth to get good PR. It's not about capitalizing on tragedies. Give because God calls you to give. Go because God calls you to go. But don't give to an organization who would capitalize on a tragedy. Give to the workers who can't get a dime from that organization in order to do the work that God has called them to do.

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