Tag Archives: charity

Debts of Grace

Many of you know that the last couple years have been very difficult for my family with health and financial woes aplenty. But where hardship did abound there did generosity and kindness much more abound. So many people have taken it upon themselves to lend a helping hand in ways both small and large as we continue to struggle through this time in our lives. We are as humbled as we are thankful.

Living through the charity of others, however, has revealed to me a twisting in my thoughts and a weight upon my soul that I had not realized I still bore from fundamentalism. The lesson that I learned there was simple: “Grace is debt. Blessings are debt. Kindness is debt.” Nothing in fundamentalism is free. Everything from the saving of your soul to the nourishing of your body must be repaid in full.

Who among us has not heard this charge laid to those who have left their fundamentalist church? We did so much for you! Remember when we helped your family with their electric bill? Have you forgotten those times we showed you kindness and love? Have you no shame to leave without repaying us what you owe?

So even today as my heart overflows with thankfulness for those encouraging words, that check in the mail, or those groceries given with a smile, my inner man is busy with his ledger adding credits of guilt to each debit of grace. I owe. I owe so much to so many. How can I ever hope to repay it all? I could work a lifetime and never come close.

But in my awakening soul I sometimes now can dimly see that kindness is not debt but joy. This is no ledger but only a journal, a history of thanksgiving. Here too is grace. Wonderful. Amazing. Free.


In the fundy worldview, there is nothing worse than a happy, healthy, and contented sinner. For unless the lost are miserable, sick, and hungry how are they to understand how very bad they have been and turn to the fundy for help? Far be it from the fundamentalist to get between a sinner and the perceived punishment for his sin.

Understanding this desire for sinners to live in misery and squalor is key to understanding the fundamentalist view of how charity should be dispensed. For what does it profit to feed the hungry or bind up the wounded if all if does is permit them to go back to their godless existence with a full stomach and freedom from pain? Sinners should suffer until they at last come crawling into the fold, with words of sorrow on their lips.

Any act of charity that is not bait for a gospel trap is all but worthless in fundyland. God may send rain on both the just and unjust but the fundamentalist is often loath to dispense kindness and mercy in the same fashion.

Only Giving to Charities They Agree With 100%

Bread Line

It’s the time of year when people are in a giving spirit. Whether they’re in pursuit of good karma, tax breaks, or just old fashioned goodwill toward men, folks are breaking out the check books and giving of their time. For the average fundamentalist, however, attempting to give to charity is a sticky situation. For to them, giving of one’s money is tantamount to an endorsement of everything that organization has ever done, said, or created in macramé.

So what if there is not a fundamentalist organization working with the homeless in your town? Sorry, fellas! Until that homeless shelter gets right and stops using the NIV in its devotionals, you’ll get no soup from us!

Thinking about giving some time at the local pregnancy crisis center? You can’t do that because it’s run by Catholics! What those pregnant women really need is an old fashioned altar not some dress-wearing papist priest, amen?

Out of options for where to give? There is always the local church building fund…