By Jim Faughn
It’s one of the “signs of the season.” The red kettles are appearing (or at least they will be soon). Between now and the end of the year, it will be increasingly difficult to walk into any business without passing by one of them.
You may see me walk by one or more of them. You may notice that I don’t drop anything in. You may think I’m cheap, uncaring, or a lot of other things. I’d like to plead “not guilty” to these charges.
At the same time, I’d like to set the record straight on my reasons for not contributing in any way to the organization responsible for those red kettles. While I will readily admit that it does some good, I’d like for those who read this to consider the following information. I’m reproducing the information from the website of the local “corps” of The Salvation Army.
Although many look at The Salvation Army as a place for help through our social services and a place to buy clothes, appliances, and etc., many people do not see that The Salvation Army was and still is today a Church first and foremost. We have services on weekdays and on Sundays like most Protestant Churches do today! We would love to have you in our Church this Sunday, please come and join us!At the same time, it seems to me that we need to be aware of the fact that The Salvation Army’s own information describes it as “…a Church first and foremost.” The website also gives information about their times for “Sunday School,” “Sunday Morning Church,” “Sunday Evening Bible Study,” “Mid-Week Church Services,” etc. They are certainly not trying to hide the fact that they consider themselves to be more than merely a benevolent organization.
There, “in a nutshell,” is the reason you won’t see me dropping any money into those kettles. I’m afraid you won’t see me donating anything to that organization and/or shopping at one of their stores either.
You may or may not agree with my reasoning. That’s your prerogative, and I understand that.
At the same time, I hope that those who read these words will understand that I have the right to decide what I will and will not support. That only seems to be fair.
A quick look at their website reveals that The Salvation Army was “…founded in 1865…” To coin a phrase, “as for me and my house,” we choose to not support any religious organization other than the one about which we find information in the New Testament. I’m afraid that 1865 is a little too late to qualify.
- Jim Faughn, a retired preacher, serves as an elder for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org