financial scams ruining the Black community, I received an overwhelming amount of response. Between the several websites which adopted the post or created their own conversations around it, I read well over 100 comments presumably from other Black people reminding me of scams I left out. People proclaimed I should add everything from the foolishness of financed rims to Rent-A-Center schemes, but nothing surprised me more than over 40% of posters assuring me that I had missed what apparently many believe to be the biggest financial scam of them all: The Black Church.
I'm glad some people already added church to this list. They demand that you give 10% of your gross income, plus expect money in the collection plate at every service for general and love offering, plus expect you to support every fundraiser . . . let's not forget the "roof or building" fundraisers that never result in a repaired roof or improved building.
On the flip side, Anonymous, who is really forcing Black people to do all that? When I wrote 5 Reasons Black Women Can’t Save Money, one of my points was that we can’t say “No.” Many will give to the point of self-deprivation and for some reason take the stance that this is the noble thing to do (the comments prove it). But, for the life of me I can’t understand why of all the verses in the Bible that relate to money and wealth, people want to glorify the parts about being poor. How can you truly be this giver you are called to be if you're riddled with debt and barely making it yourself? I’m not saying that everyone’s destiny is to be Bill Gates rich, but if you believe in the Bible shouldn’t your aim be to leave an inheritance for your children’s children? How can you do that when you won’t plan well enough to take care of yourself in the present, much less the future? Leaving the present economy out of the picture, understand that being broke is a state of temporary circumstance; being poor is a state of mind!
After watching Soledad Obrien’s, Black In America: Almighty Debt last year, I wrote that people “use the church as an excuse to be stupid.” Harsh? Yes. But, unfortunately very true. I get tired of hearing people who live beyond their means say, "I tithe, so God will provide." Tithing is not an excuse for poor money management. Don't pick and choose the parts of the Bible you like for convenience. There are hundreds, if not thousands of verses which relate to money and none of them involve tithing being a valid rationale for over spending, under saving and not educating yourself on financial matters.
Related Post: Black In America: Are You Delusional Too?
Other commenters said that there is too much information available out there for people to keep falling prey to the same financial pitfalls and then blaming everyone else. Wouldn’t that be the same with the church then? I live in Atlanta where the news is peppered each night with the latest Bishop Eddie Long scandal. For the last few weeks, the phenomena has been how Ephren Taylor, apparently a fast talking swindler, came in and robbed church members of nearly $1 million after a “guaranteed” investment went sour. According to GodDiscussion.com, “Parishioners invested substantial sums of money, with some investments ranging from $10,000 to over $200,000, representing their lifetime savings. . . Long allegedly told his congregation that everything Taylor said was based "on the word of God." Trusting churchgoers thought that their investments would be sound, based on their pastor's endorsement.”
No matter what Long “endorsed,” there is no way for any investment advisor, specialist or whoever to guarantee people positive returns, much less 100% positive returns. No one should invest their entire life savings in anything if they A) don’t understand it and B) can’t afford to lose it - period. But again, then we’d have to take the responsibility of due diligence off of God and Pastor So n’ So and put it on ourselves and who wants to do that, right? It would be easier to take Pastor’s word and invest in sweepstakes video game machines which ultimately were connected to an illegal gambling ring, then have a healthy level of skepticism and find a financial advisor in the community with a proven track record and maybe even an office that can be popped into when questions arise.
Related Post: How To Set Financial Goals You Can Achieve
As I always say, the decisions we make still come back to our mindset.
At the end of the day . . . . .
Results are based on actions.
Actions are based on thoughts.
Thoughts are based on beliefs.
Beliefs are based on information or indoctrination.
And, well for many of us, that somehow only goes back to the church.
So, here is this week’s question, Is the Black Church Really To Blame? Should we add the Black church to the growing list of financial scams in our community right along with rentable spinning rims and title pawn loans OR should individuals stop using the church as an excuse and take personal responsibility for their personal finances?
Until Next Time,
Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth & Be Blessed