There are probably at least four taboos in society or four hot subjects that we would rather not talk about. Or if we did talk about them, we would choose very carefully the company with which they were discussed. They are sex, religion, politics and money. Sex, probably less so these days as it seems for the last 15 years or longer the Church has done nothing but talk about sex. Religion, because we are a “polite society” and we wouldn’t want to be seen as “pushy . . . one of those people” or pigeon holed into a particular stance or seen to be converting others. Politics, well let’s face it, that is a subject best left to the voting booth where you know what you are going to do and I know about what I am going to do. Unless you currently live South of the border where it seems very clear what everyone should be doing. Then there is money. No one likes to talk about money, especially in church. Money is so closely tied to our beliefs and values that we would rather talk about any of the other taboos instead.
In Ancient Israel they would have probably added a fifth taboo, eating and socializing with “sinners.” Jesus decides he is going to do what he does best and confront at least one of the taboos of the day. He decides to go to the house of Zacchaeus. You can picture the commotion. People are talking.
But you and I both know as does anyone who has ever raised children or grandchildren, these are all subjects that we need to talk about sooner or later. Taboos or not, sinners or not there always comes the time when we need to have these conversations with ourselves, our families and children and yes even our church, because here too we are family.
As with our children we know that we need to have these conversations because it is part of building and developing healthy relationships within the family and our children. We want them to grow and develop into adults where they can make informed choices for themselves. We have these conversations because we know that it is important for us, as the parents and adults, to control the conversation and the subject instead of the letting the subject control or drive the conversation for us. When the subject controls the conversation, it is too late because our options and choices become limited. So inevitably we take a deep breath, are brave and enter into these conversations so that we can have an open and informed conversation where we raise children to be able to make an informed choice.
The same goes for us as a church family. We are family, and as at home we are the adults where we need to take control of the subject of money so that we are in a position to make an informed choice with all the options available to us.
We are blessed as a parish family because we are still in a position to have an open honest conversation with ourselves. Too often churches and clergy avoid talking about money. We would rather pretend that the money will sort itself out; we hope that the subject will just go away and we pray that we above all do not have to deal with it. Too often churches find themselves in a position where their choices are limited.
So we need to talk about money, just as we need to talk about all the other taboo subjects. Why? Because this is about building and maintaining healthy relationships with one another and as a parish family. That is why Jesus went to the house of Zacchaeus, because Jesus is concerned about fostering relationships, even with people and subjects we don’t like to talk about. As we know, when it comes to building relationships; that very much is the business and driving force of any church anywhere.
To help us have a better understanding of the money that God has entrusted to us – remember it is ultimately God’s money, Harold our treasurer (link to speech) is going to share with us a few words about where we currently stand and what we need in order to develop the vision, goals and priorities that we have set as a church.