Last night the phone rang. I asked Kevin to get it, but he complained that it probably wasn't for him anyway. PLEASE pick it up, I begged. Well, he did, and it turned out it WAS for him. It was someone from Cal Poly SLO calling, which is the college where we both went to school and where he graduated from. They told him they wanted to update his contact information. Sure, sure, Kevin said, and gave out his email address. (Why, I'm not sure. It's bad enough that they call us at 6:30 p.m.!) THEN, at the end of the phone call, the person said they were "also" wanting to know if he'd be interested in making a contribution to the university. (Clearly the main reason for the call!) And THEN, they proceeded to say, "We are wondering if you can make a minimum donation of $1,000." ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS?! Oh, what a good laugh we shared when he got off the phone and told me about it. I am wondering, with all of the pain and suffering and no-lack-of-good-causes-to-give-money-to in the world today, who on EARTH is going to give $1,000 to a university that made you pay tuition and buy books in the first place?! Are there people out there who feel so strongly for their alma mater that they will shell out a MINIMUM of $1,000 on a whim? To a COLLEGE? (If anyone out there reading this has done that, I apologize! Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye, I don't know.)
A few months ago I got a phone call from a Christian organization called Family Life. Somehow we are on their contact list. They have this radio show which I've heard once or twice. Sometimes there's something good on there but most of the time I think it's kind of cheesy (again, I'm sorry if you like the show. Like I said I HAVE heard decent things on there.) Anyway, a woman called and started telling me (via a script she was reading) about how the family in America is "under attack." She said that babies born out of wedlock are on the rise, homosexuality is widespread, etc. She then went on to say that Family Life is combatting this, so would I please consider giving a minimum donation of $50 to Family Life.
Hee, hee. First of all, my little family unit is doing just fine. I don't feel like my family is personally threatened by teen pregnancy or by gay people. (And anyway I'm wondering if maybe the higher rate of babies born outside of marriage has to do with a declining abortion rate. Fewer abortions means more babies actually being born.) Second of all, sin is sin--in a sense, the family has been under attack since the beginning of time (the snake tempted Eve in the garden, right?) The woman's script mentioned the gay marriage legislation that's always being talked about. Personal convictions/opinions on that aside, let's say that was to pass and they were able to get married. When it comes right down to it, my own marriage will not be affected, so I am not "scared" enough about it to shell out money to Family Life, who was implying that they would somehow be able to stop it. And finally, I am wondering how their half-hour weekly Christian radio show, which to my knowledge only airs on Christian radio stations, is going to help fewer unmarried women become pregnant, or how it is going to stop people from being gay.
So, of course I told the woman I was not interested in giving at this (read: any) time. But it didn't end there. She launched into another section of the script. The family-attack scare tactics hadn't worked, so now she was using what I will call the guilt angle. She told me another set of things about our country, then said how hard Family Life was working to combat them, concluding with, "Sadly, Family Life cannot do this without donations. Will you please consider making a contribution of $30 today?" Yet again, I said no, I was not interested. AND, she replied with something to the effect of (man I wish I could remember the exact words), "Okay, I understand you don't have money to give today." It may not have been exactly that, but the sentiment was the same: you're too broke to give us $30. Because of course NO ONE who actually HAD the money would keep from giving it to Family Life.
The truth is, we have $30 we could give. We have $50 we could give. But I'm sorry, from my vantage point, there are bigger fish to fry, so to speak. I'm sure God uses Family Life to do good things. But in being a good steward of my money, I feel like I should give it away to those who truly need it. I think there are some fundamental, root-issues here that come into play. I won't go into them, but I will say that I truly wish I would have had the guts to press this woman from Family Life for how exactly my $50 or $30 is going to reduce teen pregnancies. If that's a cause I'm passionate about, wouldn't that money be better donated to a crisis pregnancy center, or to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or some other organization that is actually in the field helping at-risk women and men? Aren't most of the Family Life listeners other Christians?
Anyway, I had to share the story about the call from last night, and decided to throw the Family Life one in there too. Am I the only one who thinks about these things? Life never ceases to amuse me. It is always an adventure!