Monday, October 31, 2011

Man on Side of the Road

Yesterday I experienced a searing case of cognitive dissonance.

I was driving to church for the 8:30 service.  To get to my church, I drive about 2.5 miles to get to the interstate.  Then I have to turn left at a light to get onto I-75.  Sitting at the light, I saw a man who was obvious cold and in need of something.  It was 32 or 33 degrees yesterday morning, with frost.  I locked my door.  As we sat there, he approached a man in a van who just shook his head, and then the car behind me.  The light turned and I went on.

Of course, the sermon I then heard was on giving.

If the man had approached me, I assure myself, I would have given him a fiver.  What can he do with a fiver?  It might buy a few beers, but it also might buy him enough gas to get home or a sandwich.  It wouldn't buy any high-priced drugs or pot.  But I didn't want him to approach me, I didn't want to deal with him.

The cognitive dissonance is not just about that man, who is one snowflake on the iceberg, not even the tip.  People are hurting, sometimes from their own bad choices, sometimes by no fault of their own whatsoever.  The pastor was talking about how few people in the church tithe; I do  and then some, (but not all to the church, despite what people say about storehouse tithing.  I don't consider tithing a New Testament responsibility; I consider careful stewardship to be one, with a tithe a minimal response to that responsibility.

Mallard Fillmore comic strip the other day, "I do support taxes . . . on people who buy Halloween costumes for their pets."  We can be so much more frugal than we are so that we can be so much more liberal.

All that doesn't get me off the hook.  Maybe we should have a roll of fives to give worthy panhandlers who might really be in need, not just panhandlers.

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