There is only one other context when we hate the church more than when its too involved in politics: when it talks about money. I know a couple who stopped attending church, when their congragation asked them for a donation while they were in college. Indeed, I know very well some congregations whose main worry is not preaching the Word and serving God's people in this world, but guarding the endowment.
Being brought up in Poland, I was told by my Nana, that polite people don't talk about money: "Its vulgar" she would say "Intelligent people have other topics of polite conversation." And when I watch very well known televangelists preaching prosperity Gospel ("Give money to the church, and God will give you more in return") in makes me sick to the stomach. I remember with fondness this Sunday's passage about Jesus and the money changers in the temple, and how he threw them out.
But there is another side to the story. Most people who criticize church and its "money talk" seem to assume we sleep on money. We don't. The New England white steeple for many means old money, and lots of it–and that is perhaps the biggest urban legend. The couple whom I mentioned earlier who stopped attending church, was asked to donate 20 bucks a year. They would spend more on booze and partying in one evening. We like to enjoy church (well, OK, some of us do) but seem to think God picks up the tab.
What is the the right balance? When and how should the church talk about money? Should it at all? I am curious about your thoughts.