Friday, June 22, 2007

kiss the ass that feeds you, Part II

*Disclaimer - The following report is kept as it was written a week ago or so, thus reflecting how I feel about missionaries and their support networks at that time. I am currently in the process of rethinking some things based on conversations I've had with my friend Miller both on this blog and face to face. It is good to know that there are supporters that have no expectation from the missionary and give freely. However, I'm still convinced there is always some degree of ass-kissing in order to receive money, even if it's a very small scale dog-n-pony show.

Agent B

(a work in progress)


In “mission work”, the ultimate “boss” is (or should be) the CEO of the universe.

However, most missionaries that fall under #1 & 2 (listed in the previous post) have human bosses. These bosses eventually call the shots. If you don’t believe me, try being a Baptist missionary that wants to have an occasional beer. Or a church of christ (coc) missionary in Africa whose congregation decides to worship with drums. Your support will be gone faster than Oprah on a baked ham.

For several years I have been highly critical of missionaries who fall under options #1 or 2, primarily due to their desire for financial security as opposed to what the CEO might have for them. Thus, they must dance to the tune or follow the whims of their employer/supporters rather than the calling of the CEO. It’s an issue of security vs. faith.

I felt justified in this judging these missionaries because I have myself been a missionary under all three options and felt like I had earned the right to criticize what would appear to be “lack of faith” and good ole ass-kissing.

Ass-kissing, as in, gotta please “the boss”. “These people pay me. I’ve got to do what they want.” Makes sense. In any employment situation, who would honestly pay you money to do whatever the hell YOU wanted?

Somehow, I think Acts 5:29 can be inserted into this conversation without too much of a stretch: “we must obey god rather than men”. These “men” could possibly be a missionaries supporters, or maybe a church.

My human fallacy was to judge others for not doing “mission work” the way I do. And that, I confess, is wrong of me. If the CEO can speak through Balaam’s ass (or an ass like me), then why couldn’t he use a fear-ridden missionary who is trying to pay his or her bills.

So, this is not to be a statement that missionaries raising support are not of the CEO or etc.

But, seriously: if the CEO of the universe has called you to be a missionary, would he not provide? Would he not put you in a situation that you could handle? Why bother dancing to the whims of humans who support you today, and tomorrow could flip you off?


Leanne said...

Maybe #1 and #2 are part of the mission, ya know?

Maybe it's not mission work FOR others, #1 or #2 as much as it's HIS mission work in you?

Like, how refining was it to go through #1 and #2. I don't know about you but it just blew me away and made me question all of my preconceived ideas, my expectation of others and the 'role' they played, my expectations of God, etc.

I dunno. I think you can always just follow the CEO not matter which model of support you think He's called you to employ.

It's hellisly hard. I'll give you that, but it can be done.

When I worked for a mission sending agency I remember realizing that it wasn't the people 'out there' that God was asking me to serve as much as it was the assholes who happened to be my brothers-in-Christ that He said to minister to.

'Out there' was a piece of cake. It took very little effort for me to reach out and love the lost. Same today. Asking me to do the same WITH those who profess my faith so that I can be 'sent' to the lost............uh, that's something I haven't been able to stomach-yet.

Not sure I ever will. For me, it's about control. I truly want to control how, when, where, and to whom I do ministry. I simply don't want to be bothered w/ those who I view as getting in the way.

Add them holding on to the purse strings and all kinds of things about myself and my character pop up that make me just wild/crazy inside. I think it's because I only want to submit to God the way I know to be the easiest-trust in the manna.

I think I make it harder on myself than it has to be and I think I leave a lot of people out when I refuse to deal w/ my intolerance for how I feel being supported by them requires me to be.

It's really all about me.
I don't like that so much.


miller said...

"However, I'm still convinced there is always some degree of ass-kissing in order to receive money, even if it's a very small scale dog-n-pony show."

i'm becoming convinced that you're hopelessly cynical...

whats up with that?


Agent B said...

Cynical? I was very serious with that quote.

RCM- Steve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RCM - Steve said...

Hey B,

Just commented on part 1, as well.

I'm not quite sure what this is all about.

Is there hypocrisy in the arena of fund raising? Yes. There's falleness in every area of His church.

Do we get hurt by the expectations of others? Yes. But I get hurt by my own expectations, as well, even ones I think are noble, though most of the time by the ones that are tainted by self (me).

Shouldn't it be better than having to kiss ass or be pulled by puppet strings? Yep. But I remember that all employment comes with hassles, obligations, detriments, and less-than-ideal obligations attached to it. I think it's probably part of the "curse" (may be incorrect there, theologically).

Is a worker worthy of his hire? Biblically, absolutely, including missionaries, clergy, and all workers for His kingdom. Would that we (all Christians and me) could embrace liberal giving as a way of life. How much hope and help and healing could happen in our world. Alas, I'm selfish deep inside, and it doesn't help that I'm an American, indoctrinated into "finding renewed happiness" in the continual purchasing of items. I think many others are so afflicted.

Can the hardships attached to finding viable income/raising support be used of God? I'm highly inclined to say yes. My old boss was very independent, answering to almost no one. Thank God he wasn't a tyrant. But there was hardly ever any real discussion with him, and when he set an agenda, it was all ahead full, no matter what the cost. But on a number of occasions I saw the Lord use what I believe was a check & balance of my boss's ideas by having the funding dry up. It seemed it was the only way to provide him with some accountability when things were getting out of hand. This example doesn't necessarily apply to you or to me, but the CEO is truly in charge, and He certainly seems to have a purpose behind the supplying of our finances, the lack thereof, or the process we must go through to get our needs met.

It takes faith. And along with every other spiritual virtue, it doesn't come natural to me.

Mark said...

A great conversation on money and missions: