Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Uh, This Is Bad - No Wait...
Then I read the piece and ot even more worried:
With the economy gasping for life last spring, about 1.3 million people gathered in 5,600 churches nationwide to behold the nation's leading prophet of personal finance.Yeah, that Elmer Gantry, prosperity gospel, sticky floor in the theater feeling sort of came all over me. But I kept reading.
Televised live from a church in Edmond, Okla., Dave Ramsey's infomercial-style "Town Hall for Hope" was a masterful mix of inspiration, humor, advice, marketing and the Bible from a man dressed in jeans, dark jacket and an open-collar shirt.
Turns out the guy hands out some pretty good advice
- work hard
- live within your means
And the "objections the piece raises are interesting
- He operates as a for profit business
- He once bk'ed
- he charges a lot for his advice services
- he's rich
Hmmmm, now I not so sure what to make of this. I will not conclude this post with a final judgment, but rather trying to establish some standards by how to determine whether this is a good or a bad thing. Certainly the objections they raised in the piece are no measure. There are good rich Christians and they actually charge for their services. If they are good at them, they charge a lot for them. Profit is not inherently evil, and being a ministry is about what you do and how you do it more than whether you structure as a profit or non-profit corp.
The piece is a typically secular take on something that is really a spiritual matter. The fact of the matter is, if we are truly people indwelled by the Holy Spirit seeking to hold other more important than ourselves, then all that we do is ministry, for profit or not.
But then the question is, is there value in what he offers? About this I have no idea. I do think there are many, many people out there that treat Christians purely as a marketplace or demographic and will do whatever it takes to harvest profits from that group. Many by giving people something to absolutely waste their disposable income on. Don't know if that is the case here, frankly, if he is giving out good financial advise, then the charges are justified, both becasue of the value of the advice and becasue people take far more seriously that which they pay for, than that which they receive free of charge.
Frankly, the only thing I do not see in the piece is the only thing I see that truly troubles me - no mention of the tithe. THAT is a significant part of any serious financial plan. But then this piece is written from such a skewed secular perspective, that I have no idea whether he mentions it or not.
The bottom line is that this piece may be one of the best example of the world placing its values on something that we would judge on an entirely different set of criteria. I have no idea if Dave Ramsey is good bad or indifferent - I do know MSNBC doesn't either.