Upset at Generosity

I blogged earlier this week about the shoes that were donated to Soles4Souls.org through the simple act of leaving our church barefoot.  The Concord Monitor got wind of this and did a small write-up in the paper.  What seemed like a great act of charity that would provide shoes for those who have none has whipped up quite a dust storm of controversy in the comments that people have left on the online version of the article.  Today I posted a response.  Here it is:

I guess I am not quite sure how to start this comment. As I have read through all of the other comments below I have gone through a cycle of emotions. Please hear my heart as I write the following statements.

Our desire to is to help others. From the very humble beginnings of Grace Capital Church meeting in a home until now we have desired to be a blessing to our community and the world. Every year we strive to give away more than we did the year before. In 2007 we gave away 31% of everything that came into the church. Those financial contributions went outside of the church to those in need. Whether helping the homeless here in the Capital Region or drilling clean water wells in Rwanda, Africa we desire to provide for those who have nothing.

It goes beyond financial giving though. Our desire is not to seek our own prosperity as some may think. We truly understand the Biblical principle that “to whom much is given, much is required.” We have an amazing congregation filled with giving people. People who go out into the neighborhoods and serve their communities. At the Pembroke/Allenstown Old Home Days we gave freely to rent 4 inflatable obstacle courses to be used throughout the day to give children and families a place to enjoy each other. We did not charge for that, we wanted to simply bless the community that we are a part of. That same day, people from GCC went to stores and purchased popsicles with their own money to hand out to people walking down to the event. Every Saturday morning you will find people from GCC as well as many other area churches at the Friendly Kitchen serving up fantastic meals to those who come to be fed. These same people have a van that is set up in the parking lot where they hand out water, socks, underwear, sleeping bags and tents to those who have no homes. We care and so we serve those in need.

Our desire as a church is not to be self-serving but to serve others. We buy our Starbucks coffee at wholesale prices and sell it at our Cafe for prices lower than what you would pay at Dunkin’ Donuts. Over the past 4 years we have given away all of the profits from the sales of that coffee – amounting to thousands of dollars. We host blood drives in our facility, community gatherings, and public school events. Our student ministry serves young people from Concord and surrounding towns a free meal on the last Wednesday of each month. Our facility has been made open to many local agencies including the Town of Pembroke when they needed a location to hold a town meeting.

If you were to attend one of our two services on a Sunday morning you would find Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and even Green Party members welcomed with open arms. We are not a political body and will never build walls of division because of political issues. We encourage each person of voting age to research the issues and stance of each politician and to vote with their conscience. Please don’t blame Bush on us, there was a whole country that had the opportunity to vote…

This past week we had a total of 997 pairs of shoes donated to Soles4Souls.org That is a fantastic thing and I celebrate that. I celebrate the generosity of each person who left their shoes on Sunday and walked out barefoot. I celebrate each person who went home and dug through their closets to bring in even more pairs of shoes to be donated. I ALSO celebrate those who are bone marrow donors, blood donors, give to help purchase school supplies for children that can’t afford them, buy Girl Scout Cookies, give to rebuild the Gulf Coast, provide humanitarian aid for victims of flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

I celebrate anyone who can look beyond their own needs and help meet the needs of those around them who can not. As I celebrate you, and the good things that you do, can you join us in celebrating this “good thing” that was done? Can you look beyond issues of faith as I try to do and see that this one simple act of leaving a pair of shoes at a persons church is not something to criticize but to celebrate. Can you look beyond whatever baggage you are carrying around from past hurts and celebrate with us?

I‘d like to think that we are all much better than what has been commented here below. You can choose to disagree with many things that we do, but an act of generosity? Please, at least don’t do it anonymously.

Kevin Twombly
Generations Pastor
Grace Capital Church

My prayer is that people would be slower to criticize a good thing simply because it was done by a church.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda on September 6, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Well said, Pastor Kevin. I was one of those barefoot believers that was totally BLESSED to walk out of church on Sunday without my favorite flips! I did have to have my pride worked over a bit; however, when I had to go to Target right after church and all I could think of what to wear Chip’s old golf shoes into the store as I knew they would disapprove if I didn’t have shoes….and then Abbie took a photo and put it up on Facebook! Great response to the Concord Monitor chicken writers who didn’t want to put their names in! They not only missed the point, but they missed out on the blessing of being barefoot as well.

    Reply

  2. This is a good lesson in Public Relations for churches. The internet will always give a disproportionately strong voice to the coward who can hide behind an anonymous post.
    This is a well crafted response, it is honest without being too reactionary and firm without being judgmental. Well done. A good resource for anyone else who deals with this situation.

    Reply

  3. Posted by saraeden on September 5, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I think this is a beautiful and well written response to some unbelievable criticism. I hope you and the people of your church don’t allow these comments to be a discouragement. I am inspired by the reports of Barefoot Sunday!! Jesus always caused quite a stir with the things he said and called others to do… you’re in good company 🙂

    Reply

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