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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

LaSalle Street Church: Through the giving glass

Shane Claiborne  (Photo by Enoch Lai)

Sometimes it literally and figuratively pays to view familiar things through a “looking glass” perspective.

Seeing things from opposite vantage points can often serve to sharpen the focus.  Such was the case at LaSalle Street Church in Chicago last September when Pastor Laura Truax made an unusual announcement.

Truax suddenly explained to the congregation that each of the 320 regular attendees would be handed a check for $500.  This money equaled 10 percent of the $1.6 million that the church had received from a real estate deal.
Chicago Associated Press reports that “LaSalle, a non-denominational church, has long been involved in social causes, from feeding homeless families to buying an ambulance for a medical clinic in Niger.”

Recipients of these checks were therefore asked “to do something positive with the money.”  It was left up to each member to decide what that entailed.

Was this a leap of faith on Truax’s part?  Could the congregants simply have kept the money for themselves?  Yes, and yes again…

Nevertheless, Truax’s decision seems in keeping with Jesus’ words:  “For I was hungry, and you fed me…”  As Shane Claiborne has noted, Jesus did not say, “For I was hungry, and you wrote out a check to the United Way…”

In other words, Christianity is all about creating loving relationships, the more directly the better.  In trusting the members to decide for themselves how to share this money wisely, Truax role-modeled a generous path for them to follow.


Copyright November 26, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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