here have been quite a few responses to my recent post Radically Christian Q & A. I’d like to share with you one of them. This is from 10 minute email:
“Your post now reminds me of some things that had taken place perhaps a decade or so ago, after I had invited some friends to bible studies, grand evangelical missions, and worship services. I remember them becoming somewhat bitter toward me and how much I prioritized performing my duties as a choir member and attending church activities. My friends were convinced that I was a fanatic, and that the Iglesia Ni Cristo was a cult. Oh, how it frustrated me to hear that during those times, especially since there was so much transparency back then. And how mournful I feel nowadays when I think of those friends, since I haven’t really been in touch with them for ages. Sometimes, I wonder if they’ve seen or heard anything about the INC since then, and I wonder if they think of me. They didn’t see it as the true church back then, and how much more of a cult it must look like now! The idea truly saddens me.
Which brings me to some thoughts about Lingap offerings and events. When INC first launched its INCGiving projects and the Lingap offering, I was so excited. It was an opportunity to invite people to hopefully see what I saw in the church–love among sisters and brothers in the faith, and love for our fellow man. I remember our first big Aid for Humanity (which should really be “Aid to Humanity”, to be grammatically correct) event in Times Square, where we would be distributing care packages and presenting some monetary relief to… the City of New York? Now that I look back, I really don’t remember the exact details because we were standing outside in the cold for maybe two hours, and then I went to the restroom in a nearby McDonald’s right before a representative from city hall came to receive the money we were donating. At any rate, I’d left the event with a good feeling in my heart, and that was pretty much good enough for me at the time.
After having more Lingap events and seeing how we do them, I can’t help wondering whatever happens to the Lingap offerings that are collected every week. Lately, every time we have a Lingap event, leadership calls upon officers and brethren to put together “goodie bags”. (In quotes because that’s what we call the bags of useless trinkets and candy given out at children’s parties. Personally, I hate applying that term to something as important as emergency supplies and care/relief packages.) Mind that the Lingap offering isn’t used to buy the supplies we distribute at these events. No, instead leadership requests that brethren kindly donate these things themselves, and so this begs the question of where the Lingap offering is actually going to, and what is it actually used for. It’s obviously not being used to fund the “goodie bags” that brethren themselves buy and put together. And perhaps I wouldn’t be so bothered by this if leadership didn’t bed and guilt trip people to call out from work and drop everything to attend Lingap events where these “goodie bags” are to be distributed.
And from here, my thoughts spiral into all sorts of red flags over the past couple years, since sometime before the centennial anniversary. But those thoughts are likely better off left for another day.”