I went on a business trip to Florida last week, and I'm a little concerned about the spate of churches I saw there. The problem isn't the number, but the type. Many looked like the sort of places that shouldn't be a 503c. This isn't a thinly-veiled political comment insinuating that churches that disagree with my political beliefs shouldn't get tax write-offs.
Every one of their signs pointed to a name-it-and-claim-it, send me money and God will bless you mindset and theology. If they only fed on those who could use a little less attachment to their money, they could be accused of philanthropy. Unfortunately, they don't go after those people because they aren't easy victims.
It's the people in desperate situations who fall for this sort of pseudo-spiritual shucksterism.
Because I don't hang out with the health-and-wealthers anymore, I've failed to notice that this shallow doctrine marches on. Americans want to believe. We want to believe that there's an easy solution just around the corner. We want to believe that God or some other divine element in the universe will give us loads of money if we just follow ten simple steps.
If there is a divine element in the universe and that element is benevolent, it will never make our lives that easy. It's not in our best interest.
So, what can you do? If you have elderly loved ones in your life, make sure they're not getting tangled up in this stuff. If you know people that are into this sort of theology, challenge them to seek a deeper doctrine. A doctrine which doesn't gloss over Jesus' actual teachings and the sufferings of Job. And if you meet the health-and-wealthers, remind them just how difficult it is for a wealthy man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Particularly if the wealthy man's pockets are filled with money taken from the poor.