LOL, Cory I loved this post, I could see all sorts of implications here.
We don't ask where the money comes from "for conscience sake", we would rather think of all 'our projects' we could do by taking all that 'filthy lucre', sorry I mean lovely dollars / sterling / euros.
Now as for the talents, we suddenly remember that this is God's house and after all we must be careful to preserve the peace and godliness of God's house.
Hey Cory, this is tongue in cheek but hopefully it will stimulate someone to post something more serious, sorry I'm still smiling thinking about this one.
That is funny. I've seen more churches screwed by Christian companies than not. As a service provider myself, I have had to "fire" more churches for racking up huge bills and then defaulting on them than any other kind of company. Granted, I've only had to fire five clients over the years, but most of them are churches who won't pay their bills.
When I was as kid, I invented an imaginary country, sort of like Narnia. It was peaceful, and the people were essentially Christians. It still exists in my head (just like in Lewis's or maybe some of yours!); but the other day I thought about it and realized that it had no church buildings, and that I was perfectly content to keep it that way. Yet I really love going to and being a part of church. Don't understand it. Part of it is the whole material mess. At least today, the economy is forcing us to use our church buildings as nesting places for lots of purposes that are valuable to the community. Still, if I were to put churches in my imaginary country, they would be small enough to hear music and speech without microphones. Can you imagine how lovely church would be without microphones and amps and digital delay? Clear off the sound board and make the sound table into a dinner table for communion together?
Don't blame me for these thoughts. I'm from Oregon.
Not a fair comparison actually. You are talking about accepting money vs. employing talent. One is coming in, the other is pushing outward.
We put similar restrictions on Preachers and Teachers who are on staff. Since there is a message being put forth, we all feel that it's important that the message sync with our charters and statements of faith etc. If a guy came into our church and "freely" offered to teach, we would first ask about his theological positions and beliefs. Music isn't much different in that respect.
However, with money, it's just money. Once we get it, we budget it and restrict the heck out of it. And if the giver isn't ok with that, we'll give it back. Further, we do care who contributes. If the giver wants to use his contributions to influence the direction of our congregation, we'll say, "no thanks". (We've all seen that monster at work at one time or another, eh?)
In all practical senses, money is worthless without talent. In any economic model, the most valuable asset is the talent, from the people. Why? Because talented people are still talented even if there is no money.
Additionally, money in the hands of untalented money managers is disastrous.
This is about giving. People have only themselves to give. Sometimes that is their money, other times it is their talents. Sometimes it is both. And if we are honest, nobody has either without God gifting it in the first place.
In all practical senses, money is worthless without talent.
But talent is useless without direction. Direction comes from being restricted in some way. It's the bit in the horse's mouth, the rudder on the boat. Whether it's money or musical talent, we have a vision for how it gets used. If it's a pastor, a sweeper, a dishwasher, a counselor, a guitar player or a gardener - it's the same thing. They offer their services and we say, "thank you for coming, here is what I'd like you to do." I don't see how it can be any other way.
we'll take as much of it as they want to give.
I hope it's not like that. There must be some kind of discernment on how it's used and whether or not we receive it. The same should apply to musical talent or otherwise.
I have the feeling that you started this from a specific situation that may have been frustrating you. Is that the case?