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Advice Column about Fundie Fundraising for Missions


Mela99

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I'm a big fan of Dear Prudence. This was posted yesterday.

 

Q. My brother-in-law is God’s telemarketer.: My husband’s brother has done well in life—he has a great job, comfortable life, and a beautiful family. He recently decided to give up his job and home to go on a mission to serve as year-round staff at a wilderness Christian camp, family in tow. To do this, he must fundraise about $40,000 a year and recently approached my husband for funds. Neither of us wants to donate as we feel like this mission is motivated as much by his desire get back to the outdoorsman lifestyle he loves as it is by piety, and we are not convinced of the mission’s worth. I would rather donate to a charitable cause in line with my personal beliefs (I’m not Christian). Finally, things are tight—we have good jobs but live in an area with a high cost of living and feel pinched. Is there a polite way to reject future fundraising for this endeavor?

A: What a great setup for him: “I’d like to live in the woods, please send money.” I genuinely hope he gets it! Tell him you’re happy for him but money is tight, and moreover you prefer to give, when you can, to nonreligious charities. Hopefully he’ll understand that just because he’s found his dream job, it’s not the responsibility of his friends and relatives to pay his salary. At the very least, he lives in the wilderness, so he probably can’t call very often.

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Prudie! I'm slowly warming to the new Prudie, but I still read every question and wonder what Emily Yoffe's response would be.

 

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What is it with these dimwits and their "ministries"? Do they think that most of society is so dumb that we can't figure out that the "We're moving to the French Riviera to spread the word of God (the RIGHT God, that is), and we'll be headquartered in a villa with a swimming pool. Of course we've had to quit our jobs at home and we don't speak a second language,but we'll be wonderful at this, I know. How about some money for our mission?" plot has been played out a million times over already? Please. It's an insult to our intelligence. 

I have an aunt and uncle who are wonderful people but piss-poor money managers. About eight years ago, after they declared bankruptcy for the third time and my uncle was no longer able to work for health reasons, my aunt announced that she and several women from church were starting a ministry to help families and people in the immediate aftermath of a fire or natural disaster. Great intentions, but soon my aunt was working 70 hours a week on this thing, unpaid, while she and my uncle were begging for money to pay their rent and bills. My uncle's health truly makes him unable to work, but does this mean my aunt would find a PAYING job? Oh heavens no, that would "interfere with the mission". Several family members informed her that her FIRST mission is to take care of herself and her family. No reason she can't do the ministry on the weekends. But God forbid she take any time from the mission. We all have up with her. We live her, but no cash is headed her way. 

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I've known plenty of people who worked at religious camps.  Maybe Jewish camps are different, but all the staff members I knew were paid.  What the fuck kind of camp makes staff raise their own salary to be there?  If this guy's camp is in the US, I don't know how he gets away with calling it a mission.

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The new Prudie turned me off when she told a writer, who has a long distance relationship with her boyfriend and kissed a guy she met in a bar, to 'fess up to her boyfriend and have a discussion about it with him.

If it really went no further than a kiss, and the writer said she felt guilty about it and had already decided never to do it again, I just don't see any benefit in talking to him about it.  It just seemed like a huge overreaction to a kiss.

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5 hours ago, Screamapillar said:

Prudie! I'm slowly warming to the new Prudie, but I still read every question and wonder what Emily Yoffe's response would be.

 

Mallory Ortberg was raised fundie (I believe her father is a minister?)  so I have a real affection for her. Besides, she's very funny.

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1 hour ago, kpmom said:

The new Prudie turned me off when she told a writer, who has a long distance relationship with her boyfriend and kissed a guy she met in a bar, to 'fess up to her boyfriend and have a discussion about it with him.

If it really went no further than a kiss, and the writer said she felt guilty about it and had already decided never to do it again, I just don't see any benefit in talking to him about it.  It just seemed like a huge overreaction to a kiss.

I agree with you, and Emily would have as well.  Telling the boyfriend about a one-time indiscretion might alleviate the LW's conscience, but the cost would be transferring the burden to him and damaging his trust in her and probably ruin the relationship.  The LW's penance is carrying this by herself, and not doing it again.

Mallory turned me off in the first couple months when her replies were so lazy that she kept saying "I don't know, let's see what the readers have to say."  When I've seen her give advice herself, a lot of it is really harmful, like that writer whose relationship will now probably end.

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It so happens that I have come up with an excellent plan for how to afford the charity work I want to do. I will gladly share it with the would-be wilderness missionary in question.

Step One: Have a full-time job.

Step Two: No, actually there's just the one step. I volunteer during my time off.

It would be really nice to be able to spend all our time doing exactly what we feel like, but the reality is that for most people that just isn't possible. Most people have to put in some effort to get the things that they want. Charitable work is great and many missionaries work incredibly hard, but putting yourself in a position of having to grub $40,000 a year from your employed family and friends so you can go have fun in the woods isn't a sustainable life plan. 

I'm sure he could either find a legitimate paying job working at a camp or volunteer some of his time in the summer... if it was really about that rather than just wanting to have someone fund his permanent vacation.

If this were my relative and I wanted to keep the peace, though, I would probably fudge the truth a little and say I just didn't have the money to donate.

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I have a friend finishing a graduate degree, and instead of getting a job like the rest of us suckers, she's relying on a Go Fund Me campaign to pay her rent. Grrrrr.

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Well, I have a brother who has a steady full time job and his wife also has a steady full time job. Their child receives free childcare through  a work program but they both believe my mother, living off a small pension, really needs to kick in cash monthly to help them raise their kid. I think their mission is called "I Am A Jerk And I Guilt My Elderly Mom Into Supporting My Family" (The IAAJAIGMEMISMF Mission). I found out and told him off because that is elder abuse and I won't put up with it for a second. Sheesh, they make far more than my mom ever did on her own and raising kids by herself. Like, 4 times the income. 

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1 hour ago, Cats B4 Quivers said:

Well, I have a brother who has a steady full time job and his wife also has a steady full time job. Their child receives free childcare through  a work program but they both believe my mother, living off a small pension, really needs to kick in cash monthly to help them raise their kid. I think their mission is called "I Am A Jerk And I Guilt My Elderly Mom Into Supporting My Family" (The IAAJAIGMEMISMF Mission). I found out and told him off because that is elder abuse and I won't put up with it for a second. Sheesh, they make far more than my mom ever did on her own and raising kids by herself. Like, 4 times the income. 

Can I call your brother and his wife worthless sacks of shit?  Because they are.  They need to get down on their knees and thank the heavens to not have childcare expenses, then hang their heads in shame for trying to make an elderly woman on a small pension pay them more money.

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Every year we have a "Go Fund Me" account for the medical/nursing students who go to Africa with me to do community health. It is a great experience for them it is a way for friends and family to support the entire group. It has nothing to do with religion it is just an educational/life experience. We do raise enough to pay for about 60% of their airfare and buy medical supplies , biggest thing that comes out of the campaign are other medical professional who volunteer to come also donated outdated (here in the US) medical equipment. 

Today in the parking lot of Trader Joe's, two people came up to me collecting donations for a Christian rehab program and I explained to them I do not donate to those type of programs-long discussion of why. 

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years ago, a guy my husband knew from college got sucked into Campus Crusade.  He went off to Africa to teach their famers how to grow tomatoes (he was not a farmer himself)  He bummed money from all his old buddies (we declined, because really?)  He became involved with them full time for many years, and I believe, though can't prove it, that he had to raise all or most of his annual income every year he worked there, by asking his family and friends. 

 

Oh, wait.... https://www.cru.org/about/donor-relations/how-staff-members-raise-their-support.html

 

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20 minutes ago, countressrascal said:

Every year we have a "Go Fund Me" account for the medical/nursing students who go to Africa with me to do community health. It is a great experience for them it is a way for friends and family to support the entire group. It has nothing to do with religion it is just an educational/life experience. We do raise enough to pay for about 60% of their airfare and buy medical supplies , biggest thing that comes out of the campaign are other medical professional who volunteer to come also donated outdated (here in the US) medical equipment. 

This sounds like a good program and I would happily donate to something like that. It actually helps people in a practical way while giving the students good experience in their field.

To me that is completely different than asking your family and friends to support you with $40,000 a year indefinitely while you go have fun living in the woods with some unclear purpose.

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6 minutes ago, Mercer said:

This sounds like a good program and I would happily donate to something like that. It actually helps people in a practical way while giving the students good experience in their field.

To me that is completely different than asking your family and friends to support you with $40,000 a year indefinitely while you go have fun living in the woods with some unclear purpose.

Thanks we are going to Zambia again to teach locals to become Health Care Workers also work with local mid-wives. Big win this year is that we have two cardiologist and GYN Onco coming so we can offer more training and services.  I always want to post on John Schader's FB we are doing a lot more in 14 weeks than you will ever do. I will see if the fund is still open and I will email it to you.

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38 minutes ago, salex said:

years ago, a guy my husband knew from college got sucked into Campus Crusade.  He went off to Africa to teach their famers how to grow tomatoes (he was not a farmer himself)  He bummed money from all his old buddies (we declined, because really?)  He became involved with them full time for many years, and I believe, though can't prove it, that he had to raise all or most of his annual income every year he worked there, by asking his family and friends. 

 

Oh, wait.... https://www.cru.org/about/donor-relations/how-staff-members-raise-their-support.html

 

I knew a lot of those people in college. Two of them got married and tried to make a go of it as a career but as far as I know she stays at home and he manages a fast food franchise... 

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7 minutes ago, Mela99 said:

I knew a lot of those people in college. Two of them got married and tried to make a go of it as a career but as far as I know she stays at home and he manages a fast food franchise... 

Our friend never married.  he liked a girl who was also working for campus crusade and didn't get permission to marry her, back in the early 80s.  I just went to linked in, and he is now retired and volunteering at his church.  

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I hate hate hate bullshit missions. Snowboarding missions? Bullshit. Camping missions? Bullshit. Most missions? Largely questionable bullshit.

And this is coming from a conservative Christian.

Shhh, don't tell my church body. (Jk, just saying it's a controversial view around here [emoji1])

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I am sad to see all the hate towards Mallory. She is literally one of my favorite humorists. I go to The Toast and read her posts whenever I need a pick me up. I can't even count how many times I have reread her "Dogs I Would Like To Own In Art, Even Though They Are Probably Dead Now" article and it makes me laugh each and every time. I always thought her Bible Verses with words replaced series would go over well with the FJ crowd.

This is the sort of thing that takes time to adapt to. Her answer here is pretty solid IMO.

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$40,000 through donations is tax-free, which is like making $55,000 before taxes here in America.  When they're wanting that for third-world-country living, they're living like royalty!

Artdecades, sharing a sense of humor doesn't mean someone's a good advice columninst.  A lot of her LWs' letters don't get answered by her because she says "let's see what the readers have to say because I don't know."  She's a single, childless 20-something in New York getting a lot of questions about marriages and kids, and really doesn't have life experience to draw from for a column of this type.

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I've had friends who went on staff for InterVarsity or who have gone overseas on missions. Most of these folks do have to raise about $40K each year in support. A lot of the fundraising is done at the church and parachurch group level, though I do definitely see the letters requesting support from individuals that come through.  However, a lot of missions expect a portion of that $40K to be used to buy supplies for the mission as a whole.  For instance, someone I know who worked as a missionary in Ghana had to raise $40K per year. He lived in a small 2  room hut/house that was clean and definitely nicer than what a lot of folks in that country have, but a good chunk of what he raised went to pay for supplies to drill wells and stuff like that.

I tend to question some of the missions I get asked to support (like - no lie - someone asking for support to open a Christian-themed roller rink in Appalachia), but I'm careful where I say that because I know it's not a popular view in most of my circles, too.  I do give to some folks that I think are well-organized and doing good work, but there are definitely some strange things going on out there.

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2 hours ago, Jingerbread said:

$40,000 through donations is tax-free, which is like making $55,000 before taxes here in America.  When they're wanting that for third-world-country living, they're living like royalty!

Artdecades, sharing a sense of humor doesn't mean someone's a good advice columninst.  A lot of her LWs' letters don't get answered by her because she says "let's see what the readers have to say because I don't know."  She's a single, childless 20-something in New York getting a lot of questions about marriages and kids, and really doesn't have life experience to draw from for a column of this type.

Maybe it's a generational thing since I am also a single 20-something in a big city, or maybe I am just an a-hole but I don't really look at these types of columns for actual advice. It's more of a chuckle at the situation and seeing what the person comes up with. I am not claiming to be representative of all readers, I just really have a bit of a friend-crush on Mallory.

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For a while I routinely got these pleas for donations for high school and college aged cousins to go on Praycations to the Caribbean.  I never donated.  

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There's a girl I went to school with who is involved in some big church in Chicago that is always posting for funds to go on trips to "minister" to people in the Carribean. I asked her once what she would be doing and her first response was bringing the gospel so I declined. Then she started adding things about teaching kids to read (the Bible) and helping build a church...

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