Last night I went with my wife and parents-in-law to see Star of Wonder, the over-the-top Christmas pageant at Phoenix First Assembly of God.
No doubt, it was a wonderful presentation. Check out the promo for yourself.
I enjoyed the story line, the music, the visuals and the general feeling of electricity that pulsated throughout the room as dancers danced, singers sang and the orchestra belted out beautiful Merrytide melodies.
However, I got a little stuck on two things: a) the caged tiger and b) the guilt I felt for not bringing a donation.
So, as my wife said, the tiger’s been trained and all. However, I still felt a pinge of guilt as I stared at this caged tiger walking back and forth in its imprisonment (not to mention the leashed kangaroo). Is that really what Christ’s birth is about – domination of animals for our enjoyment?
The other part that got me was the guilt I felt for not bringing an extra donation. As I got out of my car I thought “I don’t need to bring my wallet in, I won’t want to buy anything.” However, about mid-way through the program Rev. Tommy Barnett (senior pastor at Phoenix First) got up to rally the crowd for donations to the Dream Center in Phoenix. Great ministry, would love to donate…but I didn’t bring my checkbook or my wallet. Paul and Linda paid for our tickets…was that enough? I felt horrible, especially when the bucket went past and there was only six bucks inside. Elizabeth did too, she really wanted to donate to the cause and rightly so. As we drove home we noticed how now that the show was over we felt less guilty about not having a donation to give and not that inspired to write a check and send it back to Phoenix First.
And that’s what got me.
They were using an emotional high to elicit donations from the crowd.
Is that okay?
I don’t know.
I fundraise regularly and I always feel uncomfortable asking for money, even if it is a good cause. Maybe that’s why I’m not quite kosher with this whole fundraising push at Phoenix First.
Is that the way of Jesus?
I’m just not sure.
Kudos to Phoenix First for putting on an awesome show, reaching millions with the Gospel of Christ and doing some solid work at the Phoenix Dream Center. Good on ya’.
I am just personally wrestling with what happened last night, and wondering if that’s the best way to go about it.