"Ministry Of Money" Supplemental
Why Don't You Ask For A Cadillac?
By John B
Upon reading MAM's article "Ministry of Money", I was reminded of an evening my wife and I spent at our pastor's house in the mid 1980s. It was a social occasion, but it turned out to be rather enlightening, adding to that stack of clues that meant "I Should Have Known"...
Mr. G was our pastor. Mr. P was our associate pastor. I was just a grunt, ordained to nothing, but I was a pretty good Chinese chef, so when Mr. G's parents came to visit from out of state, Mr. G invited me to come and cook for his house guests. My wife also attended the dinner, and she was the one who got the enlightenment and later shared it with me (I was too busy with the wok to hear any of what was said).
While I was working in the kitchen, my wife sat at the dining table with Mrs. G and Mr. G's parents. Mr. and Mrs. P were also present. Mr. G himself was putzing around trying to help me and getting in my way.
Mr. G's father was also a pastor-ranked minister, and quite elderly. Apparently he and his wife were not fully aware that my wife and I were not part of the inner circle, and they talked quite freely. Mrs. G Sr. talked about how the women in her local church area gave her "tithes" out of their gardens. There was so much produce coming her way, she said, that she couldn't use it all. So what did she do - give it to the widows and fatherless? No, she dug a pit and buried it, creating a compost heap.
My wife almost threw up.
During the course of the conversation it came up that Mr. P was going to get another car from Pasadena. I'm not sure why he needed one, since he was already driving a rather late model "company" car, but I guess it was time, for whatever reason.
"Why don't you ask for a Cadillac?" Mr. G Sr. suggested.
"I'm going to get a van," Mr. P said. He had two kids.
"Get a Cadillac!" Mr. G Sr. insisted. "You might as well. It doesn't cost you anything!"
My wife reported later that Mr. P, fully aware that "unordained" people were present, managed a sick little smile across his rapidly reddening face.
I was blissfully unaware of all of this at the time. My wife told me all about it later, but I was still too steeped in shit to pay that much attention. I just decided that Mr. G Sr was insensitive and let it go at that. My wife took it more seriously than I did, but also remained in the church another half dozen years until we quit together. But when I finally woke up and told her I was going to quit, she was ready to go.
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