Ben Spackman has been posting the best Sunday school lessons on the internet today. However, life demands have made it impossible for him to continue posting unless we collectively step up and fill the collection plate. I urge you to search your soul and see what you can contribute.
It’s no surprise that Ben’s posts are fantastic. He has several years of high quality graduate school training, an obvious passion for reading and writing about scripture, and raw talent to boot. If his posts weren’t so good, I’d feel much more guilty that we have ceased publishing our own Sunday school lesson notes here at the Feast blog on a regular basis. But Ben’s posts are so good that I think it is perhaps better, ultimately, that we don’t (though, if you’d like to help us out in writing Sunday school posts, or other posts here, please contact me by email: rcouchZZZ@gmail.com, without the ZZZ).
Now, there is a long—and, ironically, scriptural—tradition, especially within Mormonism, to be skeptical of those mingling money and God’s word together. As Mormons, we don’t have a paid clergy (although I do think General Authorities get paid, so it’s not like this is an obvious, hard-and-fast rule). The Mormon definition of priestcraft, after all, includes receiving money for preaching (blogging, in modern terms?) God’s word. Plus, in the modern era of (mostly) free information, with newspapers shutting down left and right, shouldn’t we expect all bloggers to do their writing for free?
These are intriguing and complex questions. And I don’t have time to delve into them, even though I have a lot of thoughts about them. Suffice it to say that I think concerns like this are ill-founded. Research and writing take time, and time is money. And everyone’s circumstances are different. Many non-profit organizations in this day and age rely on benefactors. Ben’s post, which I linked to above, mentions public radio in passing. This is a great example—but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Many of the best and most important parts of modern society depend on some form of philanthropic financing. And we should rejoice in the fact that modern technology has effectively lowered the costs of financing well-deserving undertakings like Ben’s. And, although finance isn’t exactly brain surgery, I do have a PhD in finance—so I’ll happy to blithely dismiss any objections or counter views in the comments below by repeating this fact. :-)