Notes on grace and flapdoodle
It seems to me that a common but unconsidered algorithm in US discourse goes like this:
Does this option have costs? Reject it.
Does this option have benefits? Accept it.
a. an option should be viewed as acceptable if its benefits exceed its costs, and
b. our conceptual separation of costs and benefits as categorically different is flawed.
2. The concept of costly grace, and "cheap grace" as being spurious.
The human desire for cheap grace and the fact that no real grace is cheap is one example.
But another that everyone who has had or been a decent parent or friend knows that the tough times of the relationship typically provide its greatest value.
In Christianity, we are asked to love God with every atom of our beings. And it is that dedication that provides the life-giving relationship.
And, a belated think,
3. That it is a gift of the church to receive gifts given specifically for God's glory and to do holy work.
(Obviously, #2 is more important than this, as more general.) Christian churches and their representatives should recognize that in asking for gifts for their communities they are not soliciting funds for expenses, though gifts go to pay expenses, among other things. Instead they offer the opportunity to give really freely. (So does almsgiving to strangers, so can charitable giving. But those have got culturally polluted with guilt over a false sense of responsibility for another's soul, and with desire to get credit for generosity. Of course, the ownership and credit thing screws up church giving as well.)