I am the member of a small house church, yes. I’m only a leader in as much as people are willing to follow my example. I will use the safe network for many subversive endeavors that are not acceptable in the status quo of society as well as the more traditional institutions of religion.
Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. Perhaps I was remiss in my explanation of my objection, so let me put it another way: in the United States all major Christian institutions are 501c3, which means they get tax-exempt status from the govt. So you ‘pay your tithe’ you get a tax write off as a regular member. This alone makes religion attractive; however, it also gives the govt considerable lee-way in controlling what you’re allowed to say from the pulpit. You can’t promote specific political candidates for
example. So, now hopefully this is a little more clear/relevant: when safe is live and govts take a hard stand against it, guess who has to follow suit or fear losing that tax exempt status?
This is what I meant by ;top-down’ control. Churches will not be in the business of supporting something that removes a significant portion of their funding and one of the main attractions of their religion (tax-exempt status). Now, if this is foolish reasoning, let me know, but to me its not so unreasonable.
So, while as a small-time leader you may use it personally and informally, what I’m referring to is the people at or near the top looking at their ‘bottom-line’ and realizing that safe would affect it negatively. Even a loss of 1% can unbalance most institutions financials these days, they’re so leveraged-up. SO if/when safe becomes a big thing, what do you do when at best you’re told to ignore it, and worse told to denounce it? Churches are places of hidden top-down control maintained through bureaucracy, ‘committees’ etc. etc. They make the decisions an the ‘flock’ follows along.
I see institutions being worried about all that you say. I have many acquaintances who are in fact worried about this kind of control. One of the many reasons I refused to get into that situation in the first place. Money (or fear of losing money) is a significant motivator for some.
I could see many who are under that system using safe to say what they really want to say. Still I choose not to be under it to begin with.
Right. I have actually, personally witnessed a small, house church as you put it, transform its message from ‘anti-govt, govt is bad’ to ‘govt will solve our problems’, ;govt is good’ shortly after acquiring 501c3 status. It is a very real concern, especially as you grow in numbers and begin to make serious revenue in tithes/offerings. This mechanism is the main avenue that prevents churches from being vehicles of social change, and thus makes churches (not necessarily the individuals in them) opposed to anything like safe, in my opinion.