Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why I'm not doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I am sure this will not be a popular post, but hey, it IS my blog and I blog about what I think, not what other people think. Maybe no one will even read this post because of the title, but that's OK.

  You'd have to live in a cave far under ground with no internet, TV, radio, or contact with the outside world to not hear of the ALS ice bucket challenge. Someone gets challenged to either dump a bucket of ice water over their head and body to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). If they forfeit, they are supposed to make a financial donation to the ALS Foundation. If they do it, they video tape it and call out a few people they challenge.
  To make my point that this is just a fad and a lot of people don't even know what it is about, I had to google it to see what ALS stood for, and I still don't know anything about the disease. So much for raising awareness of it. And I have been inundated with videos and comments about the challenge.

  I haven't been challenged, and have been hoping I wouldn't be, so I have been careful to not comment on anyone's videos or say much about it on Facebook. I had one co-worker who said he was going to challenge me, as the person he challenged in his video wasn't on Facebook and didn't see it, but that would require him doing it again, which isn't going to happen.

 But if I was challenged, I wouldn't do it, nor would I give a donation to the ALS Foundation. I would most likely give to the place of my choice to prove I am not tightfisted with my money, but I would not - will not - do the ice bucket challenge. Why? I am so glad you asked!

  There are a few reasons:

1) I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I know how unpleasant dumping ice cold water over my body would be. And then to video myself doing it? Nope. I am smart enough not to do it.

2) I'm careful who I donate to. From what I read, only 7% of the donations actually go toward helping with a cure or whatever they use it for. The rest goes to pad the pockets of people in the foundation, and some of them are making a lot more money than I'll ever see.

 This will sound crass, but being I didn't even know what ALS stood for until I googled it, in spite of being inundated with videos, nor do I know anything about the disease, or anyone that has it..... so why should I dump cold water on myself and/or give money towards it? I'd rather give money to Christian organizations and/or pro-life organizations.

  And before you wonder or ask, I do give money to a ministry that is close to my heart. What it is, and how much I give, is for me to know, and for you......to not know. (And I say that with a smile)

 3) I saw the above picture on Facebook and had to look up the Scripture reference to see what it said:“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. "(NLT)

  It is a OK thing - actually a good thing - to raise awareness of a disease, though as I have pointed out, I am not sure it has raised that much awareness. Maybe I am the only person who had to look it up. But as Christians, should we be making such a public scene about our giving, or lack of giving if we do it to avoid giving a donation? And if we make a video to avoid giving, whether you think its a good cause or not, what does that say about us?

4) It is a fad. I have done fads before. I bought the Rick Warren book "A Purpose Driven Life" and was all rah rah about it for a while, and other fads, but I have tried to avoid fads. And is this ever a fad. If I were a betting man, and I am not - for the same reason I won't dump ice water over my head - I would bet that there are tons of people doing it because its a fad. They don't care about ALS. They have no clue what it is, but everyone is making these videos, so they bring out the camera or cell phone, fill up a bucket with ice cold water, and show the world what they look like soaking wet while shrieking from self-inflicted misery.

 There are those who criticize anyone who tries to make these points, or similar points. It isn't popular to go against popular culture and the crowd, and that is what the ice bucket challenge is: popular culture and everyone jumping on the newest fad.

  Yes, it has raised a lot of money to make the foundation people more comfortable in the lifestyles they have grown accustomed to (OK, that sounded really jaded) - and a small percentage has gone to help fight the disease or find a cure (see, even after all of those videos, I STILL don't know where the money goes that doesn't line pockets).

 But I still say as Christians we have a responsibility to give to causes that are Christian, or at least important to us. Have someone who has ALS? By all means donate and raise awareness, but instead of making a video of you shrieking and wet, make a video telling what ALS is. Where the money goes that is donated. Know someone who has cancer? Everyone does. Do something there.

 As for me. I still hope no one challenges me, but if they do, I will quietly donate to the ministry of my choice, One where I know what the money will be used for, and where it will help a cause near and dear to my heart.

And one more reason:

5) It is kind of dumb. You make a video to tell people you are NOT donating money to the cause. Isn't that kind of weird?

And if you are thinking evil thoughts about me because of this post, consider this: I only did what the video makers did (so am I weird too? Nah, I was already werird) - I stated I am not donating, though I gave reasons why - and I raised awareness of ALS. So maybe I should challenge 3 people to blog about why they aren't donating? Nah. I'll just leave it at that :)

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