First, I want to thank everyone for helping though my angst about the million dollar Twitter contest. Turns out I'm a nice guy after all and shouldn't worry so much. So I’m sleeping better at night, but still feeling a bit of a celebrity twat. Here’s why.
I was heavily involved in the Pentecostal Church when I was in junior high, taking everything they said to heart. I was the kid passing out Chick Tracts at school while everyone else was concerned with titties and masturbating without guilt every chance they could get. (What’s that even like?)
And though I'm now miles from what you would call a practicing evangelical, a lot of the teaching I received from that time in my life still sticks with me. After all, good advice is good advice. Doesn’t matter where it comes from. Nowadays I’ll take a spiritual lesson from wherever I get it: Jesus, Buddha or the guy who cuts me off on the 101.
This is from the New Testament, Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV) "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
I’ve always used that as the general rule for my charity giving. It’s tough to do when you’re famous though. I get invited to a lot of things involving a charity auction of some kind where I have to announce to everyone how much I’m giving just to be able to give money and get the auction item. But I still think it’s better to just give the money and shut up about it whenever you can. Don’t take out an ad. Which is why I’ve been feeling the way I’ve been feeling.
But I’ve also been thinking a lot about the meaning of that passage lately, and maybe I got it wrong.
Jesus is talking about intent here as well as action, no? If the intent of your charitable contribution is to let everyone know what a big man you are, then verily I say unto you that the good karma stops there. But if you would just do all your giving in secret, well then... problem solved without even thinking about it. Theology students and bible scholars, feel free to chime in via the comments section.
My guess is I fall somewhere in the middle on this. My intent is totally pure, but I did it publicly AND asked for something in return (a million followers), so see you in hell. (Ha ha. Just kidding. The idea of a bunch of people suffering for all eternity in a big cavern of fire being poked in the butt with pitchforks by demons and whatnot was made up by Dante. It’s not really in the Bible. The concept of hell is, but not the pitchfork in the butt stuff.)
For next year, I’m cooking up a plan where we all can raise a lot of money, but let the charity itself benefit from having the followers. Thus, if charity x gets y number of followers on their twitter account during the year (increasing their reach and visibility), then I will donate $1 for each follower (plus extra pledges of money-per-follower from others). How’s that for an idea? Just kicking it around right now, but it sounds right. And it keeps what I think is the best part of this, which is all these thousands of people asking their friends to perform a quick, simple task (hitting the follow button) to raise money for charity. Please leave thoughts and ideas about this in the comments section.
But wait. Is putting this idea up on my blog just like announcing it “... with trumpets, as the hypocrites (and celebrity twats) do in the synagogues and on the streets..”? Am I going to end up in a cave of fire being poked in the butt with a pitchfork?
Aw, fuck it. I’m doing it anyway.