Goldenrose, my point is that you can't just decide to force any institution or any person to give up their wealth because you or I think that they should for the betterment of society. Well, you could, but that would be communistic. You can't force a display of compassion. Other's wealth is not ours to decide what is to be done with it. It is theirs. It becomes theirs when the contributions are given to them. And if the people in those institutions don't want to contribute any longer to those institutions because they think the money would be put to better use elsewhere, well, then they can just stop contributing to them.
As for Mother Teresa, no one forced her to give up all that she had. That was her choice. She voluntarily gave up her significant family wealth and devoted her life to selflessly serving the poor and the outcasts of society. I think that's beautiful and I think it is Christ-like. But if it had been something that had been forced upon her, well then, where's the beauty or Christ-likeness in such a situation? We all have our different callings in life, as I see it. Some are called to live as Mother Teresa did, some aren't but are called to serve in other ways, and again, I think that someone's calling is between them and God, and not something to be judged by anyone else. Your compassion for the poor is commedable, Goldenrose. I just think you cross the line in your zealousness when you advocate the confiscation of other's wealth to meet their needs. Perhaps you should just ask what you could do with some portion of your money in the way of alleviating some of the suffering in the world, or maybe you might want to use your compassion to start some sort of organization to raise money (voluntarily from others) to help the poor. I'm sure if you channeled that compassion in a constructive way you could accomplish great things!
GG, that is a verse that is used by many churches to compel attendance, and usually it is interpreted in such a way as to intimate that you aren't following God's will if you aren't at church for Sunday morning Bible study, Worship service, Sunday evening Praise and Worship (or Saturday, depending on the denomination), Mid-week Bible study and fellowship and on and on and on. To me the verse simply means not to forsake gathering together with other believers, no time or place designations. Remember, at the time it was written, there were no 'organized' institutions as we have today, such as the First Methodist Church at Fifth and Main. There were informal gatherings, mostly in other's homes. Now if someone wants to go to all the services offered at a local organized institution, that's fine. I just think that the verse is used heavy-handedly by a lot of them, in my experience anyway. In fact all (about 4 or 5 different denominations) of the churches that I have attended over the years have used it that way. I think they read more into it than what is actually being said.
And you might want to do a study on the concept of tithing as preached in most churches too. Tithing was a part of the Mosaic Law and it never involved money, it was giving a percentage of crops and livestock, etc. (and they did have money back then!) and it never applied to the poor, and it was given only to the Nation of Israel for the purpose of taking care of the priesthood (the Levites, I think?) and not to the people of the other nations. It was really like their taxation. There is nothing in the New Testament Epistles to Christians concerning tithing. The only thing mentioned to Christians is to give voluntarily from your heart, to give to the poor, to give to those who teach you, and not under compulsion, and not letting your right hand know what the left is doing, etc. I think this is another topic that is mishandled and misapplied by most churches today too. And again, if someone wants to give 10% or more of their income (one church I went to said that it had to be at least 10% of your gross wages, before taxes, in order to be in compliance, otherwise you were stealing from God) that's wonderful. But I don't see it taught as a principle for Christians. And I've learned over the years, the hard way, that we have to question and study out everything that we are told before something can be accepted as a truth. I think a healthy skepticism is a great safeguard, especially in biblical matters.