My car died earlier this week, so I wasn't able to get up north this weekend for my regular deacon gig. Thus, I had the chance to go "out to church" this weekend.
So I visited one of our local Franciscan churches. Near the entrance they had something remarkable: a kind of reverse ATM machine for taking donations. You could put in your credit or debit card and make a contribution. So far so good. We live in an age of electronic money, and why shouldn't the begging of mendicant friars adapt to it? And besides, people can get an immediate receipt for tax purposes.
But here's the part that got me: decorating the machine was a colorful cartoon caricature of a friar, complete with a sheepish grin and a basket of money, with dollar bills floating around him in the air.
Now far be it from me to begrudge the long-standing utility and truth of the stereotype of the greedy friar, but having him as the first thing you see when you walk into church? That seems like a little much to me.