Home > Uncategorized > New financial unit of measure: the “TDJ”

New financial unit of measure: the “TDJ”

June 24, 2010

I’m tired and grumpy and my shoulder hurts but this has been bugging me.  What’s up with that church in Ohio that made a giant metal and fiberglass statue of Jesus?  It got hit by lightning and burned to the ground, without hurting the church, and they’re going to rebuild it for a quarter-million bucks.  image

Yes, you heard me right: they’re going to whip out a stack of Franklins nearly a foot high to build another tacky graven image of Jesus, only this time, fireproof.  That’s a lot of simoleons, folks.  In fact, I couldn’t resist doing some numbers. 

That pile could vaccinate over three thousand kids.  It’s a hundred and thirty thousand school lunches.  It’s nearly twenty-four thousand hours of teacher assistant pay for overworked teachers trying to handle too many kids.  It’s thirty-five thousand HIV tests. It’s more than four thousand solar-powered cell phones for remote villages. 

In short, it’s a hell of a lot of “unto the least of these”, and they’re spending it on a statue that directly contradicts scripture?  Because I’m pretty sure Moses would be really ticked off about this one.  He’d grind it up and make them eat steel and fiberglass.

Early Christians weren’t big on representational art either.  The ἰχθύς fish, in addition to being a clever acronym for “Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ ͑Υιός, Σωτήρ” was also a symbolic abstraction.  You could pick up a rock and quickly scratch the shape onto a wall and split before some Roman with a pointy sword showed up.

Oh well, whatever.  In any case, I propose a new unit of measurement for non-profit settings: the “TouchDown Jesus”, or TDJ.  The cost of any humanitarian thing you want to do can be expressed as a fraction of, or a multiple quantity of TDJ’s. 

You can make one hell of a donation to the local food pantry for just a tenth of a TDJ, for instance.  A new million-dollar church sanctuary would be four TDJ’s.  Or you could fund a local campaign to rid River City of the scourge of pool tables for… well I couldn’t find that figure but it would be worth it, Yessiree!


  • A friend of mine, a devout Christian, was watching a news report on the TDJ fire.  He saw a woman in the congregation exclaim to the news creature; “Our Lord and Savior burned down!”

  • I’ve probably been amused by bizarre units of measure since learning to read 2400 fruit-fly generations or so ago.  I wonder how many TDJ’s it would take to study the reason for that?
  • I figured a quarter-mil in $100’s would be just under a foot high assuming that the bills were not wrinkled and averaged .004375” thick.  That figure I got by measuring eight one-dollar bills (making an assumption that they are the same thickness as hundreds), which came to .035”.  If anyone wants to give me an equivalent stack of $100 bills, I’ll repeat the measurements in the pure interest of empirical accuracy.
  • I’m not late commenting on this: I’m really, really early commenting on the unveiling of the new, improved fireproof TDJ, I guess.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Al Tauber
    June 25, 2010 at 12:04 | #1

    We ran across a church in Texas that spent $2 million to upgrade their entire video system to HD. God may be displeased, but at least he won’t be pixelated.

  2. David Engel
    June 25, 2010 at 14:52 | #2

    I can’t help agreeing. It is surprising to me the steps some churches will take.

    But the reality is that they have a problem with PR, in addition to potentially having priority issues. Numerous organizations, public service or not, spend money on advertising. Who hasn’t seen the commercials for saving a cat or dog from the pound by the local animal advocates or starving children, and the cold reality is that a statue of Jesus outside a church is a form of advertising (“Hey, we’re a church. Please come in.”). They just didn’t account for the backlash of negative PR when people found out what their priorities were.

    But then maybe I can afford to be a “preachy” Christian, coming from a religious heritage known for its stinginess (some people say frugal, others say cheap). I think the reality is a) figure out your priorities, and b) make sure your budget, actions, and words hold up to that. Individual or business.

  3. Cindy
    June 25, 2010 at 16:40 | #3

    You are SO right, George.

  4. Blaze
    June 25, 2010 at 16:59 | #4

    I visited my mother a few weeks ago.  On her television was this golden glass monstrosity that did its tacky best to be purely awesome.  “What’s that??”  I asked.

    My mother looked uncomfortable.  “That’s the church where the sermon is being broadcast.”  She enjoyed this televangelist, but even she found the conspicuous consumption distasteful.

    It’s so purely medieval.  The church doesn’t want to help anyone.  They want to RULE and overawe the peasants.

    If they wanted to put their Public Relations into a fine glow, they’d operate out of humble, basic “country churches”.  Every expense would be spartan and purely essential.  A couple of times a year they would take out adverts in various popular sources listing their Good Works and where the money has gone to help folk near and far.  At the bottom of the advert would be the contact info where a person could request the independent auditors’s report verifying the use of the funds.

    THAT would be a hard cult to criticise!

  5. June 26, 2010 at 17:37 | #5

    This reminds me of the church at West Twin Grove burning down.  It was before my time, but the story is that only the organ was left standing.  There ensued a huge debate—you know the one—instrumental vs. non-instrumental.

    Of course, nothing was really solved except those with more power won the day.  And the world was amused at trivial pursuit.

  6. July 24, 2010 at 10:05 | #6

    It’s so random how I found your blog.  I was looking up images of kidney stones and google pointed me here. 

    After reading several posts it’s obvious that you can easily be aggravated by Christians.  I am a Christian but I am not a big fan or attracted to other Christians who are fanatics. 

    Recently I read about a following of people who believed in the law of attraction and how one leader got them to pay almost $10,000 to attend a retreat to get closer to their inner spiritual self.  These people were fanatics and several died while participating in a sweat lodge because they were so committed to their leader and believed his crazy nonsense that it all clouded any reasonable judgement and they perished so foolishly. 

    Initially I was so quick to judge these people.  I mean how stupid can they be to follow this made up law of attraction and then ultimately play it out to an unnecessary death.  I pondered this for a long time. 

    I thought about those fanatic people in the churches I have visited through out my life.  They are so hyped up on Jesus and do everything in His name – good and misleading things.  They are passionate and religious words ooze from the mouths while their marriages fall apart or affairs rip their family in half.  These type of stories have been exposed to the public for years and given even more ammunition to those who are skeptical to the Christian ways. 

    After learning about these people form the sweat lodge and hearing their words in the interview it came clear to me again … people all over world want a life of faith.  Faith in something that is bigger them.  This is so evident through history and in every culture.  Science can explain a lot but there is more that we need that what science can and cannot explain.  People are going to be fanatics about something.  Baseball, knitting, hunting, Jesus, golf … it’s in us to be passionate and it’s a beautiful part of us too … it can just be EXTREMELY annoying to other people who don’t share those same interest. 

    SO, what am I really wanting to say?  I am just saying I understand how annoying Christians can be, believe me we all get annoyed with each other – look at how many denominations there are!  BUT you can’t deny the fact that it’s built the majority of the human race to connect with a higher being and pair that with the amazing passion that we are born with it can be a beautiful or obnoxious thing.  I am a Christian because personally it is real to me.  My kids ask, “How do you know God is real?”  I can say without a doubt he has proven how real he is to me.  I trust he will do the same to them.  It’s not up to me to convince anyone God is alive, present and working.  I just place trust in him and seek his direction and then in amazing ways he speaks to me.  God created us for a relationship.  That is what he desires first and foremost.  It’s a humbling and a life changing experience.  I am grateful for it.

  7. July 24, 2010 at 11:17 | #7

    @Anglela – Oh my goodness, I hope you didn’t have a kidney stone.  I’ve had a bunch of them and they are awful.  You have my sympathy if you’ve been through that.

    You are right that many people want a life of faith.  And people of faith are quick to say; “Science doesn’t know everything!”  Of course it doesn’t; if it did know everything, it’d stop.  We’re a long way from discovering everything there is to be discovered, but even as far as we’ve come, the claims of religion have not fared well.

    A lot of people just can’t be satisfied believing things without evidence.  We want the truth (small “t”), no matter how hard it is to hear.  I don’t know, it’s just the way our brains are wired or something.  Religious believers are not comfortable in that frame and prefer what seems to us to be pre-packaged answers. 

    Anyway, a lot of us were amused by the TDJ thing.  It’s OK for you to enjoy your life of faith.  And drink lots of fluids!

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