Religious Tract In Place Of Tip? Pastor Condemns Actions, Says It Was Honest Mistake
Recently, the story of a server who received a religious tract in place of a tip went rather viral, and the debate about whether this was appropriate has been broad and vocal. Now, a pastor connected to the tract has spoken in response, and made his (and, according to him, his church’s) stance on the matter clear.
It began when, according to WCNC, a waiter received, instead of a tip, a religious tract, promising salvation if the reader would only follow its instructions.
As the story went viral, people on social media expressed opinions on leaving a religious message instead of a tip. The following tweet from a pastor appears to represent the majority opinion on the matter.
Christian: If you leave a tract instead of a tip, you are not being a “witness for Christ”. You’re just being cheap and offensive.
— Erick Sorensen (@pastorerick) January 12, 2016
Others, however, were annoyed that the server might expect a tip, and be offended at receiving a tract instead. Many declared that servers who think they are entitled to tips are mistaken, that tips are to be given only if earned by exemplary service, not as a standard part of dining.
In comments on the local news station’s Facebook page, people gave their opinions.
“If the restaurant would pay its employees a decent wage, perhaps they wouldn’t have to depend on tips to eke out a living.”
“When did a tip become a requirement?? Tips are voluntary.”
What is the sentiment from the creators of this type of religious tract?
Make It Clear Ministries, which produces a tract that looks like a $10 bill, offers instructions to those who would give them to others.
“Please NEVER leave this as a tip or with a tip… We don’t want to offend someone who is not a Christian. I have been getting e-mails lately from upset people who are getting these tracts instead of a tip. Also, if you are giving one to a pastor or a missionary or someone like that, Please make sure to show them the written side before you show them the money part. We don’t like to disappoint pastors, missionaries, or waiters/waitresses.”
The owner of the restaurant shared that sentiment, found the church’s contact information on the tract, and contacted the pastor. An image of this email has also become a viral sensation on social media.
In a message, the manager described the religious tract, explained that a server had received it in lieu of a tip, and expressed disappointment. She also mentioned that the church itself would likely not appreciate receiving a tract or other religious writings when money was expected.
“Suppose your congregation felt it was sufficient to tithe their personal writings instead of 10% of their income. Your church wouldn’t be paying their bills for very long.”
She wasn’t the only one to contact the church. Negative reviews of the church rolled in. A sampling of such reviews appears below — the church now has far more 1-star reviews than all other ratings combined.
The reviews tend to converge on a few points: reviewers agree that a religious tract is no substitute for a tip, and many call the pastor and his congregation “fake Christians,” and quote Bible verses supporting more generous positions on tipping.
The pastor responded on Thursday, publishing a public message on Harbor Baptist Church’s Facebook page.
The long post addresses a few specific issues:
Pastor Ken Simmons says he always tips at least 20 percent, and instructs his congregation to do the same. He says the church member who left the religious tract did not fail to tip as well — but that the tip was left on a credit card slip rather than with the tract.
However, he says, the congregant accidentally left a smaller tip than normal — typically, he implies, the tract-leaver would have left a 20 percent tip, but he mistakenly left only an 8 percent tip on the credit card slip.
Pastor Simmons says that failing to leave an adequate tip — with or without a religious tract — is “bad testimony” because one should show concern for the server’s financial well-being as well as his or her soul.
The pastor also says that, though this is not the first time the server has received a religious tract in lieu of a tip, the other three incidents were not connected to his church.
He’d also like to clarify that any stories indicating that the tract was one of the type made to look like money are in error. It appears the story may have been confused with a similar story at around the same time, but the religious tract left by a Harbor Baptist Church member was not the type that looks like currency.
[Image via Facebook]