|"... a three-tiered concoction that gleams with 19,000 gems — 18,000 of them diamonds, along with rubies, sapphires and emeralds. It was a gift from Queen Isabella of Spain to the 19th-century Pope Pius IX, who wore it at Christmas Mass in 1854."
To hear Jesus tell it, there is something attractive about modesty in wealth and acquisition. On the other hand, what I understand to be the wealthiest corporation in the world -- the Vatican -- has had a lot of practice in the art of advertising and wooing those who may admire even if they cannot own.
Is there a well-regarded spiritual persuasion that does not have its bling? I doubt it: Like fly fishing, there has to be something noticeable to bite down on. Parishioners may bridle at the two, three, four Rolls Royces gleaming in religions' garages, but, too, there is admiration, there is something to notice ... if this guy has cars, he must have money; if he has money, he must have believers who give; if he has believers, the belief must have some basis in social agreement, which is sometimes used to mean "the truth."
"The love of money" may be the (Christian) root of all evil, but 'evil' is the only ground from which goodness stands a chance of rising up ... except of course that it is also the ground from which more 'evil' can spring. It's a mind-fucker all right.
Referring to God, American comedian George Carlin noted and it's hard to disagree, "He (God) loves you and he NEEDS MONEY...."
Sometimes I marvel at the good fortune of those who thought they might give religion a whirl and then found one that demanded their own, very individual, practicing effort. You can't bullshit a practice that is practiced whole-heartedly.
Not that I would mind having a Rolls Royce, of course.