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Black Lives Matter Global Network uses a non-profit fundraising technology company used by many democrats and leftist organizations, ActBlue(1). This organization has at least three branches(2): one for 501(c)3s – charities, one of 501(c)4s – civics, and one for a PAC. BLM uses the charities branch as a pass-through.
When a person donates via the ActBlue platform, their receipt(3) provides them with a tax ID number that is associated with a 501(c)3 charity called Thousand Currents(4), formerly legally known as IBEX.
Thousand Currents entered into a fiscal sponsorship agreement with Black Lives Matter back in 2016(5,6). This makes BLM basically a “project” of the legally recognized, pre-existing charity(7). The group running the Black Lives Matter website, the women who started the hashtag, do not have their own 501(c)3 or tax ID number. Some local chapters, and some scams, do.
Audits and 990 Filings are published on Thousand Currents’ website(8), and 990s are available through the IRS(9). They document that (at least for a year after the donation is made) the sponsoring organization is holding donations earmarked for BLM in a separate account, restricted from general fund use. These funds are by far the majority of their revenue. These tax documents also record paying the salary of the managing director of BLM.
thousand-currents-990-2017
As far as I can tell, there are no public breakdowns of how money donated to Black Lives Matter is allocated. Since suspicions(10,11) have been making internet rounds this week, BLM has announced a $6.5 million fund(12) to support local affiliates in grassroots organizing work. They also announced intentions to develop a curriculum in line with their worldview and activism goals. Accusations that funds donated through Black Lives Matter were funneled directly by ActBlue’s PAC to Democrat candidates seem to be unfounded. However, the fine print(13) on ActBlue does say that allocated funds from uncashed checks will be moved to ActBlue to support its “social welfare activities” (if you were donating to a 501(c)4) or ActBlue Charities (if you were donating to a 501(c)3). I have not been able to determine how such funds are used. 
 
Footnotes: 
 
(2) ActBlue, “What is the difference between ActBlue, ActBlue Civics, AB Charities, and ActBlue Technical Services?”, accessed June 12, 2020 https://support.actblue.com/donors/about-actblue/what-is-the-difference-between-actblue-actblue-civics-ab-charities-and-actblue-technical-services/?fbclid=IwAR3j5frLc-aQ7IctBXvG9-3XQgRmemMqmJCiCZ2K00bxd5Ob5qMrz-knv10 
 
(3) Taylor @_aambush on Twitter June 1, 2020, accessed June 12, 2020 https://mobile.twitter.com/_aambush/status/1267681478739099648?fbclid=IwAR0MT2PbxPxRHwM6P1TiZOUUs2AdsmAkRGf-rsGiS7ccUZoIYnUVoqNJaSQ (also many such examples when googling images including Tax ID 77-0071852)
 
 
(5) Thousand Currents Press Release: “IDEX and Black Lives Matter announce global partnership” September 6, 2016, accessed June 12, 2020 https://thousandcurrents.org/idex-and-black-lives-matter-announce-global-partnership/?fbclid=IwAR3j5frLc-aQ7IctBXvG9-3XQgRmemMqmJCiCZ2K00bxd5Ob5qMrz-knv10 
 
 
(7) National Council of Nonprofits: “Fiscal Sponsorship for Nonprofits”, accessed June 12, 2020 https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/fiscal-sponsorship-nonprofits
 
(8) Thousand Currents Financials, website and PDFs accessed June 12, 2020 https://thousandcurrents.org/financials/?fbclid=IwAR1UaJ-AxOquTrAa8ZBOwiO_127h14k0l7cqPq1jD4Jf8ukCKcwslh514PI 
 
 
(11) Candace Owens @RealCandaceO on Twitter, June 10, 2020 accessed June 12, 2020 https://twitter.com/RealCandaceO/status/1270874599635529732 
 
(12) Black Lives Matter: “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation announces $6.5 million fund to support organizing work” June 11, 2020, accessed June 12, 20200 https://blacklivesmatter.com/black-lives-matter-global-network-foundation-announces-6-5-million-fund-to-support-organizing-work/?fbclid=IwAR0c7rENZ85iVg1d7I5hoH8lPEb1smi6FS7Vpz_aR0O47cmNP8ZCmCFK-wM 
 
(13) ActBlue: The Fine Print, “Re-designation of Contributions”, accessed June 12, 2020 https://secure.actblue.com/content/fineprint 
 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

 

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I’m in between churches right now – between congregations. All summer and fall I’ve been casually attending the meetings of various friends. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to not be obligated to make an appearance at any one building on a Sunday morning. I might tell a friend I’m coming, or I might decide Saturday night. Some Sundays I sleep in. Sunday morning heathenism is rather refreshing.

Except it isn’t heathenism. A lot of what happens in those buildings on Sunday mornings is of heathen origin. But heathenism is a lot more than skipping a sermon and praise concert. It is a lifestyle of rejecting God, and that I certainly have not done.

I believe the Bible teaches Christians to gather regularly with each other. That isn’t something I have abandoned either. My recent experience is filled with times of fellowship and encouragement with other believers. We do ministry together, hold each other accountable for our walks with God, philosophically tackle the dilemmas we’re facing, study the Bible, and pray. During these times we also tend to eat, to play games, to laugh and tease, sometimes to work. Kids running around get swept up by disciples of Jesus, who – like Him – love children.

About a month ago some friends invited me to their church. I went that weekend. This week they asked me what I thought, and didn’t I like it (since I hadn’t been back). And I froze, because, well, I did like it. The people were friendly and the teachings were biblical and stimulating. But I don’t think I’ll join. This Sunday I did go back there, though. And my friends’ thirteen-year-old son confronted me, “I thought you said our church was just ‘ok’.”

Hard to explain. This particular church is on the good end of mainstream churches. They have good doctrine. A lot of their money goes to missions. Kids are with parents in church for most of the time, and youth aren’t separated from their families. The music isn’t too loud or too self-centered. With a congregation of about 50, the pastor and teachers can know everyone.

After pondering for a day or so, here is my answer to the thirteen-year-old friend: (it’s alliterative so I can remember!)
1) Plurality. There is only one pastor at the church. He’s the head man. I believe Jesus is the head of the Church, and that leadership beneath Him must be shared among more than one equal. Whenever real life cases are discussed in the New Testament, the word is used in the plural. (Elders) In this way they can model cooperation and problem solving. Congregations and pastors are kept mindful that Christ is the true head, and that the Church is His project. Also, when one is weak, there is another to be strong, the proverbial man to pick you up when you fall. Two are better than one and a cord of three strands is not easily broken. Pastoring is a lonely job, being at the top instead of a part of your congregation as friends and brothers. My Bible describes a different sort of dynamic, where pastors are respected for being respectable and where everyone is exercising his gifts for the good of all: pastors, prophets, discerners, helpers, administrators, on and on.
2) Property. This was quite confusing to my friend, who expects people to scorn his church for meeting in the club house of a condominium complex. Whether you own a building, rent it, or have borrowed money from a bank to claim that you own it, all represent instances where the Church of God has used resources God entrusted to them not to do what He has instructed: caring for the poor, widows, orphans, and missionaries – but to have a separate place to meet. I believe churches are meant to be gathered in homes. Limited in size, surrounded by hospitality and everyday life, the atmosphere of house church encourages the participation of everyone, the familial fellowship of believers, and the synthesis of sacred and secular.
3) Preaching. The New Testament describes and even commends preaching. Except almost always the lecture style sermon was delivered to an unsaved audience. It is a tool of evangelism. And evangelism is not the purpose of the regular gathering of believers. In fact, the church meetings described in 1 Corinthians are much more open and unstructured than what we usually think of as church. No one was scheduled to speak. Anyone (any man?) was allowed to bring a word, be it a prophecy, a teaching, a tongue – as long as he spoke it for the edification of the group. He may share a testimony of God’s work or an instruction or challenge the Spirit laid on his heart to give to his friends. A teaching might be towards an identified deficiency of understanding or may flow out of the studies individuals are making during the week on their own. Prophecy may correct the direction the congregation is going, may identify weaknesses and strengths among them, may warn them, or may give them hope and vision for the future. Some verses indicate that individuals may also bring songs of their choosing to the meetings of believers, with which to encourage each other.

Now that I’ve said those things, I do believe that there is a place for the lecture-style teaching we call sermons. I really enjoy Bible conferences, and am not opposed to worship concerts where the band has practiced and is intending to honor God. When I visit my friends’ churches, I usually view those services as conferences, and I look for the Spirit-driven gatherings elsewhere. At this stage of my life I’m not content with the small groups and Bible studies that have been getting me by. So I’m still looking, reading books and searching websites from people who are practicing what the Bible teaches about Church. I’m excited to see where that leads.

Some questions remain, stronger tensions between the familiar and the ideal: how is authority supposed to work in the church? Is it important? Is it a matter of exercising authority or of submitting to authority? How much should we submit? What shall Christians do for evangelism? Wouldn’t it be better to team up? But is it wrong to invite people in to hear the gospel, or should we go out to them? Are women to speak in the church meetings? If not, why on earth did Paul say so? – Just to prove I don’t think I know everything!

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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