A New Plug for Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Needs

Recently we’ve been church shopping, and ironically, something happened during one of these Sunday morning excursions recently that made me think about the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

We were trying out this large mega-church. It is a giant facility, and it has all kinds of programs for kids (which I liked a lot), as well as state-of-the-art technology and cool music (which I also liked a lot).

The problem was that I found out that this place is building ANOTHER large facility across town. The pastor stood up and gave this long sermon about how people needed to give money … and the irony is that he’s not even going to preach there. He’s going to preach at the current place, and they are going to do a satellite feed over to church #2 on a big screen.

And the cost for all of this?

Get ready, because this is going to knock your socks off.

$36 million.

That’s right.

Now, I walked out of there, and other than the fact that I was personally affronted at this obvious waste of resources (which could be devoted to feeding starving people in a Third World country, among other things) … was that there are really great places out there that DO deserve your attention and money.

I was comparing in my mind how this church had every conceivable tool and gadget … and how the Clearwater Marine Aquarium was busting at the seams. Yes, they are caring for animals, not people, and some could make an argument that people are more important. But when you see how these animals touch lives like my child’s? Well, to me, there’s just no contest.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is trying to raise funds for a better facility. When we were there in July, they were halfway to their goal — $12 million.

That’s right — by comparison to that church that wants $36 million, this amazing place caring for sick dolphins just needs $12 million. They’ve received about $6 million.

The Hollywood film made it seem like a rich guy had taken care of all of the needs. That was a fictional part of the feel-good story, but I have a feeling that it might have done some harm to the fundraising efforts, because people think the aquarium has been taken care of.

It hasn’t.

So if you do have some extra cash sitting around — and I know it isn’t easy with this economy — but if you can spare a little, please consider giving to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

And in case you’re wondering … we’re not returning to that church I mentioned. If they can’t devote resources in a responsible manner, I also question whether their teaching is correct. But that’s for a different blog.

I can tell you as a first-hand witness, however, that the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is doing right by the money it is receiving. You can be assured that your gifts will be used to brighten the lives of kids like Neil.

Thanks for your attention.

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2 thoughts on “A New Plug for Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Needs

  1. UPDATE: The front page headline on today’s newspaper — youth leader at this same church has been arrested on child sex abuse charges. Not only that, a volunteer at the same church was arrested on a different case.

    My feeling on this, Zee, is that if feel in your gut that something is amiss, walk away. It doesn’t have to be a church. It could be an extracurricular activity — or even something like this dolphin camp.

    In this particular instance, my red flags were waving because of how they were spending their money, but it was the tip of the iceberg that something deeper was amiss. When people cloak themselves in goodness and ask for money, I always scrutinize a little more.

    As for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, at the moment I have nothing but positive feelings based on our summertime experience and on the needs I saw there for their facility. My funds go to noteworthy causes. In most cases, it’s a church. But when I see a place like this that is working hard to keep up a great mission, both for animals and for families, I’m all for throwing my support behind them.

    And in regards to child sex abuse cases … I have to have those unfortunate conversations with my child on adult topics — things he should never even hear about at his age — in order to protect him. He knows that if anyone takes those steps with him, he can tell me, and I’ll always believe him.

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