I have absolutely no problem with the taking of collections at churches. A church provides a service to its congregation, this service costs money. People donate money to help that happen. Ideally churches have more money than they need for day-to-day operations, and use this money to make a positive difference in the community around them.
The act of giving is also a very useful one. It is found in many cultures and religions. (Consider Yoda: Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose. 😉 ) It surely is common knowledge that money does not bring happiness. The act of letting go can help break an unhealthy obsession with money.
That said, I believe churches should be open about what they spend their money on. What I’m not sure on, is how to balance the requirements for relative privacy and public disclosure. For an extreme example: publishing your books on the Internet isn’t recommended. With regards to members-access, there will likely be some disagreement about budgetary details. Having a church’s books available to members on request ensures that only those that really care will get the finer details. Those that just want to gripe for griping’s sake can stay uninformed.
Any ideas from my readers with regards to where balance is found? What would be good, what would be bad?