Archive for the ‘Follow up’ Category

As those of us who grew up in the black church know full well, things are done a little differently at times.

The Spirit needs to flow more heavily through a family member of the pastor. The big girl is kept in the choir to make it look bigger in some places. And every Sunday is a fashion show that would put ‘Operation Runway’ to shame.

New Birth pastor gets just that on the cover of Gospel Today magazineBut never have I seen something the likes of what Bishop Eddie Long has allegedly been doing in order to save face amidst some much needed PR.

Any Gospel Today subscribers in the house or on the Wall? Before you answer that proudly, check the latest cover story:

Bishop Eddie Long at the center of the scandal that rocked the church world.

According to the story I read in CNN’s Belief Blog, many subscribers were feeling like throwing this publication into the fiery furnace upon seeing – and reading – this article.

Some Gospel Today readers thought the magazine was downplaying  Long’s allegations, and others thought they shouldn’t have featured him at all. The biggest problem readers had was Long’s relationship with “Gospel Today” – he’s the chair of the magazine’s board.

Listen, I realize this phrase may not be in the Bible, but I believe the publication’s CEO “Dr.” Teresa Hairston needs to hear it anyway: “Conflict of interest.”

I’m sure that may have come up in journalism class. If not, then perhaps, “PAYOLA!”

How about that one?

Evidently, it didn’t and Ms. Hairston is popping her neck about this ballyhoo:

Hairston told readers that her magazine did not explore the legalities of the Long scandal, and chose instead to present a “biblical perspective.” Yeah, that’s quaint, namely when you pen this blast from your ivory towers:

Whether Bishop Long is guilty or not; whether the young men are guilty or not, the BODY OF CHRIST must handle this situation according to the Word of God! The mainstream press has painted a hideous picture; some have even called for Bishop Long’s resignation! They’re not even members!!

Sorry. I’ll save that memo for the police and the lawyers of the alleged victims who are seeking justice on their behalf. Because if Long did half of what they accuse him of doing, a resignation is going to be the last thing they ask handed to them on a silver platter.

Write that. Pen that. Quote that.

Mess like this in the hallowed pulpits across America needs to cease immediately. We should demand more of our leaders and not become inundated with a feeling of “Yes man” and “People pleaser.” Our job is to worship the Lord and respect the elders of the Church… not the other way around.

Of course, the light’s on but no one is home unless this is “handled according to the Word of God.” I’m no Bishop, but here we go:

It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off. If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation? First of all, it was delivered in person by the Master, then accurately passed on to us by those who heard it from him. All the while God was validating it with gifts through the Holy Spirit, all sorts of signs and miracles, as he saw fit. (Hebrews 2:1-4 MSG)

Yes, indeed. A MEMO to Eddie Long and Teresa Hairston: “Get a grip!” Don’t look at me. It’s in the Word of God.

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote on the Wall about a quaint church in Beaumont, Texas making international news by calling themselves, “A bunch of jerks.”

They addressed the hypocrisy among the faithful, the stigma in the Church and the elephant dropping bombs in the room.

If it ain't broke, buy another one.

It was a bold move because the biggest cause of Atheism would be Christians who do not reflect Christ. Great idea, right? Apparently so, because it’s been cloned according to the Christian Post.

A megachurch [NorthRidge Church] in Southeast Michigan is making a lot of people uncomfortable with its new billboard campaign that proclaims that the church is for hypocrites, losers and liars.

Well, of course, they are making a lot of people uncomfortable… the formula worked once before. Why not do it again?

“The reality is all human beings are the same. They’re flawed. We’re all the same inside [the church] and outside. We too are failures, losers, … hypocrites,” [Pastor Brad Powell of NorthRidge Church] continued.

“Jesus didn’t put up higher fences in heaven to keep the bad people out,” he said. “Rather, Jesus came down to earth and dwelled among the people. When you look into God’s word, He never turns inward. He turns outward.”

Don’t get me wrong… he’s right. Regretfully.

However, just because the word changed from “jerks” to “hypocrites,” does not make this an original idea. There’s no such thing as an original idea anyway, but at least give it a few months before you poach it?!

It’s no secret I don’t have much affinity for stereotypical Christian marketing. I mean, how difficult must it be to take a well-known brand and make an evangelism hack job out of it?

Christian marketing usually means copied marketing.

Oh. The scripture. That'll make us forget about the familiar logo.

Consider God: There was nothing but his idea. He imagined with vivid detail, molded the earth with complete ingenuity and relished in the unique nature of his creation.

He didn’t copy a logo. He didn’t “borrow” an invention. Everything he did was an original.

And that’s why it baffles me that marketing and advertising professionals who love the Lord and have dedicated their lives to him can’t at least go about their trade with a tad more originality.

Brands like ‘Not of this World‘ have taken what ‘Affliction’, ‘Silver Star’ and ‘MMA Elite’ has done for the mixed martial artist crowds and brought it to the Church. Bravo.

And then, there is the status quo that believes take what is known, plaster a verse on it and call it “divine providence.”

We can do better. We must do better.

Pastor Brad (imagine, he doesn’t like being called that) understands this whole “jerk” thing is lightning in a bottle. Everyone is looking at this. Everyone appreciates this. Because everyone agrees with this… except for the folk who are this.

A thought for all pastors: Be unconventional. Be daring. And most importantly, try to be original. You tend to make more news that way.

Just ask the little church in Beaumont, Texas about that one.

Last month, we spray painted the story on Elder Schuller “officially” filing bankruptcy.

It was like the quartet on the Titanic finally admitting to each other, “You know, with all these people frantically screaming and cursing the iceberg, I think we have a problem.” Nevertheless, he filed and no one was stunned.

Courtesy: Ana Venegas, Associated Press

Well, except him.

It seems this 84-year-old captain refuses to go down with the ship, according to the USA Today. That, or just wants one last cash grab for retirement.

“I need more help from you,” Schuller said, according to the Orange County Register. “If you are a tither, become a double-tither. If you are not a tither, become a tither. This ministry has earned your trust. This ministry has earned your help.”

Yeah, in this tough economy, we call that begging.

Let me get this straight: the Crystal Cathedral is $43 million in debt, is full of namby-pamby folk who “appreciate” positive thinking… and God, and has become the laughing stock of ecumenism.

Yet, the place where believers go to retire is going to become “double-tithers.” Keep it classy, Pops.

Despite the fact the media can’t get a single quote from Junior Schuller who was unceremoniously shown the door for first, a revolving door of positive thinkers and then finally, Sister Schuller. Let’s see how she did:

She assured church members Sunday that using “Biblical” money management the church would get out of bankruptcy. The congregation gave a standing ovation near the end of his daughter’s remarks.

That’s nice, but is it practical? This church is hemorrhaging and is home to thousands of believers.

And now they are being held hostage to an infomercial of inspiration in an effort to corral millions of dollars. Oh sure, blame the recession (he did), don’t pay your bills (he didn’t) and then hoard the cash.

Why do pastors with any notoriety fall in love with the fruit from the believers more than the believers themselves? We hope that guy will be the exception, but then stories like this keep coming up.

Does anyone have any sense?

“Sheila is really trying hard and she is a good person,” said Jean Hess, a member for 30 years and a greeter at the church’s doors. “But, I think, to get back to where it was, the church needs to look outside of the family to find a true leader.”

Yeah, that’s very logical but like anyone is going to pay to hear preach. Ah well, our heart will go on. God willing.

Dear Bishop Long, I showed my junk and blamed the devil. Love, Armor Bearer #15

Amidst the kerfuffle of Bishop Eddie Long’s escapades with his armor bearers, somehow this lovely story got lost in the mix.

Evidently, the more wide-open a door is for crap to fly through it, the more church turds sprout wings and flutter out of the belfry.

Exhibit A: This story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that discusses a former staffer who was sent a questionable picture of God’s blessing.

Tama Colson, who is described in the lawsuit as a married resident of Georgia, claims a male supervisor  showed her photographs of a male sex organ on a cellphone. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta,  Colson alleges  she was harassed,  demoted and later discharged from the Lithonia church after she complained.

Of course she was. You think they want someone around who accept personal text messages? No way.

If the lawsuit is accurate in the affidavit, a supervisor in the TV department decided to whip out his smartphone and show her just how stupid he was. Her response, “What the hell is your problem?” To wit, he grins and walks away.

Later, her department became subject to the New Birth TV department, she was demoted to secretary and was subsequently given her walking papers.

Yeah, that’s taking authority, eh?

A look inside of the Crystal Cathedral

File Chapter 11 and this is what a church probably looks like, from the inside out

News hailing from the Orange County Weekly and Reuters reports what we only knew was just a fleeting moment away: the nation’s first megachurch, the Crystal Cathedral, has filed Chapter 11.

Crystal Cathedral Ministries, founded by Dr. Robert Schuller, best known for its weekly “Hour of Power” television program that it claims has 20 million viewers, listed assets and debts of between $50 million and $100 million each, according to documents filed on Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, California. Its largest creditors include several U.S. television stations.

What began as a sticky family divorce is now a nasty separation of church and state. Pity.

This is a guy who created more than a trend; he established the genesis of the modern church – run like a business, looks like a corporation and “feels” like a church. Oh yeah, that one.

There is a microcosm forming here, only I wish more megachurch pastors would pay attention the tsunami it is creating. I’ve thought about it, and typed as much for years, but I will cite a source from the OC Weekly instead:

Maybe if Schuller had ditched the endless tours and paid more attention to his church, the Crystal Cathedral wouldn’t be in this situation today. Or maybe he understood that it’s Christ’s message that’s more important, not so much paying bills on time.

MEMO to the Elder Schuller: You know, if  you weren’t kicking your son out of the pulpit, making your church into an Amway convention, skipping town on your bills and deciding the only way to save the place is give those same tired motivational messages (instead of sticking to the power of the Gospel that got you there in the first place), perhaps you would still have a church.

However, there you are blaming the recession or whatever else sounds biblical in the face of a tragic decline in giving and church participation. Take it from all the talking heads on the national networks. These are the days of a persnickety shopper. If you don’t give them a reason to invest their money, they won’t.

Moral of the story? The secondary opportunities that come up as a result of your ministry are just that – secondary.

Tend to the greater vision at hand and all those other things will happen. Don’t worry about sheering out a TBN contract when you should have been tending to your flock. Oh, and your family.