Posts Tagged ‘economy’

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.

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.

Plenty of headlines. Choose one.

8.5 percent.

Many don’t relate to the number of America’s unemployed. Mainly because percentages are faceless, unless you are one of them. Now add the statistics of those not receiving benefits any more because it’s been too long or those who were making a nice living and are now settling for sacking groceries.

Add those – the underemployed – and that terrible but nameless number spikes to 17 percent. To make it real, there are more than 309 million people in America. Doing the math, there are 54,075,000 people in this country dealing with the economy worse than most.

Now that’s real. And what is the Church doing about it? Praying about it? That’s sweet considering 10 percent of your church is probably one of these people in need of a miracle. Anything else?

An article from a Charisma magazine says we should doing much more in lieu of a government that is not:

With unemployment at record highs, churches and Christian organizations are stepping in to help job seekers both practically and spiritually. Ministries such as Florida-based Christian HELP and Career Solutions in Dallas began helping the unemployed find work long before the recession hit in 2008. But since the unemployment rate shot up, the groups say the ministry needs—and opportunities—are growing.

The Church is to be a place where we take care of each other, but how many churches have job boards in the bulletin or employment workshops on Wednesday nights? Prayer changes things… but so do prayerful people doing things.

“Most people don’t realize just how deeply affected people are, and the church is not doing near what it could do,” says [Career Solutions founder David Rawles, author of Finding a Job God's Way] Rawles, a former human resources executive at GTE and Disney who developed career coaching curriculum for churches.

It’s no secret the birth of this blog came as a result of being unemployed. I was begging God for something to do to bless him while I was waiting for him to bless me… and the ‘Wall’ happened.

That unemployment lasted many months and took quite a toll on my life. It’s bad enough if you are single dealing with it. Now, raise a family and be without work? It’s torturous and although I greatly appreciated the prayer, I would rather some hand me a business card, you know?

According to the article, some churches across the country are taking a cue from these necessary ministries and creating job placement groups for their congregations:

Entrepreneur Tim Krauss estimates that less than 40 percent of churches offer some form of employment ministry, but he hopes to change that through his Job Connection. The online service enables churches to list available jobs in their areas while weeding out scams. It costs $195 to set up, with a monthly service fee ranging from $95 for churches of 6,000 or less to $245 for larger congregations. So far, more than a dozen ministries are on board, including Willow Creek Community Church and Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, and Second Baptist Church in Houston.

If that investment is what it takes for your congregation, then it’s worth it. The Church is a safe haven for the hurting, and right now there are more than 54 million people hurting. And this is the pain that can cause addictions, divorce or even death.

Pastors and church leaders, I encourage you to consider a ministry like this in your church. You know some of the unemployed, but there are many more that may surprise you. Bring in community advocates, job placement experts, human resource recruiters and even hold a job fair for the community in your lobby.

Whatever you do, do something. Now is the time for the Church to stand up and lend a hand because that action alone could be the difference:

“At the very least [the ministry has] provided a better hope,” says [a facilitator of a similar church ministry in Michigan, Geoff] Brown, who became the first to find a job through the ministry. “And I think that’s the biggest thing I needed after nine months of unemployment—hope.

I know. I know. I never thought the economy would get so bad that this headline would ever be necessary. I always Jesus rocked the finest of tunics and got his hair groomed by celebrity stylists but it’s true according CNN’s Belief Blog:

George Horn allegedly broke into the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on the night of June 26. Fort Lauderdale police say the 48-year-old suspect broke a window to enter the church, took a crucifix from the church’s altar and then used it to pry open a donation box.

What kind of sick and deranged fool do you have to be to use a crucifix to steal… from a church! Let’s find out:

That's a theft in progress. And yes, that's a crucifix in his hands.

Courtesy: Fort Lauderdale PD

There’s a theft in progress. That’s candid camera. And yes, that’s the Son of God in his clammy hands.

This guy is jonesin’ to go to hell. He has to be. Why else would you take that as your “Crowbar of record”?! Sure, this guy must have been a crackhead, but I can stumble across a homeless man, say the name of Jesus and get a civil response.

Not Rosemary’s Baby here. Oh no. He’s got life all figured out.

According to WPLC 10 in Fort Lauderdale, the guy was prying his way into a losing situation (Thanks, I’m here all week):

“It’s almost an act of desperation,” the Rev. James Daly, a visiting priest, told Local 10’s Janine Stanwood… Daly said the man first went for the two donation boxes located at each end of the church. Daly said people leave what they can in those boxes for the poor. They are locked and not always checked on a regular basis.

Daly said the burglar then walked toward a prayer area where candles are lined above.”Then he came up here where the bigger money would be. But there’s no bigger money because there’s nobody here in the summertime,” he said.

Here’s the ironic thing of the whole CSI case: The suspect, who was caught on surveillance video, cut himself at some point, leaving a large amount of blood behind, police said.

Anyone see the divine sense of humor in that?

Megachurches are no longer “Mega” these days. Unless, of course, you consider the megalomaniacs building these ornate and appalling edifices.

Sure, some of them are huge because they have to be – see Willow Creek, The Potter’s House or Second Baptist Church for example. Huge congregations demand a huge facility.

They do not demand statues that get struck down but mythological figureheads. Nor do they have to feature life-size cherubs bedazzled and blinged out greeting you lowly sinners at the door. However, I truly thought I had seen it all. That is until I was reading the New York Times a couple of weeks ago and saw something from Sao Paulo, Brazil that would make that big Jesus statue hide his head in shame.

Meet a group of saints that think it’s a snazzy idea to rebuild Solomon’s Temple for $200 million (and carry 10,000 seats). Yes, that Solomon’s Temple!

According to a post on the blog of Bishop Edir Macedo, the founder of Brazil’s evangelical Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which is building the replica, the structure will be 180 feet high, making it nearly twice as tall as the Christ the Redeemer statue that towers over Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Macedo also said that stones of the same type used by Solomon had been ordered from Jerusalem to be used in a complex which will also house 36 Bible schools, television and radio studios and a 1,000-space parking lot.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Church comes through in splendid fashion. Keep it classy, folks.

Are you kidding me?! What purpose does this serve? Moreover, how does this honor God. Solomon built that amazing structure because he had something amazing to put in the Holy of Holies. Oh yeah, and he could.

What do you have, you narcissistic, over-compensating twit? Other than an obvious little-man complex.

And whose high-tone behind are you planning to park in seats of gold. Better yet, marble toilets? I realize Solomon probably peed in a trough, but this is the 21st century, baby. You got to represent, right? While you are at it, make sure you throw in one of “order while you watch” areas like the big stadia has. I mean, if your followers are going to watch a game, they may as well be entertained with dollar hot-dog Sundays and Salty Pretzel Wednesdays.

Here’s more lovely pictures, in case you enjoy the taste of throw up in your mouth.