Archive for October 31, 2008

MOST RECENT UPDATE: The Crystal Cathedral has lost its power and filed Chapter 11.

UPDATE: Is Elder Schuller retiring? Don’t call it a comeback… it’s all right here. And then some.

Three years ago the father of the nation’s first megachurch, Rev. Robert Schuller and his Crystal Cathedral, gave up the ghost (metaphorically) and allowed his clone son to take over the pulpit.

But that entitlement was only an experiment as Good Ol’ Dad came back to roost and kicked that hen out of the house, citing a “lack of shared vision”. Oh boy!

“It is no secret to any of you that my son, Robert, and I have been struggling as we each have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry,” his statement read. “For this lack of shared vision and the jeopardy in which this is placing this entire ministry, it has become necessary for Robert and me to part ways.

I’m sorry. Did that old codger just chicken peck on his typewriter, “My son and I have to part ways”?! What was his reason, “irreconcilable differences”?! Someone getting half? Was there another woman?

What the …? This ain’t a divorce, dude. This is your son!

You don’t part ways just because the kid doesn’t throw down the theology like dear old Dad. Maybe the other woman is an old – and I mean OLD – seminary professor of yours calling you on the cell (or shouting in the can attached to a string) saying, “Hey Bob. Your boy doesn’t really profess the Divine Command Theory the way I’d prefer so I think he’s got to go.” And if that wasn’t it, this was:

Robert A. Schuller’s major challenge was attracting younger congregants and using the television program to build membership. It is unclear whether he achieved that.

Seriously?! Dude is like 98 and… his dad is older than that! Have you seen the blue hairs this grandiose church attracts? The AARP could hold a convention there and sell tchotchkeys on a weekly basis. The crow’s feet in that place could fill a zoo. That or a cornfield hanging out with the scarecrows.

Still no one knows what happened. And quite honestly, I don’t know if anyone cares. I suppose like the aforementioned disgruntled wife, the “man of the house” just needs to get younger at that position.

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To be the man, you have to well, be the man!

To be the man, you have to well, be the man!

Small, neighborhood churches can afford to do things in the community that the uberchurches can’t. And vica-versa for the megachurch when it comes to actually PAYING to do things anywhere else.

So you can imagine the surprise to most people who keep with things like this (yours truly included) when the amazing North Coast Church in Vista, Calif. shut down services last weekend to personify the Church [NOTE: Big “C”].

“So many people think of a church as a self-contained religious club – but it’s not,” said Pastor Larry Osborne of North Coast Church. “A healthy church is a community of Jesus-followers who live out their spiritual commitment 24/7.”

Over 6,000 North Coast attendees were expected to live out their commitment over the weekend as they tackled 139 community service projects at 70 sites throughout North San Diego County. On Oct. 25 and 26, the church closed its doors for a “Weekend of Service” and providing churchgoers the opportunity to show the love of Jesus.

Here’s the rub, sports fans… you know why something of this caliber makes news? Because it seems Christians as a whole doesn’t “show the love of Jesus” on a routine basis in droves.

Oh sure, you say “God bless you” at a retail store when someone gives you a receipt or write “Jesus loves you” on the slip near the tip at a restaurant… for uh, those of you who do tip. But this gets national attention. Anyone see an issue with this?!

Don’t get me wrong. What North Coast did is commendable. Imagine the witnessing in the town square when 5,000 happy Christians spread out and spread the message of Jesus. Sweet. And why?

“What we tell people is ‘this week, we’re going to be the church instead of going to church,‘” Osborne commented, noting that critics have become fans of the Weekend of Service and that this year, North Coast has received no complaint.

No complaint. Nice. “Hey Jesus freaks. Next time you come to town, spend money and try to make the world a better place, would you mind not smiling so much. We’re more of a morose crowd here in Boring Dimwits, USA.” Only in America, home of the Megachurch.