Archive for February, 2009

Ever thought how much more dramatic things would be if they were all like the movies?

You know, like you have been away out of town and the day you come back “Endless Love” cues up on the airport public address system as your significant other runs in slow motion to give you a hug at baggage claim? What about you are school, and are very late. The bell rings and you take off… to the tune of “Chariots of Fire.”

And then there’s you busting a move to whatever “Bow-Chica-Wow-Wow” music you can conjure.

Well, what if Jesus had a soundtrack as well. Take this week in video evangelism, crack your Bible open to Luke 11 and listen to this soundtrack. It’s chilling how that analogy – and this music – makes so much sense. Enjoy.

Here’s an interesting scenario for you: There’s a seeker-sensitive megachurch, let’s call it WILLOW CREEK (yeah, I know, cryptic). They preach serving and compassion. They claim to love God, yet they are acting like most churches their size and dining on their young.

Case in point: Pastor Steve Wu recently “resigned” after he admitted to sexual impurity.

“He admitted to sexual impurity and has taken full responsibility for his sin,” the statement said. No other specifics or details have been revealed by church officials. What happens next with Wu is not clear either, but the statement said Wu “has expressed a desire to participate in a restoration process. We would ask you to pray diligently for Steve in these difficult days.”

Yeah, that’s sweet. Um, about that though:

  1. Yeah, not in megachurches. The money works though.

    Yeah, not in megachurches. The money works though.

    Doesn’t this dude get some sort of “get out of jail free” card for ADMITTING to this “impurity”?! I mean, it’s not like he was the pastor of this gigachurch who invited Bill Clinton to discuss his own impurities before the entire congregation. Sure, that’s hypocritical, but moreover, it contradicts being “compassionate,” doesn’t it? He didn’t have to tell the “sensitive” clerics at Willow Creek.

  2. It’s not a crime to be “impure” these days. Anyone watched TBN lately? I’m sorry, I meant to say network news. (It’s one in the same these days, right?) There are impure cats proselyting daily – they’re called HUMANS! Only Jesus is pure, but they would know that if these tools would stop seeking butts in seats, and start seeking the Bibles left in those seats.
  3. Just what did this guy do? Have a bad dream? Hit on someone’s daughter? Aren’t our standards a little high when a church kicks a guy out in the street for being… well, like the rest of the folk in that church?!
  4. What happened to “serving a God of the second chance”? Where did all that mercy and grace go I hear about every Sunday at my church? Does the Holy Spirit have to stop for cab fare before he makes the trek to Illinois? No thought of deliverance. No chance for prayer. And certainly no thought of the economy… oh, well I read the statement. Sorry. You covered your bases with that sage PR.

At least Steve Wu will be held in fond memory given all the many great things he did there.

Records of Wu have been removed from the church’s website.

Ah, well maybe not. So, after a minor crime and a real admission, dude was convicted, and then they rocked the Caesar on this guy. Et tu, Hybels? Stay classy… brother. Sigh.

divorce-textAnd now for something completely different.

Here’s how all those rollover minutes can be used to… uh, well, roll a person over, at least in India where we find divorce via text messaging is not only a trend in the sub continent, but on the rise?!

A study on “Marriage and divorce amongst Muslim women in India”, undertaken by Sahiba Hussain, reader, Centre for Dalit and Minorities, Jamia Milia Islamia, highlights that more and more men are divorcing via SMS and e-mail. Where women do not have access to mobile phones or computers, men use landline phones to pronounce the divorce declaration. “From 15 divorces that we looked at in 2008, eight were pronounced via SMS, e-mail and over the phone,” said Husssain.

Another related news story: Muslim men in India are complete chicken bock-bock!

Are you kidding me? You know, if you have the guts to marry a woman, do you think so little of her to divorce her via “ping”? But wait, there’s more:

Most of the SMS’ and e-mails had husbands complaining along predictable lines. They did not find the wife “beautiful enough”, “compatible enough” or of having brought “adequate dowry”.

Great. It’s bad enough we have these tools calling it quits because she’s not as fine as she was back in the day, or she’s become a little bit of a nag… but now she’s not quite the Sugar Mama you thought you were getting?!

Can you imagine: “OMG baby. u suk. i’m out. it ov4.”

Stay classy, fellas. Muhammad would be proud.

(Masonry shout out for WOW News’ Times Central)

“If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must man be of learning from experience.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

Ah, man. Where’s a good playwright when you need one to talk to the Church? So, did TV land hear that adage? TBN? Daystar? Someone? Anyone?

It’s important to ask the two big faith-based networks because it’s their clientele pulling back the curtain and their shows for network TV.

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

Go ahead, name the preacher… to whom you used to give offerings? Jakes, Parsley, Meyer, White, Hinn, Robertson, Dollar, Long, Dobson, et al. According to this story in the USA Today, even the celebrities of Christendom are feeling the pinch in this economy.

The industry shows signs of contraction at a time when its future is fraught with uncertainty. And it’s not just the economic downturn that is causing turmoil: last year, a study found that the percentage of megachurches with a radio ministry dropped from 44% in 2000 to 24% in 2008. Likewise, the percentage with television ministries dropped from 38% to 23%.

When Christian television was created, its premise was to exalt God and see people edified. Nowadays, that formula for success is a bit askew as money seems to be exalted and preachers are deified.

To save on production costs and those picturesque, on-location remotes, these folk have made fewer shows for broadcast, which means the networks don’t get their coin.

See, it’s cyclical – you payer, donate to the ministry, they pay the network and a star is born.

In this economy, you don’t… and they don’t… and Christian television becomes a black hole.

You see, when folk presume you are dripping with cash, hand-made suits and all that bling, they keep their cash and you get stuck with a larger bill. MEMO to the megachurch megaminister: If perhaps you appeared more modest, people would find more than lint in that piggy bank bellybutton to give you. Just like it used to be. However…

“The industry is at a crossroads,” says Paul Creasman, associate professor of communications at Southern Wesleyan University in Central, S.C., and a former Christian radio personality and producer. “The audience is dwindling, and they have to figure out what to do. But the Web is not the answer because older audiences don’t use the Internet… and younger audiences will go to the Web for content, but they’ll probably be less likely to donate.”

Moving content online may be broadcasting’s future, but it’s a nerve-wracking endeavor that doesn’t necessarily pay the bills of the present. “Everyone (in religious broadcasting) is doing it,” he said. “And everyone is asking each other: ‘Are you making money at it? Because we’re not.‘”

Listen, in case it’s a news flash to some folk, ministries have to ask for money to survive. They rely on the kind hearts, open minds and yielding spirits of the Body of Christ to give. If the world can uphold causes like breast cancer, the MDA, HIV, Katrina and a tsunami, certainly a ministry shouldn’t be that far out of reach?!

The problem is that people don’t see the ministry being blessed, it’s the ministers. We have all seen the stories and heard the tales of woe. When those cease, despite the beneficence of some on TBN and Daystar who are doing it right, money will drop.

Kinda like pennies from heaven, and wouldn’t all of that be an experience man could learn from?

(Masonry shout out to Another Brick in the Wall, “Get Religion” for the nice magazine cover).

I've heard him called a stiff, but this is ridiculous

I've heard him called a stiff, but this is ridiculous

We know about the ballyhoo between father and the junior Schuller, the depleting real estate of the first-ever megachurch and the ministry’s $65 million in debt… but did you know people are actually dying in the church?

A man shot himself in the head Wednesday morning at the altar of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove and died at the scene, police said.

Without rhyme or reason, a middle-aged man walks inside stating he wanted to pray. And why not? It’s a church. Makes sense, so an usher let the guy inside… who walked up three steps to the altar, knelt before a gold cross and literally blew his head off.

Um, WOW! As if this church didn’t have enough bad press. We have a truckload of irony to throttle this story clean down our throat…

Six people, including a tourist group from Canada and one or two tour guides, were inside the church at the time. Volunteer Yvette Manson, 76, says she was explaining the church’s suicide hotline with tourists when she heard the shot.

Is God trying to tell Robert Schuller something? Anything? Maybe it’s how to get through what he’s getting through? Well, if that’s the case, he may wanna call his kid. I hear he hasn’t been to church in a while.