Posts Tagged ‘IRS’

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.

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Ed Young loves his jet as much as he loves the cash.

Your money at Fellowship is... leaving, on a jet plane...

Earlier this month, we spray painted all over the Wall the alarming tale of yet another megachurch pastor who can’t get enough of his private jet.

In fact, Ed Young enjoys the jet so much, he takes it to locals so novel for “evangelism” that he requires two floaties, suntan lotion and a rubber ducky. Case in point, the follow up story Dallas TV station WFAA-TV did on Ed Young that depicts a man who would rather get a lovely stamp on his passport than you know, do something for Jesus.

Ed Young — the pastor at Fellowship Church in Grapevine [Texas] —  may soon have to answer for the numerous trips by the leased church jet to resort locations.  It’s luxury air travel that costs tens of thousands of dollars per trip.

Tens of thousands?! Unless that dude is coming back to his church with countless tales of missiological exploits, something tells me folk tithe ain’t going to the building fund.And evidently, he’s feeling the heat from the first go-round:

While Young is not legally or professionally obligated to disclose anything to his congregants, he did respond to our report about his travel three days after our initial story aired in February. “This year I am flying commercially like a mad dog to places all over the world,” Young said. “I have also chartered planes.

“THIS YEAR”... as opposed to last year when he took his family to every island in the Bahamas via a church-paid-for jet?! I wonder how many of the church members get to ride that thing, seeing how they paid for it and everything.

Sorry? No one? Hrm.Yet, somehow, that jet is getting some mileage in the name of God:

Using dates, times and destinations dating back to March 2007 when the jet was acquired, we plotted the trips on a monthly calendar. The record shows the jet was used on 416 days in less than three years.

Among those trips were some well known missionary locations and evangelism hot beds, such as:

In addition to the trips to Miami, the church jet took Young on a five-day trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where — in addition to visiting a few area churches —  fishing was on the menu for him and his attorney, Dennis Brewer.

We asked the church for a list of its ministries. None was located in Cabo San Lucas. Add to that six trips by the church jet to the Bahamas, one to Anguilla, one to Belize, and one to England. Again, when asked for a list of foreign ministries, none of those countries was mentioned.

I missed the DVD series that discussed and regaled about the lost souls Ed Young went fishing… er, sorry? Wrong kind of fishing? Well, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.

You know, in a day of necessary transparency, there are still a gaggle of ne’er-do-well preachers that is ostensibly in the dark. Their finances, their duties, their ministry needs – each are cloaked in “privacy” and the “Lord’s bidding.” I understand if you have some discretionary cash, and I’m not mad at you.

Write your books. Sell your software. Copyright your conferences. But do not sheer your sheep!

In a day when money is more of a commodity than anything, the last thing any good-intending Christ followers needs is for some fool to come around and treat their tithes and offerings like a free lotto ticket.

Of course, Young has an answer for that one:

‘When I do anything personally, whether it be on a commercial aircraft or a charter aircraft, I always, always, always pay for it,” Young said. “I have teams of accountants watching every single penny.”

Their watching your pennies… but who is watching them? And sure he pays for it… with whose money? Until those questions are answered, there will always be a lack of sincerity when it comes to “fellowship” with this cat.

Unless, of course he is outside a pool in the Tropics.

“Oh, how the mighty have fallen.”

Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral now $65 million in debt

Ironic, no?

It’s a quote of the dramatic many equate to some movie from the roaring 20s or some such, but not so fast. It’s actually one of the plethora of pop culture references that are really biblical writ.

The passage is from 2 Samuel 1:25 and it could so be the headline for many ills plaguing the Church today.

Take the plight of Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral.

We have gone from Elder Schuller kicking his son clean out of the pulpit to the entire ministry being on its last gems dealing with $65 million in debt.

And now, according to the Orange County Register, some of those vendors are demanding their share of what’s left in the offering plate:

Over the last two months, three businesses, including an equipment financing company and two television stations, have filed lawsuits against the Crystal Cathedral stating that the megachurch owes them more than $2 million for services rendered. Several vendors who provided their services during the church’s “Glory of Christmas” pageant also came forward last month saying that they are owed tens of thousands of dollars.

I have worked with enough megachurches to know this is a rather unfortunate, but never-ending, trend. There is this feeling of “God will cover our bills… and our vendors” brooding in churches everywhere in this great land of ours, and most of that mentality finds a delta in the pastor’s office.

Although I am so completely resisting the yearn to hyperlink here, I know of one in particular that held a Christmas lights parade, signed a contract for the generators and never paid because (and this is a direct quote) “God wanted us to have this parade and he used that company to bring it.”

The ticket cost? More than $150,000.

From marketing to missions, the path to hell is not lined with good intentions. It’s unpaid vendor’s invoices from churches.

I wish I knew why this sanctimonious, impious attitude takes place, but despite the churches that do pay their bills, they are a barrel full of monkeys that don’t and just fling poo at the phone every time it rings.

Robert Schuller is now the 800 pound gorilla in the IRS room, and so, he sends his baby girl to do his bidding: beg for mercy.

Leaders of a financially distressed Crystal Cathedral met with vendors and creditors Friday morning to discuss possible debt payments, according to a statement issued by the megachurch’s current leader, Shiela Schuller Coleman, daughter of Cathedral founder, Robert H. Schuller.The purpose of the meeting was to gather all these vendors, suppliers and friends into one place and apologize for the delinquency of the accounts that we currently have with them,” Coleman said in her issued statement.

In the words of a sage sports prophet,Juuuuuuust a bit outside.”

MEMO to the Schullers – and any other pastors who enjoy fleecing vendors: “God bless you” don’t pay the bills!

You can’t call up the phone company and tell the man, “Um, please don’t turn off my cell. I need it for business. And besides, Robert Schuller asked for my forgiveness. Now you can’t shut off my… (dial tone)…” Don’t you think this mindless charade of an apology was a skosh overdue?

Vendors who attended Friday morning’s meeting said they had no idea there were so many creditors. When asked, cathedral administrators told them that there are as many as 185 creditors waiting in line to be paid.

That’s a lot of people wearing blind man glasses holding the ubiquitous pencil coffee cup saying, “Brother, can you spare a dime?”

And it’s not any fault of the people who call that church ‘home.” Their tithes and offerings go there. Their service is there. Yet, that money stays there. Well, at least it used to before a cavalcade of attorneys came walking down the aisle looking for a handout.

Maybe if that would have happened sooner, the church would still be open and vendors would have their bills paid for services rendered. You know, like they do in the real world. And folk say megachurches don’t need to be run like a business. Stories like this beg to differ.

Just when you thought some megachurch televangelical playas had seen enough of the brethren being shady, sucking their thumb in a fetal position and using hundreds of dollars for tissue – comes Ed Young, Jr.

Eddie is pastor of one of the largest – and most egregious milquetoast – churches in the country, Fellowship Church. He recently made national news (and got to chill with Stephen Colbert) by telling his congregation to have sex for seven days. No mention of differentiation between married couples and those just hooking up, but never mind that now.

Ed has an issue, aside from the fact he rarely mentions Jesus Christ from his production soundstageer, pulpit, he’s a flawed human who adores what cash can bring him. Yes, his church has five “campuses” – four scattered in North Texas and another in Miami (uh, like that’s not too conspicuous). Yes, he has written a few books. So yes, he deserves to have a salty income – but in this story, it’s $1.24 million. This reeks of pimpdom.

Now, I do understand why some global ministers have private jetsever seen an actor or an athlete fly coach, much less first class? No, you haven’t because they would get mugged right out of the terminal. People can’t handle fame. They’re dimwits who are attracted to folk who put on their skivvies like anyone else. But because their Fruit of the Looms are scattered on TV and movies, they must be righteous.

Famed preachers are no different. People can’t handle if their favorite global preacher stepped out of Daystar and TBN and off the runway and into their lives, if only for a while. And then there’s this pimp with his starched button down, Zoom-whitened grill and bedazzled jeans. He is no traveling evangelist. He is no global minister. And he apparently is no righteous individual, just flawed like the rest of us.

Only when he flat-out steals millions of dollars, it becomes national news. Enjoy.

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A couple of years ago, Kenneth Copeland made a distinguished list – not the Lamb’s Book of Life, the final 12 on American Idol or even a follower on my Twitter account.

No, after decades of proclaiming faith in that noted southern drawl, he bellowed his way on Sen. Charles Grassley’s list of reprobate televangelists.

Since then, Copeland has nothing but flaunt the hand of God while giving the U.S. Senate’s ranking Republican on the Finance Committee probing into his surreptitious pocketbook the finger. A pentecostal one, nonetheless.

We have heard the litany of ills he has wiped on the face of his followers. We have documented the stories of him fleecing his sheep in order to make the Kashmir sweater “God wanted him to have.”

And now, we have this… he is even stealing from the lost and those who were ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Classy.

According to Rich Vermillion, a former – and scorned, let’s keep it real – minister in Copeland’s fold, we have this national press release, “Kenneth Copeland Accused of Humanitarian Aid Fraud.”

While shilling for his book, Vermillion notes an incident that would even have the nation’s most renowned Pulpit Pimps cashing in their peacock plumb from their silk hats:

The book details the 2005 relief efforts made by Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Copeland’s promises to form a new ongoing aviation humanitarian-relief ministry also called Angel Flight 44 (AF44). However, Rev. Vermillion now says that the aviation ministry was never formed as Copeland pledged: “It is as if Kenneth Copeland had NEVER said such a ministry had ALREADY been formed, nor had repeatedly promised that such an aviation support ministry would be further developed and ready for disasters–such as that which just occurred in Haiti a few days ago.

The release and book discusses Copeland’s oath to raise “several million dollars to build an airplane hangar and buy helicopters, airplanes, food and supplies for Angel Flight 44.” Only one small issue – he never did it.

You think the money came in? Sure it did. Ask Rick Warren how that goes when you pull a lever and look for your congregation to run to the polls.

A better question is you think Copeland gave the truckloads of cash back that was backed up to his hilltop compound? Um, not so much.

In fact, according to Vermillion’s eyewitness account, “the new ministry has not been accounted for [sic].”

I’m quite certain the victims of natural disasters everywhere would like a word with you, little man. Namely considering what the Church – not Pat Robertson’s mousey house is doing – but God’s people are doing for the Haitians.

Home of Santeria, Voodoo and all sorts of diabolical mischief or not, these are people with nothing, children with nowhere to go and families with no food. Yet, here’s Kenneth Copeland flying the friendly skies and cushioning his seat with cash. Your cash.

And we wonder why instead of fellow brothers and sisters lining along the Wall proclaiming the truth of Christ, we have the lost, the hurting and the bitter hurling Molotov Cocktails at these bricks. This mess makes us look terrible, but if “God’s chosen ministers” are full of more crap than a Christmas turkey, who’s to say us Jesus minions aren’t as well?!

MEMO to COPELAND: When the old spiritual sings, “I’ll fly away,” it wasn’t talking …because of guilt or shame. Evidently, you have both while swirling in the clouds. At least you should.