Posts Tagged ‘megachurch’

(Oh, how I wish I had more time in my day to blog about breaking news like this…)

For years in the “Chitlin’ Circuit”, wayfaring Christian soldiers have heard the eerie whispers of Bishop Eddie Long’s desire to create his own army that marched under a different flag – a rainbow one that wisped gently in the wind.

Yesterday, FOX News in Atlanta broke the news and the mothership ran with the information.

Masonry Shout Out to Pastor Foster at GCM Watch

The prominent pastor of a 25,000-member megachurch [New Birth Missionary Baptist Church] near Atlanta denies allegations in a lawsuit that he coerced three young men from the congregation into a sexual relationship, his attorney said.

Lawyers for two of the men, now 20 and 21, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in DeKalb County Court against Bishop Eddie Long. The third lawsuit was filed Wednesday. The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they were victims of sexual impropriety.

Although church vernacular is not pointed out in this story, I have $10 that says these men were young, impressionable “armor bearers.” They wanted to be the apple of Bishop Long’s muscle shirt and would do anything to be that way. Evidently, and allegedly, they did.

Go to any black church and you will find an uber-zealous gentleman dressed in a pinstriped 10-button suit with square-toed gators bought from a swap meet and jewelry that crawls up the sleeve when faced with water. You’ve seen them? Yeah, these are “Armor Bearers”.

MEMO to those pastors instituting this “biblically based” model of discipleship: It doesn’t exist. In fact, after David’s reign in 1 Kings, the word doesn’t exist.

Back then, some tool carried the literal armor of a king. Now, a better dressed tool carries the “sword” of the pastor and doubles as the pastor’s bodyguard. Assistants are important. Pastors who answer to the “Executive” and “Senior” pastor are necessary for order in the house of God.

Ironic how he is rumored to act like a shady Catholic priest

However, getting a kid who is susceptible to brainwashing because of a Daddy complex to serve the “Mand of Gawd” (shout out to my man, IST) is nothing but abuse.

And so, we have this story about Bishop Eddie Long (this is CNN’s version).

A spokesman for Long told CNN on Wednesday that the allegations are “a case of retaliation and a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues.” Long “categorically and adamantly denies these allegations,” said spokesman Art Franklin.

“Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship,” the suits allege.

Rumors of trips to foreign lands, open access bedrooms at the church and ample in flagrante delicto are also alleged. And at what cost? Another preacher bites the dust.

You know, it’s getting to the point the only people you can believe discussing and ministering the Bible are folk outside of a pulpit.

Hey wait. I think we’re on to something… Hmmm…

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TV is changing the world, but is it changing the Church?

If you’re a football fan, you may have seen the megalopolis Jerry Jones erected in Arlington, Texas (outside of Dallas).

Some say it’s because God deserves a sanctuary that large to watch his favorite team. Others believe it’s some sort of obfuscated version of overcompensation. And then there’s that amazing video screen. Lord have mercy, it’s huge. And unfortunate.

Imagine sitting anywhere facing the sideline. Of course, you pay $400 for a glorified nosebleed seat and you are faced with two choices – watch a bunch of guys who look like ants on the field of green below or gaze upon the wonderment of a 159′ x 71′ TV screen. In HD, no less.

You bet you are watching the TV screen. Who wouldn’t?

You get back to your car and feel like you have lost five pounds. Your pants fit the same. You still look a little bloated in the cheek. And those $18 nachos you threw down your gullet didn’t help your GI tract. Then it dawns on you, with parking, eating and the seat costs, you are out close to $600… for watching TV. Think you’re going back after that epiphany? Me neither.

Considering that realization, I was reading the greatness of CNN Belief’s blog and found a nice opinion piece on a horse of a different color; yet, with the same flashy saddle – TV watching in church.

People listening to their pastor preach on Sunday morning may now ask a question that no one has ever asked before: Is this live or is this on tape delay? They are pastors like Rev. Ed Young, senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. Young broadcast videos of his sermons from his “mother” church to other congregations in Texas and even one in Florida.

Beam me up, Scotty. With the rapid growth of churches these days, the need for TV screens is a must because there is always that one seat in the back behind a structure beam. Well that, or some oblivious woman with her “crown of glory.”

However the issue is with the satellite congregation. Ostensibly, they are watching church on TV. Sure, there’s a live worship team and the occasional assistant pastor edifying folk and making announcements but when the senior chieftain takes the stage, it’s showtime. The lights dim, the crowd quiets and on goes… the TV?

Has this become the pseudo-church? We all experience fellowship of a different ilk watching a game and grubbing down on BBQ fresh off the grill at a friend’s house. So why can’t this be the same? Simple – it’s not.

That power you experience from above is not the satellite

Church is not meant to be entertainment. It’s a hospital for the hurting, a refuge for those reduced to tears. Church can be a fun, a blast even, but when the saints go into screensaver mode instead of the monitor they are watching, we have an issue.

Geoff Surratt, author of “The Multi-site Church Revolution,” said at least 3,000 churches nationwide use some variation of high-def video to spread their pastor’s Sunday morning sermons. Some broadcast hologram images of pastors that float suspended in the air behind the pulpit, while others project images of ministers on large video screens. Some sermons are broadcast live, while others are pre-recorded.

Even worse, “pre-recorded” church. What’s stopping people from mailing it in from Netflix or peeping TBN and DayStar for church? Who needs a church building anyway when you have DVDs and iSermons, right?

The Bible clearly shows that if we have fellowship with God, then we should have fellowship with his people. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Facebook is fun but a little disengaging with all that poking going on. Twitter is great to follow other people’s conversations (even though most well-known Christ followers don’t follow back). However, what is so social about social media is that it has limits in its socialism.

Can’t the same be said about satellite churches? You are together in the company of believers, but then again, not so much. Everyone is watching the TV, separate from any attachment and once the TV turns off, they all go home. Just as if they hit the remote control.

And if you don’t believe me… didn’t the Word become flesh and dwell among us? It wasn’t transmitted in HD. You know, like a football game.

So, I’m reading WOW News’ CNN Belief Blog and I find a story that seems appealing. One sentence into the thing, I’m incensed and feel like dog cussing some folk… but for the grace of God.

Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.

This is a must-read for any real Christ follower

To some, that sentence may not mean a thing and you’re thinking, “Grow up, HiScrivener.” To others, you are reading beyond the text and seeing the pandemic upon us – lukewarm pablum, uncommitted Christ followers and milquetoast preachers who the last time they experienced any “fire and brimstone” was slipping while placing a Duraflame in the fireplace.

[Author Kenda Creasy] Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.

Now that’ll preach!

And the girl is legit too. Dean, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and author of “Almost Christian”, is testifying about something many of us have been exclaiming for year. The Church has become a social club, not a hospital for the hurting. Why else do they call these big box churches “Evangelical Lite“?! Because there is nothing heavy being taught in these places.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with megachurches providing the pastors in charge are serious about teaching the Word of God the way it needs to be taught. However, if some of the altruistic benefactors of no condemnation and bumping up the church numbers to one-up the next toolbox are only interested in the weekly offering, then Houston, we have a friggin’ problem.

“If this is the God they’re seeing in church, they are right to leave us in the dust,” Dean says. “Churches don’t give them enough to be passionate about.”

Some do, but visit any “The Largest Megachurches” lists on the Internet and most of them are pioneered by guys who are very successful for rehashing and requoting Zig Ziglar, Sun Tzu and their grandmama. Their needs to be more passion about Christ, more conviction about living for Christ and honestly, if some folk warming a pew can’t take it – split!

The Church is a house of love, but we live in a world of hate. And if you aren’t getting some tough love and challenges on Sundays, what good is it?I would continue, but quoting her is too much fun:

Some adults don’t expect much from youth pastors. They simply want them to keep their children off drugs and away from premarital sex. Others practice a “gospel of niceness,” where faith is simply doing good and not ruffling feathers. The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice for others is muted, she says. “If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation.”

MEMO to Pastors everywhere: Get this woman to teach in your church the first Sunday possible!

Benny Hinn and Paula White red handed, literally

I love my pastor, but I ain't holding his hand!

Sounds so seedy, doesn’t it?

Both went to Rome for a Vatican getaway, allegedly at the Pontiff’s behest (yeah, like he needs her advice).

So when all of the sudden out of the catacombs arrives an ill-mannered paparazzi photographer and snapped the two during their Italian tryst shopping for a glove that fit for two, the evangelical world stopped on a dime.

Naturally, both “independently determined” this report was utter poppycock (although they repeated each others’ press release), and the news kept on coming. From blogs to mainstream Christian media, no one believed them and everyone doubted them.

Hinn is a husband scorned by an ex-wife who thinks her own miniskry is taking off and White… well, she thinks she is at a swap meet outside Compton most of the time anyway so we will just move on.

Indubitably, they both took a hit and considering both are in the news more for what they are not doing for the Gospel, I would say this could create a ripple in the financial blessings of both of their worlds. Something had to be done… and wouldn’t you know it?

Benny Hinn came forward in an exclusive with Charisma magazine. Well, kinda.

Evangelist Benny Hinn recently admitted at a crusade in Oakland, Calif., to having a “friendship” with fellow minister Paula White while he’s still married after a tabloid pictured them holding hands in Rome on July 13. But the well-known healing minister says the relationship is over.

Paula White and Benny Hinn still just friends

Yes, we're single and we like to mingle.

So, here’s a thought:

Brother Benny, what in the world do you call the “things” you have with fellow male ministers in the TBN circuit? Holy Ghost encounters?

No, you call them friendships, you dolt. You know, like the rest of the world.

You may roll with the Holy Ghost a lot more than most of us, but I’m fairly certain that doesn’t mean you are smarter than the rest of us.

Here’s a news flash – I’m married, and I have “friendships”. With women. [Cue scary music]. And guess what, I don’t fly them to Rome to buy Gucci, fool.

But just in case the Church wasn’t on to the rouse Captain Nehru was exhibiting, there’s more to this uh, “confession”:

“A friendship did develop,” Hinn said of White in Oakland on July 30. “Hear this: No immorality whatsoever. These people out there are making it sound like we had an affair. That’s a lie.”

Dude, your wife split and Paula left her man while he was sick and bankrupt. A classy catch she does not make, but meh? Whatever floats your coifed hairpiece… eh, hairdo.

So, you were friends, big deal. MEMO to Benny Hinn’s internal PR-ish department: I have friends and I don’t fly their narrow behinds to Rome and hold hands longingly. Friends don’t let friends get caught by the National Enquirer. Only “Hollywood lite” folks with too much time on their hands. Well, in this case… in their hands. (Thanks, I’m here until Tuesday.)

To wrap up the interview, we have the most real words Hinn echoed:

“I don’t care how strong you are,” Hinn added. “I don’t care if the anointing of God is mighty on you. Nobody wants to be alone. I don’t care who you are. I am a human being just like you.”

Yes, Brother Benny. Yes, you are. You stink like us. You mislead like us. You lie like a dog like us. And you did all of them with this report.
“Birds of a feather flock together” is an old adage for a reason. It’s been true for so many years. You know who marries cops? Lots of other cops. Lawyers? That’s right, attorneys and the occasional paralegals.

So, why is it so hard to believe that national televangelists would not find more than just “common ground” in each other’s company?
That’s understandable… still rather gross, but at least we get it.

Admit that and you gain respect. Admit to a harrowing “friendship” as if you are some eunuch with a slow pulse and people laugh at you even more. Surely, you must have asked the Holy Ghost that one.

Well, then again, maybe not.

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.