Posts Tagged ‘radio’

Art by the great Kerry Waghorn

Art by the great Kerry Waghorn

Dr. James Dobson.

He’s 72, has almost 1000 employees, more than two million listeners on a daily basis and single-handedly done more the evangelical movement than any other person alive. And now, he’s calling it a day, according to the Denver Post.

Evangelical Christian icon James Dobson has resigned as chairman of the international media ministry Focus on the Family, yet the voice of this key architect of the religious right will still be heard in American homes and political theater, he told followers Friday.

From abortion to pornography, gay marriage to children’s rights, Dobson has said and done a lot as America’s advocate. But his influence is waning and his identity has been flailing.

In short, all those who were caught up in the net of his sacred fishing expeditions and building of the National Day of Prayer’s foundation are now in their 50s and really don’t have the commitment to further Dobson’s ministry.

His passion still exists. His purpose is still necessary. But his target demo – young parents – have become still more accepting of the “Adam & Steve” theory. At least so says his critics kicking dirt on his still open grave:

“For more than 20 years James Dobson has used his expansive, well-funded media platform to promote defamatory and false information about the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Yeah, well. Despite his shallow threats and support for losing candidates, what Dobson has done for the entire Body of Christ will never be duplicated. His mettle, prestige and certitude will be unmatched in ecumenical circles.

He may be retiring, but his voice will still be heard and his legacy will live on. Say what you will, folks. But at least start with saying, “Thank you.”

“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).

What the famed prayer sculpture could look like now

What the famed prayer sculpture could look like now

Oral Roberts University has been going through the ringer lately. You know, having a president with a case of self-entitlement the size of this hair gel account and him bringing along a wife who has a hankering for cute co-eds and some text messaging will do that for a college. OMG!

Now, the lineage is gone (as is the endowment… allegedly), the frisky woman and her hot flashes have vanished, the debt is still an anchor around its academic neck and no leadership in sight… until now.

So, did they learn from their lesson, find a real academic and leave the TBN crowd behind? According to this story from the Tulsa World, um, kinda.

A pastor and missionary who turned a small Christian college into a recognized liberal arts university was named Wednesday as the candidate for president of Oral Roberts University... Mark Rutland is the author of 13 books and has a 30-minute syndicated daily radio program, “Herald of Joy.” He has also founded ministries in Ghana and Thailand.

So, we have a radio preacher here with a sterling reputation for hooking up megachurches to not pay its taxes?! Hrm.

ORU revealed in 2007 it was $55 million in debt, but a fundraising campaign has cut that amount to about $16 million.  A 2006 article in the Tampa Tribune referred to Rutland as a “turnaround man” based on his success in saving a megachurch in Florida that was $15 million in debt.

Multiply that kerfuffle by four and you have the trouble brewing at the Oral Roberts University. Rutland is an educator, but has been a missionary all his life. Trust me, this is a field to sow some seeds of accountability, deliverance, redemption and trust. Those are his lost children and the angst of public perception will be his persecution.

“I believe that the first thing that needs to happen is, at the wider constituencies at Oral Roberts, trust has to be restored,” he said. “The kind of balanced and thoughtful leadership has to happen there that can restore the goodwill of their constituencies and restore the confidence of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the world.”

Well, he’s off to a great start. He agrees with me. Good times and keep your eyes peeled, Wall Watchers.

Back to the football theme, this week in video evangelism is a classic – and one I never knew existed. Thankfully so, I should say because my heart can’t take much more.

I’m laughing so hard my chest is burning.

In the Super Bowler, “Big Game” spirit, please enjoy this song claimed as the only “Christian Football Waltz.” Ya’ think? Please enjoy “Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life)”

No, really. I know I’ll look at the game differently now that I am part of “his master game plan.” Excuse me. Have. Tears. Fighting. Must. Keep. Composure.

hiswayTomorrow is the “Big Game.”

That’s a familiar phrase that has been echoed in radio and TV, and seen on print or online for eons. Why?

It’s marketing tyranny by the NFL because NO ONE on this planet is allowed to say in a paid forum those two precious words in the same sacred breath – GASP – “Super Bowl.”

The “No Fun League,” as many in the know love to call it, even control how it’s viewed.

jesus-starbucks1And naturally, the last group to get any kind of rights is… any guesses… anyone… yeah, the Church. (Legal Prejudice? Someday, someone will believe me.)

It seems for years that churches weren’t permitted to have viewing parties. I suppose since booze wasn’t a player (save in a Catholic church), the NFL felt guilty for airing all those Budweiser commercials? Never mind bars, strip joints and every home with a barbecue pit does it, but church? Oh no. That’s where the NFL draws the line.

Until now, thanks to this story from Church Executive magazine.

jesus-budweiser1Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have been working on this issue since prior to the Super Bowl game in 2007, when the NFL warned churches that viewing the Super Bowl broadcasts on large-screen televisions at church-sponsored gatherings infringed on the League’s copyright in the broadcast. Institute attorneys also worked with several members of Congress to craft legislation that would create an exemption to the Copyright Law for religious organizations.

Copyright infringement? Um, what? This is a church. Puh-lease.

So, all these other establishments with 100 people howling inside and blustering drunk doesn’t qualify?! Well, it turns out that was the contingency the Rutherford Institute used to tell the NFL they were full of pleather poppycock.

OK, pastors, don’t say you weren’t warned. Here are your Sunday rules:jesus-staples

…Churches can legally host Super Bowl parties on their premises; churches may show the game on whatever size screen they want; while churches may not charge admission, they may take up a donation to help with the cost of the event, if desired; finally, to avoid any copyright infringements, churches may want to call their event a “Big Game Party” rather than a “Super Bowl Party.”

You know why the focus on churches. Ever been to the T-shirt section of a Lifeway Bookstore? Um, do these pictures scattered throughout the post give you any ideas? Or at least, unlike Christian shirt makers, an original idea?! IJS.

Enjoy the kick-off tomorrow, boys. And uh, let’s work on those “divine revelations” next week, shall we?