Posts Tagged ‘Robert Schuller’

A new day for an old megachurch dawns

A new day for an old megachurch dawns

Last we visited the trying drama of Robert Schuller, we read the Crystal Cathedral was losing its luster, folk were going elsewhere for edification and Junior Schuller gave pops the peace sign to start his own “Hour of Power.”

Refusing to give up the ghost, Elder Schuller had an epiphany to save his ministry and everything he has worked so hard to establish: according to the L.A. Times, his daughter is going to head up the ministry.

Yeah… wait, I’m sorry?!

Evidently, people in the famed megachurch are already asking “Oh Sheila” [Oh come on! It was there. I had to take it.] as she has a fairly popular (and surely, well promoted within) blog called, “Ask Sheila.”

Much to the chagrin of pentecostals everywhere, Elder Schuller released a crafty statement to address the issues:

“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,” he said in a statement.”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.”

Struggling. Keep it classy, Pops.

Elsewhere in his ministry announcement, and thanks to the cleverly entitled ladies blog at “Christianity Today,” Her-meneutics, he admitted he told God, “he was too old to lead.”

Of course he is. At 82, he’s hardly on the progressive side of evangelism. I mean, his idea of a daring outreach is going door-to-door without a tie on. Ease back. Don’t want to scare off the good lost folk out there, big man.

And that’s what brings this family affair full circle.

Junior Schuller was trying to bring some life back in his dad’s church, preach a skosh differently and make a difference. Dad wasn’t crazy about his son’s approach to you know, continue the ministry.

Instead, he ousts his son and brings in his daughter?!

Man, Thanksgiving is going to be outstanding at the Schuller household this year.

“Sheila, can you pass the turkey,” Junior Schuller asks. “Oh no, thanks Dad, I’ll carve it myself.”

May the talking heads and horse teeth smiles begin.

Meet the Schullers. So cute back then.

Once upon a time, in a TV far, far away was a chisled-chinned boy named Bobby.

Now, Bobby’s daddy was a famous preacher who decided to hang up the tunic and enjoy his golden years. Bobby took the reins of the “powerful” ministry, dawned the pastor rapper medallion and began preaching on TV, reading biblical prose off teleprompters and giving kitschy anecdotes about people who sound like they just traipsed off the set of “Leave It to Beaver.”

Three years later, Daddy missed his bling and kicked Bobby to the curb. Instead of an amicable “Aw gee, Daddy” parting of the ways, it’s been more like the exodus and the Red Sea.

Daddy lost control – and it seems, his mind. First, it was musical preachers. Then, Junior quit his job and left the church all together. Afterwards, the megachurch began hurting for the tithe it used to get, and the light bill wasn’t getting paid.

And now, we have some musings from Junior’s rather eloquent wifey, which has been captured in the Orange County Register.

Evidently in the story here, Bobby missed the bling too and he is getting his own church and Internet ministry. To which, this proud pontificate shouts, “Bravo!”

What appeared as “Father Knows Best” on TV, is actually a scene from “Gunsmoke” in reality. Family members are firing off opinions at each other and who is left to suffer – as usual in Christendom – the people.

Looks like Daddy needed to read his marquee

Looks like Daddy needed to read his marquee

Pathetic. Ratings were up. Membership was increasing. And pop gets a hankering for his old gig and creates this mess.

It’s shameful, because not only are some people out a good pastor in Junior Schuller, but most folk don’t call the grandiose Crystal Cathedral “home” any longer.

Let’s hear what his bethrothed (and fellow blogger), Donna has to say:

“These days Robert has been very hard at work developing a new Christian ministry, which will allow him the honor of continuing to speak inspiration and hope to the world,” she writes. “He will do this once again spreading the good news of Christ on television and on the World Wide Web. More to come on this very creative and new way of doing ministry when it is time.”

Well, unless he is planning on doing it shirtless from horseback while musing about the Tetramorph, I can’t imagine how much more sensationalized… er, creative TV ministry can get. But, that’s besides the point.

What’s important is Bobby is all grown up now, away from his father’s ecumenical teet and having church on his own… the way it should have been all along. And it seems it runs in the family, as his own son – anyone on the name? anyone? Bobby. I know. I was stunned too – is leading a church and something called the St. Patrick Project.

The ministry itself has seen better days. What once was held in the nurturing bosom of the Crystal Cathedral is now being held at the American Legion Building nearby. A quick hagiograph makes me think Bobby is banishing snakes from his building or teaching the veteran curmudgeons about the Trinity with a Shamrock, but I could be wrong.

However, one thing I am not wrong about is this:

All of this could have been avoided if Robert Schuller acted more like a father and less like a pastor. What’s worse is that folk shunned from the Crystal Cathedral (and other nameless churches around the globe) understand that analogy all too well. Thanks for keeping up the status quo, Pastor.

Junior, make us proud… since you know, Pop is too bitter right now.

god-and-twitterIn today’s voyeuristic fishbowl called the “Internet,” I believe it’s dubbed, are millions of people who have much to say on news, politics, religion or a veritable potpourri of all of the above.

And then, there are those folk who just don’t have a lot to say, but say a little, a lot. Those are the owners of Twitter accounts.

For each shopping excursion, dining experience and fart-and-fall-down moment, people can “tweet” ad nauseum and sound like that aggravating bird outside your bedroom window at 5:45 a.m. (!!!)

Anywhoo, there’s a new trend in the blogosphere with imposter Twittering and people following the fakes with more allegiance than the real people.

Which is what brings me to the highest ratings Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power” has earned since 9-11 and the latest imbroglio that caused Junior Schuller to fly the coop.

Thanks to this story by the San Diego Union-Tribune, we see Robert Schuller as been Twittering with 1,000 followers in two weeks. Only, not so much.

Schuller’s impostor displayed copyrighted images and trademarked sayings from the Crystal Cathedral and “Hour of Power” Web sites on his Twitter account and had attracted nearly 1,000 followers in two weeks, said Greg Fayer, an attorney representing the church… The San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. confirmed that the user was an impostor and suspended the account late Tuesday, co-founder Biz Stone said in an e-mail Wednesday. A new account was set up Wednesday for the real Schuller, said Mike Nason, the church’s spokesman.

Now, as we have seen lately, this is the most attention anyone has paid to his dazzling, monotone banter since the Reagan administration. But, thanks to this faux boring old guy who has lost his conviction, Schuller is back!

Schuller’s impersonator – who remains unidentified – seemed to know a lot about that history and the preacher’s life, said Nason, the spokesman. The impostor said in his early tweets that he was Schuller’s assistant, but then went on to say he was Schuller himself and even talked about the preacher’s wife, Nason said.

Well, maybe not.

What’s next? WWJT… What Would Jesus Tweet? Glad you asked…

  1. My toga is fitting a bit tight. All these carbs with bread loaves and fish dinners. Oy!
  2. Trying to crash in this boat. The boys are whining. I’m going for a walk.
  3. Lazarus is having a party. I’m four days late. Dude, smells like someone died.
  4. I’m so talking to Dad about these hairdos I see on TBN.
  5. Why do people keeping asking Mom, “Mary, don’t you know?” I’m right here. Duh!

But this story does beg an interesting question? What snarky, techie moniker to the gurus clad in Star Trek t-shirts and living in their mother’s basement provide a fake Tweeter?

OH! I know, I know. Let’s start by calling this dude, “a Twit!” Thanks, I’m here all week. Try the veal. Be kind to your servers.

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.

What’s the adage born out of a biblical parable, “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Well, someone should have told that to the Robert Schuller clan, party of one… bitter, old man:

Attendance at last week's service? Maybe?

Attendance at last week's service? Maybe?

And now, as if that harangue of family counseling wasn’t enough, comes this story from the AP stating the three-decade old ministry is now $65 million IN DEBT!

The church is in financial turmoil: It plans to sell more than $65 million worth of its Orange County property to pay off debt. Revenue dropped by nearly $5 million last year, according to a recent letter from the elder Schuller to elite donors. In the letter, Schuller Sr. implored the Eagle’s Club members — who supply 30 percent of the church’s revenue — for donations and hinted that the show might go off the air without their support. “The final months of 2008 were devastating for our ministry,” the 82-year-old pastor wrote.

What’s so pathetic about this family affair gone awry is the people who have been faithful to this man’s vision and his ministry know what’s really going on beyond the rouse of blaming the economy and revolving preachers du jour in that glass house:

“They have not been forthcoming at all,” said John Dewart, an insurance agent from New Jersey who’s watched for 30 years. “Why can’t a father and son work together for the glory of God? That’s my big question.”

Good question. I mean you would think being preachers, they would have appreciated the example put forth by that God guy and his son, um, Jesus? I’m just sayin’ maybe they’ll figure it out before their former elite donorser, the economy hurls huge boulders at their crib in Garden Grove, Calif.