Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It Happens Everywhere

We received this comment on the Religious Lace post today from Charismania, a site we have referred to before and have listed as a link. It was so amazing that we decided to post it in addition to having it as a comment.

Charismania said:

My husband and I are convinced that there's some "playbook" somewhere for these things. It's utterly amazing how what you wrote could describe our former church exactly. When we started attending, the messages were much more scriptural, much more Bible-based. But as the years passed, we watched a gradual descent into church-as-show, with all the stupid catch phrases, the extreme emphasis on money and giving, and way too much talk about "blessings" that somehow were always material things.

Our pastor did not have a plane or take hunting trips, but he and his family lived a very wealthy lifestyle. His two young adult sons had their every whim indulged. It was difficult for our own teenager (who was in the inner circle of the youth ministry) to understand that turning 16 did not automatically translate into being led into the garage where his brand-new, ordered-to-his-specifications car would be waiting for him, topped with a giant bow like in the car commercials. This is what had happened for both the pastor's sons when they'd each turned 16 a few years before our son did.

These young men (the pastor's sons) were nice enough fellows, but they'd been so marinated in the atmosphere of pastor-worship that they had a completely inflated sense of their own accomplishments. They both were obviously being groomed to take over the ministry, but because they'd never lived through any financial hard times the way their parents had, they simply did not have the character that their parents did. Also, with the audience pumped and primed to clap and cheer for them no matter how shallow the sermon or how off-key the song (one son preached, the other did music), they really had no clue how they'd stack up in the real world, outside the oddly insulated little community their parents had built.

And sadly, after so many years of living the high life, I think wealth was what had eaten away at their parents' character, too. I believe they began to compromise in what initially seemed like small ways, where they pandered to rich church members and sucked up to their more famous (think TBN guests) mentors. Eventually, the messages by necessity became all about money...and how much we needed the pastor to be blessed, because "anointing flows from the head down."

Don't mean to ramble...but it's still incredible to realize that this exact same garbage has been perpetrated in the name of Jesus all over this country. We've received a lot of emails and comments to this same effect, but it never ceases to amaze us, how the Word of Faith money message is still such a good con.