Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crystal Cathedral files for bankruptcy OR Jesus and Money

Boo hoo. Your giant mega church just filed for bankruptcy. You avoided paying vendors to the point that they felt they had to sue you in order to get their money. Reverend Schuller has been at the head of the church since he founded it in a drive-in movie theater decades ago. He tried to pass on leadership to his son, but then removed him when there was some kind of family disagreement about the direction in which the church should head. Now, Schuller's daughter, Sheila, runs the church.
She said the bankruptcy declaration "is just one more chapter in the book that He is continuing to write -- and we know that God's plans are good -- we have no doubt His chapter will be good!"
Ha. Yeah. Chapter 11 in the Good Book. Schuller isn't the worst of the worst. He doesn't practice hate speech. He doesn't espouse a completely literal take on the Bible. On the topic of homosexuality and gay marriage, he generally dodges around it, saying that he thinks that male/female marriage is the ideal... blah, blah, blah.  But he believes in destiny and that God meant for him to carry His message and all that.  Most of their sermons are completely generic and carry a message about "YOU can do it, just trust in God and he'll take care of EVERYTHING" and phony self-esteem messages.

The biggest problem I have with the Crystal Cathedral and similar type churches is how much money they suck out from trusting citizens. That money could be put to soooooo many better uses. Instead, it constructed a multi-million dollar building out of glass.

It also is just plain silly. Take, for example, this interview the church had with an author about God and Money. Appropriate, I thought, given the church's financial troubles. Let me give you the highlights of the author's financial advice:
First, pray. Invite the Lord of the universe to be part of your financial life. Then secondly, review. Review what you had come in and go out that week [...] And then lastly, celebrate [...] celebrate when the Lord allows you to pay off that credit card. Celebrate together.

SSC:    How did you get into the finances found in God's word? I find that fascinating.
HD:     Well back in the early seventies, my business partner asked me to join him in a study of the bible to find out what it said about money. We didn't know. We had new families and a new business. So we spent a year and read through the entire bible and identified two thousand three hundred and fifty verses dealing with money.
SSC:    I had no idea there were that many bible verses on money.
HD:     It totally blew us away. Fifteen percent of everything that Jesus said had to do with money.
SSC:    Wow, so it must be important.
HD:     It is. And I think the real key for us is that Christ knew that from time to time all of us would have struggles over money. I believe He wanted to equip us to handle money wisely so that's why He gave us these principles that are so applicable today.
Then he basically says to not spend more than you have to on anything and put all surplus money towards paying off debt. Well, DUH. I don't think you need Jesus to tell you that. I also find it interesting that he left out verses like this:
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'"

-Matthew 19:23-24
"Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" -Matthew 19:21
I'm just saying that it's almost impossible for a Christian to NOT be hypocritical. 

So, if the Crystal Cathedral didn't espouse the worst kind of Christian hate, can I still be pleasantly amused by their Chapter 11?

I just think that if you're going to be a church or pretend to be a prophet in the name of Jesus, you can't go around collecting and spending millions annually.  It's hypocrisy and a waste of money and time that could be devoted to something better.

1 comment:

  1. My sister and I grew up in a church that had a really nice old building, and spent on some nice things, marble floor for the sanctuary etc. That being said they still put most of their money to "good works" with little regard to the religious politics surrounding groups in need. A fairly religiously liberal, politically conservative group that defines suburban Christianity. My sister had such a problem with what they did spend on luxuries she now attends a church that only meets in donated spaces and doesn't use a full time pastor. While I have issues with my sister, if all Christians were like her we might not need this blog.


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