Tuesday, August 12, 2008

01 1 01 1 01 (god is a number part 2)

126 127 128 129 130 131...

Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA

God is a dollar number according to those who run megachuches. It's impossible to know just how large that number might be for corporations such as Crystal Cathedral, since they failed to disclose their finances to MinistryWatch, an online database of Christian Ministries which charts financial transparency (for the benefit of potential donors):
We hope that by providing high quality research and ratings we will be a vital component in an emerging ministry marketplace, where information regarding various giving opportunities can be easily and efficiently transferred to eager, prepared donors.
Thus, it's certainly not a godless anti-Christian left wing watchdog group that came up with the following assessment:
Crystal Cathedral Ministries was created as a preaching and speaking church platform for Rev. Robert H. Schuller. In addition to being the home base for broadcasting the church services around the world on "The Hour of Power," the Crystal Cathedral campus is a place where thousands of persons "network" daily to find strength of body, mind and soul. Support groups, Sunday School classes, week day and evening gatherings provide fellowship with other persons of a positive faith. This ministry has chosen not to be open and transparent with MinistryWatch.com. As such it is difficult to understand all aspects of its ministry.
God is also a $ # according to Crown Financial Ministries. Although it's old news that Evangelical Churches Are Borrowing from the Business Playbook, it was a revelation (of sorts) that entire Christian ministries are devoted to
equipping Christians around the world to learn, apply and teach financial principles allegedly based on the Bible [according to Wikipedia, which also notes Crown's insistence that getting out of debt is an important part of Christian discipleship].
Crown's own website crows that
God is using Crown Financial Ministries around the globe to teach His financial principles and transform lives.
God has financial principles? Really? Count me among the skeptics... until I read these inspiring testimonies:

Having just finished the Crown Financial life group, I have already paid off two of our credit card debts and am working on a third. Thank you for this information. It is so very inspirational and practical with its application. The Web helps are so easy to understand and use. Thank you for letting God use you.

And this, from Jenna:
As for the lessons and homework, my whole perspective has changed on how to live life financially, and in other ways also such as honesty and work. I now know that my money is actually God's money. How God wants me to spend His money has impacted my spending. Learning that God created work and that He established every authority over us has made me appreciate those things much more.
It's easy for the smug scientific atheist to ridicule such ideas. But not all Christians are convinced of God's financial plan; there have been some vocal critics. Nathan Smith, for example, doesn't agree. In Crown Financial Manipulation, he states that Crown embellishes the gospel.
They subtly push their agenda by over-emphasizing finances at the expense of keeping the message of the gospel message unaltered.
And as for Paying It Forward...

Another thing that did not sit well with me is the way Crown emphasizes “investing” in the Kingdom. Yes, I tithe. I do think it’s very important to financially support the Church. The way they talk about it though, you’d think we were playing the stock market.

And from a commenter:
Christ never really talked about your 401k package… he did tell one wealthy young dude, who did pretty dang good at keeping all the commandments, to sell all his posessions…
But Christ was wrong. At the heart of the unchristian financial principles taught by Crown Financial is the view that welfare recipients are lazy and not deserving of assistance.
The failure of welfare
Most Christians favor caring for those who truly are in need of help. However, most Christians also recognize the abuses and excesses in the current welfare system, evidenced by children in $100 running shoes, whose families are supported by government welfare and food stamps, and men who father children and are nowhere to be found when it's time to support their children.

So, although most Christians agree that, from a biblical perspective, it is not only important but it is mandated to care for the poor, the involuntary transfer of wealth from one group of taxpayers to another is not the type of care that God had in mind.
So don't give the needy any unearned handouts, save your money for your own family. But most importantly, donate to Crown. And be creative! Creative giving options include
* Gifts of Stock
* Gifts in Kind
* Matching Funds
* Memorial or Honorarium Gifts
* Remembering Crown in Your Will
* Automobile Donations
* Non Cash Gifts
Mathematical and musical and mystical visionaries, however, would claim these views are not correct. God really is a number.

from the last Sleater-Kinney show
Crystal Ballroom 12/08/06

God Is A Number

We're a reference number, a code, a screen.
An army out of digits, out of fax machines.
Mapping out the head and heart, mapping out the history.
If a part does not compute, cut it out, cut it free...

God is a Number

What you want to know, what can you believe?
Grow up on the internet, get off on t.v.
tell me about God and Country, music, heart and history.
Answer me with computations, answer me with industry.

Knock on every door, programmed to receive.
Answer my communication! Display! Command! Retreat!
Looking for some kind of heart inside this great machine
I don't get an answer except 01 1 01 1 01...

Watch an earlier version of the same song live:
sleater-kinney at the echo lounge on 5-2-99

...132 133 134 135 136 137 138...

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