Have you ever had that experience where-after happening upon the age of some celebrity or Silicon Valley tech maven who at 10 years your junior has already managed to accomplish more than you ever will-you find you have a rather difficult time getting out of bed?
Me either, I was asking for a friend.
But, hypothetically speaking, let’s say during another afternoon of ignoring something or someone more important by looking at your phone-
(I DON’T SEE WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS, I CAN RATHER EASILY MANAGE TO CHECK MY EMAIL WHILE ALSO PURPOSEFULLY MERGING ONTO THE SHOULDER ONLY TO QUICKLY SWERVE BACK INTO YOUR LANE WHILE YOU AVOID ME, DOES THIS NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE ELSE?)
“MEN OF GAWD”
Thus, forcing you to go ahead and let your car continue to veer off course into the weeds and abandoned Filet-O-Fish wrappers holding together most of America’s interstate system until it finally reaches the guardrail.
Few things give me pause about my current occupational trajectory (or lack thereof) as a professional Christian quite like dudes making millions for touting the supremacy of a homeless, wandering, executed 1st century Jewish rabbi from the Levant.
“Never trust a millionaire quoting the Sermon on the Mount.”
But, and this is the legitimate argument of gentlemen who probably hunt humans for sport on a floating island made entirely of free motel New Testaments, what do people without thousands of followers pouring into hollowed-out Walgreens across America each Sunday morning even know about God? It’s not like people are listening to them anyway?
“Okay, so if God didn’t want me to make more money than the combined salaries of almost everyone in this room, why would so many people keep giving it to me? Eric, people are paid based on their worth, and judging by your salary and the growing cobwebs on your hire-ability, I’d say we all know where you stand with the Lord. So, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to pray for you and your family.”
-Reverend Steve Straw-man
Because God, according to an always-astonishingly high number of folks, blesses the faithful with his love and support in the concrete form of heated pools, vacation homes, and a jaw dropping inability to “read the room”.
For the record, whenever you encounter increasingly negative media scrutiny accompanying your exorbitant expense of money collected from single mothers in the name of a God who chose to enter the world as an (ahem) baby born to an impoverished unwed teen mom, I might reach for something other than the: “I won’t apologize for God’s blessings” emergency response button.
Seriously, Marie Antoinette and Mr. Burns have a better handle on out-of-touch-rich-person-spin control.
So, if these 70 inch flat screen TVs dressed up to look like people in pinstripe suits and Affliction T-Shirts won’t apologize for pouring gasoline all over the Christian faith and setting fire to it, I will.
Looks out over empty sanctuary filled mostly with feral cats and family members, takes deep breath, begins:
I’m sorry God used up all the divine blessings on 10 people with six-figure book deals when so many of you are just trying to pay the rent and your kid’s health insurance deductible.
I’m sorry that no matter how many times you manage to cling desperately to whatever thread-bare spirituality sustains you in the wasteland of regular employment and grocery budgets, some titan of Private-Jetstream-Conference-Center-Christianity comes and stomps on your fingers…WITH DIVINE AUTHORITY!
I’m sorry that for every ignored and forgotten prophet of the historic Christian faith tirelessly standing alongside all those on the underside of bourgeois American religiosity, it’s the salaries of the mega church millionaires that get all the pub.
“And I’m sorry for repeating it now.”
-Karen Smith, Mean Girls
I’m sorry that even the best of us pro-Christians can make most of the things you probably at one point of your life or another found meaningful seem insipid, foolish, backwards and even decidedly creepy when we talk about it into a lapel mic.
And, lastly, I’m sorry that even though I spent well north of the 500 words your internet brain space allows me before forcing you to switch to that Buzzfeed article about dogs in pajamas complaining about how other pastors and religious professionals and bloggers and internet Christians are ruining “the faith” (both mine and yours), I failed to mention the undeniable truth at the bottom of everything, really:
none of us should probably get paid for something God did for free before being murdered by the government occupying his homeland.
Please be patient with us pastors, we are (sadly) rather new to the idea that the way God blesses, loves, liberates and heals the world has decidedly little to do with our “platform,” and decidedly a great deal more to do with not being colossal wind-bags scrambling with each other for the table scraps of the American-Commercial-Industrial-Complex.
Or, as Dr. Christopher Turk from Scrubs put it:
“We’re all God’s children in the dark”
Even if the “dark” is our Last Supper-themed personal movie theatre in the basement of the 10,000 square foot tax shelter we call home.
Pray for us.
This opinion piece is in reference to an article on Baptist News Global from March 17, 2015: Big lessons for Creflo Dollar — and the church — in a $65M jet.