Friday, February 16, 2007

The Church of Greed.

I'm not even sure what to say about this. Perhaps it just speaks for itself.

Pastor cites 'misunderstanding' of ministry

Pastor Mac Hammond's congregation at Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park reacted strongly Sunday to his appearance in the wake of a watchdog's group complaint to the Internal Revenue Service that he violated federal tax law and a front-page Star Tribune article examining his financial dealings:

Worshipers gave him a prolonged, cheer-laced standing ovation. [...]

He called questions about his financial dealings "a misunderstanding" of his prosperity-gospel ministry, which holds that following God's word leads to spiritual and economic bounty. [...]

In a sermon peppered with "hallelujahs" from Hammond and "amens" from the congregation, Hammond said some of the accusations in the IRS complaint and news story "are inaccurate ... and many paint a picture of the ministry that is grossly inappropriate."

However, he was not specific about inaccuracies except to say that he has two houses in Florida, not two condos. He said he has no control over the board that sets his compensation and that his pay is scrutinized by attorneys.

He got one of many laughs when he said the Star Tribune story had "left out" his two motorcycles. He also quipped that his Porsche has been "an expensive ministry tool" because a State Patrol officer who gave him one of four speeding tickets he has gotten in it went through church membership classes. He said he buys expensive clothes because "if I look decent, I preach better, so I'm really doing it for you, amen." [...]

The congregation was presented with the annual report, which said the church had $34 million in gross revenues last year and gave $3 million to charitable causes and evangelism. [...]

Hammond said the media and many Christians don't understand the prosperity gospel. "God says if you base your life on his covenant, these blessings are gonna overtake you; you can't do anything about it, friend. [What was once] flocks and herds is in today's parlance stocks and bonds.

I... don't even know where to begin here. Let's see.

1. The baby Jesus is crying.

2. I think this guy's critics don't misunderstand his ministry, they probably understand the prosperity gospel just fine. It's just that they find it disgusting, exploitative, hypocritical, and possibly in violation of the tax code if the minister is enriching himself with tax free dollars while pretending to do charitable work.

3. The church brings in 34 million in revenues and spends 3 million on "charity and evangelism". That means that 31 million, over 90% of all revenue, is going to enrich the minister and... who knows what the hell it's going towards?

4. The adult Jesus is planning to kick this guy's ass.

5. With an almost 10,000 member congregation, each member is forking over an average of more than $3400 per year, only to see the minister use that money to buy condos, motorcycles, and lease private jets. Yet when he openly brags about his greed, they cheer.

6. Amway has nothing on these guys. This has got to be the most blatant pyramid scheme since Ponzi. If you fork over lots of money to me, God will make you rich. See how it worked for me? Never mind that I got my money by suckering you into believing this nonsense, the lord works in mysterious ways amen.

7. The crucified Jesus is rolling over in his grave.