We had an interesting family discussion this weekend regarding televangelism. What is it exactly? Simply stated, it’s someone whose message of evangelism—the gospel (the ‘good news’ of salvation)—is televised. So, what’s the problem with that? If you don’t like what you’re seeing, then turn it off. That’s far easier than dealing with a lot of noisy people we know.
Well now, every controversial subject has a lot more going on below the surface. We did a bit of Googling (which you will not find in my 2004 Oxford English dictionary), and the prognosis is not good if you’re considering televangelism as a life’s pursuit.
Rather than going into the finer points of stone throwing, my simple question is this: Does being rich as Crœsus make a person any less holy than myself?
I’m suggesting that wealth is not related to spirituality, and why do we continuously try to make it so? How you see your own wealth can affect your spirituality, so that’s worth some heart-searching mediation. Again, pause a moment before heaving the first stone.
Robert A. Heinlein said in Time Enough for Love, "Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as 'bad luck.'"
In other words, we tend to congregate with people who share an invisible but perceived ceiling. There is an unwritten consensus of impossibility that keeps us safe from the threat of change. Our intimates love and wish to protect us (and themselves) from the unexpected. Our secret desires are threatening: they worry about our being hurt, they fear an unpermissable loss of control, or the possibility that you might leave them behind as you progress.
Again, it’s so tempting to boast, “at least I’m not a crook or a swindler!” Good for you. Stay honest. And think about whom you serve. Does what you do with your life—your wealth--lift others up or keep them oppressed?
Take another look at Crœsus… He employs a large staff, concert venues are maintained and operated, there are singers and musicians and body catchers, his tailor is kept in stitches, he employs air travel and books hotels.
To whom much is given, much is required.
It’s interesting, what we do to keep ourselves safe… honest… human… enslaved. There’s something extremely virtuous about struggle. It must be building my character….
To whom much is given, much is required.
What happens when someone rises above the herd? The more we nurture the spirit, the more we grow to resemble the divine, and consequently, the more godlike we become. It is an endless, daily struggle to remember that we are merely the image of our Creator.
Back again to the prophet--for the televised preacher does deliver a message. Are we listening, or are we in it for the miracles? I keep thinking about what Jesus said when the crowds wanted miracles. He was so sad that they kept missing the point. I wonder if Crœsus is a man who sincerely desires to be a pastor, but just isn't being heard?
How many times have I made a significant and timeless statement that could change someone's life for all eternity, and they just don't get it? And if I shouted at that person and cracked them upside the head with a frying pan--because the Holy Spirit told me to, of course—and they get the point, then I'd probably learn to speak softly and carry a big frying pan.
I wonder how many lives are truly changed at these concerts? Are the statistics any different for any other venue? I'm guessing that salvation is the most requested event on a battlefield... how do the numbers compare to a religious event? If 10% of the 2000 attendees decided to let their lives be transformed by the Spirit of G*d, and committed to seeking His way—by prayer and the Scriptures, not what a holy man tells them to believe—than is it all for naught?
To whom much is given, much is required. Does my inner life conflict with my public life? There is one true luxury that every one of us is freely granted in this life: time.
“Some people will never learn anything … because they understand everything too soon.” Alexander Pope
It’s so tempting to insert a video clip here. I’ve encountered several humorous ones in my research. Unfortunately, many of them are heartbreaking, and will most likely induce anger and thoughts of violence. Instead, here’s a list of questions from Julia Cameron’s the Artist’s Way, to help you take a look at your expectations concerning filthy lucre:
Does your spending differ from your values?
1. People with money are _______________________________.
2. Money makes people _________________________________.
3. I’d have more money if _______________________________.
4. My dad thought money was ___________________________.
5. My mom always thought money would _________________.
6. In my family, money caused ___________________________.
7. Money equals _________________________________________.
8. If I had money, I’d _____________________________________.
9. If I could afford it, I’d __________________________________.
10. If I had some money, I’d ______________________________.
11. I’m afraid that if I had money I would _________________.
12. Money is ____________________________________________.
13. Money causes _______________________________________.
14. Having money is not _________________________________.
15. In order to have more money, I’d need to _____________.
16. When I have money, I usually ________________________.
17. I think money _______________________________________.
18. If I weren’t so cheap I’d _____________________________.
19. People think money _________________________________.
20. Being broke tells me ________________________________.
And if you feel led to diversify your investments into a timeless work of art, please contact me. It’s my joy to spend my time creating something that will outlast me!
Lest we neglect the Fastnachts, you'll find the recipe here.