I was up late channel surfing and was amazed (I guess I shouldn't be) of the number of televangelists and religious programming on late at night. All of the evangelical ilk, preaching, music videos, news from a "Christian" perspective, selling bibles, selling holy oil (this was a good one, the guy claimed that he could command me and the tv audience to the phone to call to get this oil). Preaching topics ranged from healing, to evidence of Christ's resurrenction, to living the abundant life, to casting off of demons, to how the apostles were no different from you and me. Men and women preachers. Suited and Hawaiian shirted. One guy has a mullet hair style. Some looked like Mr. Science and sat at a desk. The mormons were on discussing validity of the creeds (GO figure). If it was a show with an audience the audience was often mostly African American whether the preacher was Caucasian or not and often Southern (no offense my southern friends.) One televangelist did concentrate on serving the poor and preaching the gospel around the world. He was the exception, not the rule. His preaching was about helping others not yourself.
What's the point of this rant.
(1) In my pre-Orthodox days I would have enjoyed seeing the"Word of God" preached by so many. Later I realized that these guys are preaching primarily to the converted and not non-believers. I would have dismissed the "yahoos" as fringe elements and took comfort in the preaching of God's word. Later I realized many of the fringe guys and gals commanded a large following and lived quite a good life.
(2) Many of these people have egos' that I believe are fed by the non-litugical church model. This model emphasizes preaching and ergo the preacher. Is he/she good/bad, entertaining/boring, Bible based/psychobabble based . . . who knows.
(3) Post return to Orthodoxy I tend to view these guys/gals with disdain. The preaching is so "I" centered. I know Orhtodoxy has had its share of charismatic leaders and ego leaders. But I believe that a church administration coupled with a liturgical setting tends to downplay or root out such people.
Any way. What do I know. Thanks for listening to my rant. Any comments.
I remember when an agnostist friend of mine (the one who gave me the final push into Orthodoxy, may he receive his reward!) asked what was different from the televangelist and the bishop, I told him the bishop is answerable, the televangelist is not.
I've had a similiar experience as yours, watching with grizly fascination at how could anyone believe this. It seems the "church" exists only to act as God's tax agent, collecting tithes, etc. No explanation of what authority they arrogated to themselves.
I love the oil ones. When did this come up? I've seen it a lot among them now. But still, they won't have "sacraments." That's too "dead church." Romophobia at its finest.
There are a few who I wouldn't put in this camp. They're one prominent Christian Zionist preacher, who talks about the Bible, Faith, etc. Often hasn't a clue, but at least its recognizably Christian (as opposed to greed).
My son once, watching one these Christian types (I mean by that, sincere preachers not just interested in you tithe: my step father watches a lot of them), and he remarked "he's not Orthodox, but he's not lying" (his mother takes him to her mega church, which he looks on with disdain "the church where we don't pray"). I explained that a lot of people aren't Orthodox, but that doesn't make them liars. We're different just because we have the fullness, not just part, of the Truth.
Yes, they are very ego centered, even the Christian ones. What I believe the Bible says, not what has been passed down from generations of Fathers and Mothers. And making it up as they go along (hence the oil, should I have snake oil, or should I say serpent oil?). No concept that the Church existed before me.
Btw, maybe I should mention I'm voting for Huckabee.
You've hit the nail on the head here. I can't count how many soon to be preachers I encountered in college (Southwest Baptist U) who were going into preaching with the idea that they'd be the head of some megalith of a church and be rich beyond their wildest dreams. And naturally, none of the churches they had in mind were liturgical. SBU was quite good at showing these preacher boys how to write the perfect three-point alliterative sermon and how to hire the perfect music minister (qualifications: must be able to get a gigantic choir to hit the right note and to sway in unison). In effect, the
show service is about the skills of the preacher and the choir, not about God at all.
Bleh. Give me liturgy any day.
Yes, my only remark on the megachurch is that a hundred years from now, after the pastor has made his millions, what will be left?
All flash, no substance. Christ died to make you wealthy. Indulgences pale in comparison. And no sacrifice, just feel good. Notice, no Crosses? My son has at his mother's megachurch. "They call that a church? It's not a church, it's a mall" was his conclusion. He's also said, describing the Easter
service, that "it's not really a church, it's more like a place where we sit and watch people talk and sing."
Btw my priest, Fr. Patrick Reardon is a SBU grad., so you get all kinds.
Lubeltri: What an artist Quite a montage
I didn't stay up late last night so I missed the evening freak show. But instead I devised a theory. The USA is a consumer driven culture. It cost millions if not billions of dollars to support these "ministries." Thus, there must be demand for spirituality. If there were no demand these ministries would fold. Each has there own agenda and appeal, much like the different department and specialty stores. This goes hand in hand with my theory on illicit drugs. Cut demand and supply will be cut. Maybe for some these guys and gals are a "legitimate addiction."
Lord, Thou has created us restless until we rest in Thee. St. Augustine.
Self medicating isn't the answer, though.