Thursday, May 10, 2007

DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!

(Singalong to this Coppensian reworking of the Mary Poppinsian Classic)

Televange-a-frickin-listic-send-me-all-your-dough-cious
They scare you with theology
that plays on your emotions
If they preach it long enough
And lead us by our noses
They can make ten million bucks
and I think that’s atrocious!

I must confess that picking on Televangelists is like shooting 'fish' in a barrel, it can’t even be considered an honorable pastime or hobby anymore, never mind that old 'judge not lest you be judged' thingamabob.

I have an obligation to disclose that back in the 80s I actually did all of the legwork for a film premiere that was produced by Billy Graham.

I was a newly minted Pentchostile, and despite mein kampf with much of the dogmatic theology, I thought that it would be nice to reach out to the disadvantaged 'lesser' denominations by helping organize and promote the movie CAUGHT.
Besides who didn’t like Billy Graham?

Unlike the scandalous 80s when Hall Of Shamers like elfin god-keteer and future ex-con Jim Bakker of air conditioned doghouse fame became the hapless victim of blabbermouth and implant recipient Jessica 'Playboy Bunny' Hahn, whose sordid revelation of her rub and tug experience with Jim initiated his demise.

Jim's lovely wife and future Surreal Life mainstay, the indefatigable Tammy 'Fake N' Bakker was a leading advocate and practioner of the industrial strength makeup movement. Her notoriety for face painting was surpassed only by her breakdown singing style which sounded remarkably similar to that of a seagull being squeezed against a dock by a loosely tethered boat. Poor Tammy became the poster child for evange-a-scandals and became a lightning rod for comics and late night talk show hosts for years.

Who could forget the ‘other’ Jimmy.
Jimmy ‘calling the kettle black’ Swaggart, whose righteous indignant crusade against the aforementioned Bakkers ended poorly when his indiscretions with a hooker, pardon me ‘sex worker’, Debra Murphree, whose level of sophistication and refinement in the industry have only been equaled by Hugh Grant’s ‘date’, Divine Brown, were revealed and zapped his money raising mojo.
Down but not out, only in America!

Need I mention Oral ‘God told me that HE will kill me if you don’t send another couple million’ Roberts, whose career tripped on that spectacular prophecy from his electronic podium and his 'ex 'daughter in law wrote a scathing tell all book that did little to endear him to the great unwashed.

Still with us is one time Presidential hopeful Media Mogul Pat ‘the Hitman’ Roberts. His latest guffaw was a brilliant defining monment of clarity in which he suggested that the American Government should ‘take out’ Venezuela’s Presidente Hugo Chavez.

Hey don't shoot the messenger (gasp)..this collection of self proclaimed representatives of the Creator of the Universe shoot themselves in the foot with their audacity and unbridled n'arse-cissism!

Anyway.

Billy Graham was from another era. I always pictured Graham playing Golf with Ike Eisenhower and tossin’ a football around on the White House lawn with JFK. He was a gifted, genteel, orator with a soothing, Southern, graciousness, whose integrity was above reproach. So why not?

However here we are in the 21st Century and the zeitgeist of the ‘PROSPERITY GOSPEL’ is alive and well in America. Millions of ‘Fire Insurance Christians’ are in a frenzy to die with the most toys before the Rapture sneaks up on them and spoils everything!

Thank God that ministrywatch.com is around to try and keep (atleast) some of these people honest by examining their books and evaluating the degree of cooperation and transparency of their operation.

Before I wrap up my sermon, we should address the ubiquitous 1 Timothy 6:10 passage.

"The LOVE of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang."

Apparently a pang is a spasm of pain or distress.
So see it doesn’t say that MONEY is the root of all evil it is the LOVE of it that gives you pangs and this works right into the wallets of some of the latest incarnations of Televangelism.

The art of declaring God’s favor (MONEY) and getting your best life NOW (sigh) is the core message of the new number one inspirational programmer in the USA, Joel Osteen.
Osteen preaches to an intimacy challenged congregation of 30,000! Of course it takes four services every Sunday at his Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, to feed the flock. You can read a critique about it here at here.

According to one of Osteens critics, Michael Horton, a theology prof at Westminster Theological Seminary, Joel’s ‘twinkie’ theology has reduced God to a ‘cosmic bellhop’ who runs around getting stuff that YOU want, including ‘sweet’ parking spaces at busy malls and VIP treatment in restaurants.

Of course when you think about the big picture, this was probably inevitable. When Queen Isabella commissioned Christopher Columbus to find gold and unimaginable riches in the New World
it was all for the glory of the Church, I mean Spain.
Her other 'great idea' was to end centuries of peaceful coexistence in Spain between the Jews, Muslims and Christians with a nasty little organization known as the Spanish Inquisition! Sh*t Happeneth.

Here endeth today's sermon

17 comments:

  1. I don't watch too much TV and I don't think we have much of that kind of TV here in the UK (but I wouldn't know, since I don't watch it!)

    but for some reason your first line made me think of supercalifragiliasticexpialidocious. . .


    (that blue pill red pill song was great BTW- thanks!)

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  2. i, like the view,
    Well thankfully this sort of Tomfoolery is pretty much restricted to the USA where the providentially protected pursuit of the almighty dollar is the foundation of the entire society.
    I have noticed that Australia is now exporting some 'beauties' these days which I find alarming and unsettling. Those two guys who are on Youtube talking about the 'Atheists nightmare' the banana, which evidently proves Creationism because bananas fit perfectly into the human hand. Wow, STOP THE PRESSES! I'm convinced!

    btw.the opening song was my Coppensian reworking of the Poppinsian Classic.

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  3. The Heaven and Earth Show is a BBC One programme that discusses religious and ethical issues, and I think that's about as bad as televised religion gets in this country.

    And the population of Britain breathe a sigh of relief...

    I like the thing about money. Its like what Max Weber said about protestantism and capitalism. Laziness is a sin, so one must work hard to get God's approval, which basically means earn lotsa money. But this enormous wealth should be 'as a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment'.

    Yeah, whatever.

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  4. Love the Poppins-Coppens workover!
    As for those bible-thumping con artists...I have a real life which I enjoy and would not waste my time watching that cobblers!(Cockney slang;shortened from cobblers' awls)

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  5. I adore Mary Poppins.
    It's a glorious celebration of street people who live individual lives untouched by a desire for status recognition.
    It is a most wonderful celebration of magic ('a sweep is as lucky as lucky can be') and mystery and even arguably moderate drug use ('a spoonful of sugar').
    It is this very warm picture about looking after the people you love and care about.
    And even the old bankers hoarding their love let go and float to the ceiling exhaling their last fits of laughter in ecstasy.
    And Mr Banks learns to love the joy of life and childhood ('Let's go fly a kite').
    And Mary Poppins sails off on her umbrella into the smog and Michael and Jane go 'but we love you Mary Poppins' and Mary's like 'now now, children, there'll be somebody else along tomorrow'. I just think it's a beautiful film.
    And the rich rule the world and one can create a bit of magic to earn some money in their lives but those people with love in their hearts, I think, are infinitely richer.
    And Jesus probably died to swell up Herod's bag of silver or something, hardly noteworthy.
    I'ma bit drunk, just saying 'hello'. What a lot of Brits you have in your multimedium today, HE. Peace x

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  6. I get the point, maybe, that it doesn't matter what your supercalifragilisticexpialidocious touchstone is, we are a lot of little gods with magic powers and super-pollutin cars and airplanes x

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  7. If Australia is exporting these types of people its because we don't want em here.....

    Don't get me wrong, I love all God's creatures, but I was cracking up at the line about the seagull being squeezed against a dock by a loosely tethered boat. It just appealed to my warped sense of humour.

    Fantastic, well written post....I even understood most of the words in it.

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  8. One of your best ever. You should submit this for a Blogger "Just for Laughs with Plain Truth" award.

    And I'd nominate you for best musical number, too.

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  9. The totally saddest part of the possibility that there is no God or afterlife is that we couldn't meet them all there in that total meaningless vacuum and say "we told you so, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!"

    That just sucks.

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  10. Thanks for the sermon. I needed it after writing all that heavy poetry.

    Laughing or crying. I do not how to react.

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  11. there r a few of em here in Aus too...the way I see it is that some lines they say r so profound...Godly or not....it's just good to pick those ones n apply to life.

    ur post tickled my funny bone :)

    Keshi.

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  12. The Catholic Church has got to be one of the most asset-rich organisations in the known universe. What the kazooka do they need more dosh for?!

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  13. HE.......could you please grab me another beer?

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  14. HE, very captivating but I must go to work. I just stopped by to see what you are up to. I shall return to leave a more appropriate comment later.

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  15. fathorse,
    Yes I appreciate the more passive aggressive stance that the Brits place on religious matters. The Yankee in your face with all of the bells and whistles style is a garish display in comparison.

    How about a little Pink Floyd?
    "Money it's a hit
    Don't give me that do goody good bullsh*t
    I'm in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set
    And I think I need a Lear jet"

    Dinahmow,
    Awl-righty then!
    They are an insanely tedious lot who seem to live and preach diametrically opposite of the founding fathers of their professed faith. It pains me to think that these people have access to millions and instead of giving it to the poor they lavish themselves in opulence. They truly disgust me. If you want to be open about your avarice like Trump then atleast have the guts to admit it and stop taking milk money from seniors and poor families.

    Jammer,
    Oh that Mary Poppins. When I was in grade school I had to endure the teasing of bullys who exchanged my surname with Poppins because nothing else rhymed with it until one creative thug came up with Bird-Droppins, which was such a nice change, that I actually appreciated his creative effort.
    I should legally changed my name to Harry Poppins years ago.

    angel without wings,
    If you ever heard her sing you'd know that the shrieks of a wounded seagull are a kind description..the makeup would start smudging after a few seconds and the spectacle, magnified 1000 times by the power of televsion, brought in millions of dollars. Anything to stop her from singing.

    without widgets,
    I almost feel guilty picking on them..almost..but they are the ultimate know-it-alls who back up their insider info with incredible claims of being connected to the Creator of the Universe!
    Charlatan Shamans of the Electronic Age.

    The beauty of it is of course the tax free advantages of masquerading as a religious organisation. Insanely convenient.

    Science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard invented the 'church' of Scientology because he figured out that he could legally launder all of the money! I can picture him jumping up and down on his couch ala Tom Cruise when he registered his goofy intergalactic ideas as a religion. Suckers!

    THE michael,
    Now now you never know. If there is nothing after you had better enjoy all of your schadenfreude right now! On the other hand if we're wrong we had better start reading Dante to figure out where we'll be spending eternity.

    gautami,
    You did have a 'heavy' spell didn't you? I suggest laughing, although a good cry really cleans the mental palate.

    keshiroo,
    If you want catchy Pop Psychology life lessons get them somewhere else where they back it up with atleast some research or science.
    These guys just want to charm their way into your pants..and get your wallet. Although some of them have tried both.

    stace,
    Please do not get me started on the many incarnations of the Church of Rome. I cannot believe that it actually exists in the 21st century. No other organisation in history has done more to retard the advancement of Civilization. Why do they need all of that dosh? The costumes and candles aren't that expensive but the Lawsuits against their predatory pedophiles sure are.

    Other than the 'miracle' of compound interest I have no idea how it survives? None.

    steve,
    Comin' right up...catch!

    ces,
    Please do. I watched Osteen the other week and I could not help but like him. You can't blame people for wanting to get ahead in life. His audience is made up of good honest decent law abiding folk. So what's wrong with a little PMA;Positve Mental Atitude?
    Why are you picking on him?

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  16. Televangelists offer exactly what people want: instant religion and church memberships: May I please order a sermon, no pickles, no onions, extra lettuce and tomatoes with Diet Coke and extra-large fries to go?

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  17. hoo boy... you know, the televange-wotsits ALWAYS gave me the heebie jeebies...

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