12/28/2007

'Happy-Happyism'

In “Earthbound,” one of my favorite Nintendo role-playing game (RPGs), my mission was to go into a village of conformist cult followers and break the spell which held them. Everything in the village was blue, from the faces of the faithful to the milk cow. The worshipers practiced “Happy-Happyism.”

Back in the 1970s a popular source of camp entertainment was the TV ministry of one “Reverend Ike.” Bedecked with gold chains and bracelets and diamond rings, Rev. Ike’s followers were encouraged to pray for new Cadillacs. His message: “You can’t lose with the stuff I use.”

New broadcast technology has drawn millions of followers under the spell of new-day “prosperity preachers.”

As a Christian, I am turned off by their message that money can, indeed, buy happiness, and if worshipers are “faithful enough,” they will be showered with earthly riches, good health and a problem-free life.

Out here in the real world, we know that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is not too keen on these pulpit panhandlers, either.

Grassley is investigating a number of these mega-church charlatans. The senator insists this is not about theology; it’s about the U.S. tax code, which allows these TV “preachers” to live in a world of Rolls-Royces, private jets and multi-million-dollar estates – tax exempt.

The ministries under review include Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries of Tampa, Fla.; Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church Inc. and Benny Hinn Ministries of Grapevine, Texas; David and Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries of Fenton, Mo.; Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark, Texas; Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga.; and Creflo and Taffi Dollar (for real!) of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries of College Park, Ga.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, Grassley points out, not a Rolls-Royce. And, he didn’t wear a Rolex, either.

In fact, Jesus talked about the poor more than any other subject – mentioning them some 700 times in his red-letter New Testament teachings.

The human tragedies in all this are the faithful – the contributors who become disillusioned and heartbroken when they find out their faith isn’t strong enough to merit such prosperity.

For further reading:

The Grassley investigation, The Associated Press.

The “Prosperity Gospel” and its victims, CNN.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where is Flip Wilson now that we really need him?

Justin said...

Hell, where is Brother Dave Gardner. Communion with an RC Cola and a Moon Pie. Now, those were the days!

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.