Showing posts with label False Prophets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label False Prophets. Show all posts

Friday, October 28, 2011

10% Extortion

How important is God to you?
Do you deem it important to honor Him with the first fruits of your increase/income? Or do you just think tithing is a one way to keep the church off your back?
Do you have a pastor who pesters you to part with more of your money so that the overheads of the church is met?

While Christianity in India has a long history of evangelism and has roots that can be traced back to the Apostles, the past decade or so have seen an explosion of missionaries visiting India to spread The Good News.

I know churches that works with the lowest of the low and strives to make a truly wonderful change amongst the community it works with. Thatched roofs Churches where the faithful gather to hear the Word of God and the pastor does not have a mic but the congregation still picks up every word he says. 

I recently met a pastor, an American, who has been nagging his church members to give 'generously'.
So what's wrong with the picture here?
Here's what-
- The pastor, sponsored by the mother church in the US, earns in a month, probably the equivalent of what a middle class family would earn in an year.
- He stays with his Wife plus 4 kids in a very expensive home in an exclusive neighborhood, besides all the other material trappings that a upper middle class family should possess.
- He insists that his church members pay for the electricity and other overheads of the church. Generously.
- While he quotes scriptures to prove his point and urge his church members to fork out the extra rupee, I remember the famously quoted line: 'Even the devil can quote scriptures'.
His ruse is that true Christians need to support the church financially so that the church can spread. Image that comes to my mind: Like the tentacles of an Octopus.
Now, I don't have anything against missionaries who have put their western way of life on hold for the Indian toilet, but I do find it a huge insult when we have missionaries who come, start churches in a air-conditioned hall of a building and expect us to meet their electricity and living expenses.
While none of the members have voiced out their concerns and their reservations, what I need to understand is why the dear pastor cannot forgo his so generous salary if is truly concerned about the rising overheads.
While much of the US has already been invaded by televangelists, the many wolves in sheep clothing have now turned their sights on India. An emerging market.

Do we really have the right attitude towards God?
When we insist church members to tithe generously, isn't it against the true spirit of giving out of free will?
Why do we let church leaders manipulate the scriptures for their own will?
Does giving money absolve you and complete your duties towards God?

A good family friend of mine, 'donates' a certain portion of their time every week towards bible study. Although they cannot afford to give 'generously', they consider this as their way of offering their talents to the Almighty.

After growing for nearly 2000 years, Christianity has now taken a beating in the past decade because of it's dubious practitioners.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wolves Undercover!

I had a church 'first' this past Sunday.
The James Bond of Christ!

For the first time in my Church life, I attended a Sunday Mass that had no sermon, no preaching but lots of popular entertainment.
A very popular televangelist, Mr Paul Thangiah is a very popular church leader which thousands thronging the residential area where his church is located.
Smartly dressed ushers help pack the thousands into two levels of seating that resembles a poorly designed 18th Century Shakespearean theater.
The 'service' started a good 20 minutes late but enough time for the crowds to stream in until both the floors are packed to capacity.

I'm thinking 'God, bless us when there is a fire or an emergency' because I hardly see any fire rescue or emergency measures. There could be a thousand people packed in that steaming duplex and no sight of a fire extinguisher or Emergency Exits. No signage. Lots of cabling that you can easily trip over.

But that would be the lesser of my worries, because after nearly an hour of loud pop music, lots of clapping and chanting, we finally get to what I guessed would be a bible reading and sermon. How wrong could I have been? A middle aged lady, who looked more like a socialite and a toast mistress than anything to do with a church, stepped up to ask everyone whether they knew what a hat-trick in Cricket meant! Duh! 'Easy, give the lady a chance', I thought. She later went on to quote the definition of the term and then mentioned that 'we' had achieved an hat-trick in the world of christian hymns. The good reverend had won an award for the third year in a row for his christian songs. He later on went on to release a new CD. That's right, a new CD right in the middle of what was supposed to be Holy Mass. Now, dont get me wrong. I applaud the dude for singing his way into the hearts and souls of millions around the world. He even sang two of his songs off his new CD just to whet our appetite.

As if this was not killing me already, the humble reverend went on to quote how 'certain' people are alleging that he has a resort with 15 rooms that he is enjoying. Presumably, the 'allegations are false and completely baseless'. If he had this kind of resort, he would have given it to his workers to stay in.
Now, not that I have any fore knowledge of what he has or how much he owns, but his speech exonerating himself smacked of guilt. Rule of thumb when faced with allegations that are false, or baseless. Ignore them. Don't defend them. By even mentioning them, you are only acknowledging them. The right reverend certainly proved beyond doubt that he was guilty. I don't know nor do I care of what he is guilty of but he should have just kept his mouth shut.
An hour or something later, he stopped. 

Judging by the thronging thousands, I can certify that the good pastor is certainly popular but then isn't entertainment supposed to be popular? Which one of you would like to attend a sitar recital as compared with a rock concert? I would understand if a church is trying to increase the number of it's faithfuls, but do we really need to play to the gallery to get the pews overflowing?

We filed out in a way that resembled movie goers. The next batch of worshipers were awaiting their turn to be spiritually zapped.
As we flow out into the narrow lane and into the path of impatient drivers, we are accosted by beggars and peddlers of virtually every known commodity that you can buy with whatever money is left over after your generous tithes. Almost out of nowhere, a gentleman 'of the church' walked over, interrupting my train of thought and started a conversation. He correctly figured that I was a visitor to the church and offered to patch me through to the pastor and the help group at 'my zone'. He seemed so genial that I didn't have the heart to tell him that I would never be coming back to this church. Not even if this was the last church and I was the last Christian alive. But four minutes later, we have exchanged numbers and he knows my name, and where I am from. Wasn't I taught not to provide such details to complete strangers? Argh..

Post the traumatic series of events this Sunday, I still think this could have been just an anomaly. Just a bad day to have come to this church. I still remember the sermon and value the takeaway that the messages offer.
Enlightened at how innocent the holy man is, my convictions about televangelists have only hardened. Many preach God, or so they would like to believe, so that they appear to be the James Bond of Christ. C'mon guys, who writes these stuff? Why in the world would Christ need a James Bond?
I've had debates with fellow believers and curious non believers who believe Christ is so much more than what you, I or any other generation ahead of us can ever figure out. He is so much more than all our intelligence put together. We need him, more than he needs us.

In hindsight, I can understand why Satan worshipers and atheists are averse to Christianity.
The believers come away disillusioned and the non believers have more reasons to never give us another chance.

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