Archive for August, 2011

The Gospel of prosperity: Get Jesus on that credit card

“John: 19 tells us that Jesus wore designer clothes,” Avanzini said, referring to the purple robe that Christ’s tormentors wrapped around him before the Crucifixion. “I mean, you didn’t get the stuff he wore off the rack…. No, this was custom stuff. It was the kind of garment that kings and rich merchants wore.”

Yesterday, while channel surfing in boredom, I happened upon Family TV where the now standard ‘love gift’ pitch was being laid out by Bishop Clarence McLendon, standing besides TBN’s Paul and Jan Crouch. While I wasn’t giving the show 100% attention something caught my attention when McLendon implored, with a straight face no less, that for those watching seeing how wealthy those on the pulpit are and how fabulous their surroundings look should be no hindrance to continuously handing over money to them, in fact the good preacher said it was preferable to give to the rich, meaning him & TBN’s Crouch, than to the poor. He then went ahead to thump the bible as having said “when you give to the poor it will be given back to you in the same measure, but if you give to God it will be returned a hundred fold”

The part I don’t get is this: That giving to those already wealthy is equivalent to giving to God, and not only that, but also far better and profitable than helping out the poor. I just couldn’t wrap my head around why people accept this kind of preaching without question; and so I went to look at some of the “Prosperity Gospel” teachings from the crew I had just watched and below is what I dug up.

Pastor Paul Crouch calls it “God’s economy of giving,” and here is how it works:

People who donate to Crouch’s Trinity Broadcasting Network will reap financial blessings from a grateful God. The more they give TBN, the more he will give them.

Being broke or in debt is no excuse not to write a check. In fact, it’s an ideal opportunity. For God is especially generous to those who give when they can least afford it.

“He’ll give you thousands, hundreds of thousands,” Crouch told his viewers during a telethon last November. “He’ll give millions and billions of dollars.”

Other preachers who appear on the network offer variations on the theme that God appreciates wealth and likes to share it. One of them, John Avanzini, once told viewers that Jesus, despite his humble image, was a man of means.

“John 19 tells us that Jesus wore designer clothes,” Avanzini said, referring to the purple robe that Christ’s tormentors wrapped around him before the Crucifixion. “I mean, you didn’t get the stuff he wore off the rack…. No, this was custom stuff. It was the kind of garment that kings and rich merchants wore.”

TBN viewers are told that if they don’t reap a windfall despite their donations, they must be doing something to “block God’s blessing” — most likely, not giving enough.

Crouch has particularly stern words for those who are not giving at all.

“If you have been healed or saved or blessed through TBN and have not contributed … you are robbing God and will lose your reward in heaven,” he said during a 1997 telecast.

A central element of the prosperity gospel is that no one is too poor or too indebted to donate. Bishop Clarence McClendon, a preacher whose show “Take It By Force” appears on TBN, told viewers in March that God had asked him to deliver a message to those in financial difficulty:

They should “sow a seed” by using their credit cards to make donations. In return, the Lord would see to it that the balances would be paid off within 30 days.

“Get Jesus on that credit card!” McClendon said.

Most mainstream theologians and pastors say the prosperity gospel is at best a doctrinal error and at worst a con game. They point out that Jesus and his disciples abandoned their possessions in order to live a spiritually rich life.

“It is difficult to fathom how anyone familiar with the abundance of biblical teaching about the ‘deceitfulness of riches’ could have devised the prosperity gospel,” said William Martin, a sociology professor at Rice University and author of a biography of Billy Graham.

“While the Bible does not condemn all wealth, it surely points to its dangers in numerous passages.”

Critics of TBN say that the promise of financial miracles — besides being a distraction from the core principles of Christianity — can cause real harm.

Ole E. Anthony, founder of the Trinity Foundation in Dallas, a televangelist watchdog, said he knew people who had given the last of their savings to TV preachers, hoping for a windfall that never came.

“The people on TBN are living the lifestyle of fabulous wealth on the backs of the poorest and most desperate people in our society,” Anthony said. “People have lost their faith in God because they believe they weren’t worthy after not receiving their financial blessing.”

Thomas D. Horne, of Williford, Ark., a disabled Vietnam-era veteran, said that in 1994 he was swept away by the rhetoric of TBN pastors and donated about $6,000 in disability benefits.

Time went by and he did not receive the promised surfeit of money. Last year, he found out that TBN had purchased a Newport Beach mansion overlooking the Pacific. He wrote to the network, asking for his money back.

“I want to recoup my hard-earned disability money I sent to these despicable people,” said Horne. He said he has received no reply.

(quotes and investigative reporting above redacted from the LA Times)

God help us all if this is what the church has come to.....

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I support affirmative action for women; the poor downtrodden ones, not the rich domineering elites

Preferential affirmative action patronizes women, and other historically disadvantaged groups, by presuming that they cannot succeed on their own. Preferential affirmative action does , at best, very little, or at worst, nothing to advance parity.

 

I fully agree, in principal, with Kenya’s new constitutional requirement that no single gender, male or female, should form more than two thirds in terms of representation in any elected body in Kenya. But how do we implement this? Force 33% of Kenya to have only female contestants for public office? Fill a third of parliament with nominated women and make a third of all appointments to public offices exclusive to women?

It has been said many times that the majority of voters are women; the question that keeps coming up is why can’t women simply vote in more women? Often the argument has been that it comes down to control of the election narrative by whoever has more money (usually men) and past prejudices that women have had forced down their psyche while they grew up which predisposes them to vote against their own interests, a cry for civil education and a change in cultural indoctrination.

But having gone over the reasons given, I see a common thread and it is that the real disadvantaged and underrepresented people are those that have little education and scarce financial resources. When it comes to groups that require affirmative action, from persons with disability, minorities, etc, they almost always are poorer and less educated than the rest of society. It is poverty that provides a divide between those that wield power and those that are kept under the heel of the boot.

Granted women, due to past practices of inequality in a patriarchal society, often fall in the category of the poor and less educated, the question is whether any move to apportion seats based on gender would really benefit those whom it should or if it will simply be distributed among the wealthy, educated, elite uberfeminists that appear on TV every evening pretending to be fighting for that woman who walks 20Km everyday looking for water and doesn’t have the reading skills to analyze CDF allocations.

Would a poor man win a seat against a female tycoon because the only redeeming quality he has are his cojones?

On the flipside, does a female peasant, the ones they used to refer to as “District Focus” have any chance against the rich uberfeminists we see on our TV screens every evening supposedly carrying the torch for all the downtrodden women in Kenya?

If you ask me, we are fighting the wrong war; hoarding of power is not limited to gender, it’s class warfare

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Qatar world cup: taxes at work. Kenyan MPs: we won’t pay & we’ll impede general tax collection too…

“Death, taxes and depression: three things you can always depend on”… unless, of course, you’re a Kenyan MP, then you can try to block collection of taxes while refusing to pay up your share of the very source of revenue that you’re paid from.

 

To my utter dismay, but not to my surprise; the whole band of shameless looters, thieving oligarchs, spawn of despotic strongmen, land grabbing crime family representatives, mindless stooges and ass-kissing nincompoops, that comprise our legislature, have now banded together to not only refuse to pay taxes on their largely undeserved emoluments, but have also decided, in a move no more ludicrous than slitting one’s throat because you want separate the head from the rest of oneself to spite your body, the porcs égoïstes now plan to hit back at KRA by amending the taxation law so as to deny the revenue body up to 200 billion shillings in collection (you’d think KRA commissioners collect the money to pay for their own drinks, concubines and yatchs, as opposed to paying for public services and the untaxed salaries the numbskulls on Parliament road enjoy). What a joke; if only it wasn’t so tragic and with far-reaching effects on this struggling banana republic.

Now that there is no point belabouring what is common knowledge, that our so called leaders are nothing but selfish, self-serving, greed infested, voracious opportunistic carnivores; I thought I’d take a break from my rant (since I might as well be preaching to the choir in respect to my fellow suffering hoi polloi, while expecting a shred of decency and consideration from the Mps is an act of pissing in the wind), instead I thought I’d post stunning images of what taxes are doing for a desert country (granted they have oil, which Nigeria and Sudan have too by the way) at Qatar prepares to host a world cup. As for the Kenyan MPs, what a bunch of clowns!

  1. Doha Port Stadium in Doha . T o be built. Expected capacity: 44,950

  1. And here’s how the stadium, designed by Albert Speer Partner, will look from across the Harbour

  1. Al-Gharrafa Stadium in Al-Rayyan. Major renovation. Expected capacity: 44,740

  1. Built in 2003 and currently with a capacity of just 25,000, the Al-Gharrafa Stadium will require significant redvelopment to achieve the vision below

  1. Al-Shamal Stadium in Al-Shamal. T o be built. Expected capacity: 45,120

  1. The stadium’s shape derives from traditional fishing boats known as ‘dhow’

  1. Al-Khor Stadium in Al-Khor. T o be built. Expected capacity: 45,330

  1. To combat the searing heat, air conditioning units will be installed in this and all of the other stadiums

  1. Umm Slal Stadium in Umm Slal. T o be built. Expected capacity 45,120

  1. The stadium is located in south eastern Qatar , albeit just 40 miles from Doha . It’s shape bears similarities to a nearby fort that is one of the most important landmarks of Qatar, T he Umm Salal Mohammed Fort

  1. EducationCityStadium in Al-Rayyan. T o be built. Expected capacity 45,350

  1. Following the World Cup, the stadium will be downsized to 25,000 seats for use by the University hockey team

  1. Access to the stadium will be made easy, even for people travelling from Bahrain , which is only 51 minutes away by high-speed rail

  1. Khalifa International Satdium in Al-Rayyan. Major renovation. Expected capacity 68,030

  1. Al-Wakrah Stadium in Al-Wakrah. T o be built. Expected capacity 45,120

  1. Home to Al-Wakrah football team, the current stadium only holds 20,000 fans

  1. Al-Rayyan Stadium in Al-Rayyan. Major renovation. Expected capacity 44,740

  1. The exterior of the stadium features a membrane that will act as a screen for projections and advertisements

  1. QatarUniversity Stadium in Doha . T o be built. Expected capacity 43,520

  1. Of the six stadiums based in the capital, Doha , the University Stadium will be marginally the smallest

  1. SportsCity Stadium in Doha . T o be built. Expected capacity 47,560

  1. A bird’s eye view shows how the stadium draws inspiration from traditional Arab tents

  1. Lusail Iconic Stadium in Al-Daayen. T o be built. expected capacity 86,250

  1. The showpiece stadium and venue for the World Cup final, the Lusail Iconic Stadium will be a masterpiece of engineering. T he stadium will have a near circular footprint and will be surrounded by a vast moat

  1. “Reflecting Dohas culture and heritage, the stadium is designed to be highly energy efficient and capable of performing in extreme summer climatic conditions,” say the designers

 


			

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