“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics” –Albert Einstein link
Feeding of the 5000: A Fractured Rendering of Matthew 14:13-20 NIV (Gateway)
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
14A Jesus gave a special shout out to Saul's Boating Company which provided His transportation at cost and at great sacrifice. (Motto: Why walk on water when you can ride in comfort?)
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
15A The Sons of Zebedee recommended that all of them eat at Y'hoshua Blintzes (Motto: You think manna was sweet? Taste our blintzes. You'll never go walking in the desert again.)
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
17A The disciples became concerned. The young man had purchased the fish and loaves from Moshe ben Amram ha-Levi's Eating Emporium which was known to be frequented by Samaritans. He was told to buy the food from Sisters of Y'hudit which gave "those in the know" a 10% kickback at great sacrifice. Was this a sin worthy of church discipline? The disciples were confused.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass.
18A The grass was mowed by Lazarus' Lawn Service (Motto: "Bringing your lawn back from the dead") which is available Sunday through Friday. Slushies and all beef hot dogs were provided at less than cost by Y'honatan's Kosher Dogs. (Motto: With prices like these, you won't need a miracle.)
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.
18B Jesus turned to the crowd and said he was particularly thankful because the loaves were actually purchased from Rivka's Bakery. (Motto: The bread may not be manna but it beats matzo.)
Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
21A Special thanks to Batsheva's Childcare. Motto: "Caring for those unexpected little ones."
Personal examples of those who use their church position to "sell it."
- My husband and I were approached, ad nauseam, by some good friends (who rapidly became distant acquaintances) who got sucked, hook, line and sinker, into the Amway business. I found myself avoiding contact with them. Why? It dawned on me that we had suddenly ceased being friends and had become a business opportunity. I eventually told my increasingly distant friend that I never wanted to be involved in a business which would cause anyone to think that I cared about them because they could help me make money. That is one of the reasons that we have hesitated to accept any sort of advertising on TWW. We would never want anyone to think that our blog is here to monetarily benefit us.
- In a former church, an elder's wife became involved in some sort of marketing scheme in which she sold high end products such as crystal, expensive handbags, etc. She used her position to get people to come to her events. She then told attendees that the head elder had approved her business, claiming it was a "legit" enterprise.
- At the same church, another woman got involved in the elder's wife "legit" business. She called members of a Bible study, asking to present the products of this business to them. The members were irritated. I called and asked her not to use the relationships in the study for her financial gain. She became upset and said she needed to make money. She lived in a beautiful home, had kids in private school, had great clothes and took nice vacations. I told her if she was on welfare and struggling to put food on the table, I would be sympathetic. I would even help her find ways to increase her income. But that was not the case here.
- There was an advertisement on the local radio station pushing one of those incessant siding companies. It featured a well-known elder at a local well-known church. He was endorsing this product. Since his church was large, why do you think he was hired? It wasn't for his radio voice. Also, how much do you wanna bet (I could not resist) that he got some sort of incentive?
Selling the reputation of the church.
While reading through The Elephant's Debt, link, I found a video, which featured James MacDonald falling all over himself to pitch a construction company. As you watch it, remember, this church is approximately $68+ million in debt, mostly due to the addition of buildings, campuses, etc.
Here are some things that troubled me.
- At the very beginning of the video, James MacDonald's name, position (senior pastor ) and the church (Harvest Bible Chapel) is written in big letters across the screen. It is obvious that his name, position and church are viewed as a net positive. My guess is that the company believed this would help them make money.
- He claims he didn't hire the company, at first, and, instead went with another company which would prove, obviously to be inferior. He called this company back (I am not going to use their name. They have been pushed enough), begged them to help and they humbly agreed. He claims that this outfit "Did not need the business" which caused this MBA blog queen to ROFL. Do people actually buy this codswallop?
- MacDonald then claimed that the company "saved us." He emphasizes this by adding "God help me!" He will "never do business with another construction company again." "God help me?" A vow to God to only use one construction company? Good night!
- He defines "high integrity" as bringing in the job "on cost." Wow. They lived up to their contractual obligations. I am floored.
- He says that the church (or is it MacDonald?) has, in the past 15 years, used the company to help bring about "1 million square feet on 5 campuses." He repeats the name of this firm a number of times just in case we idiots didn't get it.
- He says he has 100% confidence in the integrity of the company. Sell it, James, sell it.
- At every turn, said company "under promises and over delivers". Work the script, James.
- He says that HBC is a "not for profit organization and very limited in their funding." I would say that $68+million is an amazing amount of debt for those with "limited funding." Does living in an expensive house constitute "profit?"
- The company is selflessly committed to saving money on projects. $68 million debt is saving money???
Here is an TED reader's comment from that post that raises some great questions.
This is wrong on so many levels I can not count them. James is using Harvest, the people at Harvest to endorse a product? What about the construction companies that actually attend Harvest? What about the business they lose because of James endorsement? Did (name of company) treat Harvest a little better because of the public endorsement? Has (name of company) ever given any gift of any kind to Harvest? Has James received any gift of any kind, any help, any service, any material or golf or trip or ANYTHING from anyone having ANYTHING to do with (name of company?
FBC Jacksonville and Mac Brunson: Motto: If it can be sold, we've sold it.
A few years back, our good friend, Tom Rich of FBC Jax Watchdog raised similar questions in a post: Crossing From Church Marketing Into Money Changing Darned good title. Wish I had thought of it.
The following is a large excerpt from that article.
For the past 2 Pastor's Conferences under Mac Brunson, an Atlanta-based marketing and promotions firm, called Conexus, has actually SOLD advertising "promotions packages", ranging in prices of $1000 to $12,000. What FBC Jax is selling in these packages includes:
– display of ministry name in the image screens of the main auditorium
– display of videos highlighting the ministry on the image screens
– "Emcee" recognition of the ministry from the pulpit
– plugs for the sales of CDs
– placement of ministry logos on the church website
– listing of the ministry on the conference website
– mentioning of name in post-conference emails
And this is just the start.
This year, they've become even more brazen in the promotions for the 2010 Pastor's Conference, as now they are trying to sell for thousands of dollars the privilege to place the name of a ministry on bottled water, pens, and conference bags. Even the mentioning of a ministry name from the pulpit is "negotiable", according to their website.
Do the people of FBC Jax really want their leadership charging other Christian ministries $750 for the simple privilege of occupying an 8' x 10' section of our foyer to put up a display table? Is that what the faithful people did 20 and 30 years ago when they gave sacrificially to pay cash to build the RLA and Main auditorium: so Mac Brunson and the A-Group could then sell promotions packages in the auditorium? Did the people of FBC Jax give money to purchase image screens and all of the top-notch audio-visual equipment so Trey Brunson could sell to Christian ministries for thousands of dollars the privilege of displaying their ministry logo or so the "emcee" could speak the name of a ministry to the audience after they have negotiated the appropriate fee with Trey and Maurilio?
I don't know about you, but as a Southern Baptist, and knowing the influence that FBC Jax has, and the respect that Mac Brunson has with churches all over the SBC, I'm worried when I see FBC Jax breaking new ground in this area. What a terrible precedent that I hope others don't follow.
Read that last sentence again. I think Tom Rich may be a prophet.
I'm worried when I see FBC Jax breaking new ground in this area. What a terrible precedent that I hope others don't follow.
Lydia's Corner: Esther 4:1-7:10 1 Corinthians 12:1-26 Psalm 36:1-12 Proverbs 21:21-22