“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8 NIV
“What it means to be human, just the properties of human nature, is such that it is inevitable, not likely or probable, but inevitable, that people who wield political power and are permitted to do so in the dark and without lots of checks and accountability and transparency will abuse that power and abuse it severely. We’re all familiar with the phrase that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely; we usually invoke it when we’re talking about those bad tyrants in those other countries, but it actually is grounded in a recognition of what human nature is.”
-Glenn Greenwald: “Edward Snowden and the Secrets of the National Security State.” Speech at the University of Utah, April 7, 2015
YouTube – beginning @ 32:58
Who is Alex Himaya, and why is he jumping off a cliff?
Alex Himaya, a rising celebrity in the Southern Baptist Conference (SBC) is the senior pastor of BattleCreek Church located in Broken Arrow, OK. (Tulsa area.) He is currently leading his church in a giving campaign called “All In.” They are attempting to raise $50 million.
Himaya was the class president at Ouachita Baptist University, graduating in 1993.
“Ouachita Baptist University is a private, Baptist university in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The university’s name is taken from the Ouachita River, which forms the eastern campus boundary. It is affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.” –Wikipedia
From 1996-2002 Himaya was the youth pastor at Ronnie Floyd’s mega-church located in Northwest Arkansas.
Here is a clip of Himaya speaking at Floyd’s church, thanking Floyd for all he has done for him.
Himaya is also friends with Johnny Hunt, likely facilitated by Hunt’s close ties Ronnie Floyd. Both Floyd and Hunt are past Presidents of the SBC.
Himaya is a gifted leader, motivator and organizer. He agreed to become pastor of a small, dying, debt-ridden church in Broken Arrow, OK in 2002 and eighteen years later has been instrumental in seeing that church grow into a mega-church with six campuses across the Tulsa area.
As far as I can tell the church has no board of elders or trustees that govern the church. Instead, I am told the church is guided by a secretive pastor’s council. There seems to a lack of accountability or transparency to the members. The leadership team below is not the same as the Council.
I have been able to discover two of the members of the Council. One is Mike Baab, a wealthy man who is the the Executive Director of the council, a job for which Baab takes no salary. Baab is a member of an exclusive golf club in Tulsa called “Southern Hills Country Club.” It is one of the top 25 golf courses in the USA and will be the site of the PGA Tournament next summer. Cost to join the club is $100,000 and the yearly dues are $30,000. Below is a photo of Himaya and Baab at the golf club.
Julie Bullock is another member of the Council. She is a very successful fund raiser and has worked for a company called Generis for 13 years.
Generis is a company that advises clients (church leaders) on how to increase giving through fund raisers as well as weekly giving.
I am guessing that Himaya is utilizing the services of Generis in the “All In” campaign currently in progress at BattleCreek church. I will have more on this in a follow-up article.
Apparently she doesn’t realize banking the PPP money is an ethical breach and very possibly a fraudulent use of the PPP money. (See the partial loan application below. You must certify that you need the money to support the ongoing operation of your business. It is to go to retain workers, pay their salaries, make mortgage payments or pay utilities. )
By the way, BattleCreek Church received $1.28 million in PPP money. I would guess they likely banked the taxpayers handout.
I have much more information to share on Himaya and BatteCreek Church, but it will have to be in another post, stay tuned.
Meanwhile, here is a great excerpt from a great book. Perhaps it will restore some sanity to the radical, all in types.
“As I look around the landscape of evangelicalism, the world I find myself in, the mundane escapes notice. The ordinary is given lip-service, but overlooked like the garnish on a steak dinner. What the evangelical church really wants is something as large as God Himself, whether personality or performance, workers or windfalls.
The call is to do something big. I’ve sat on the edge of my front-row seat and heard the call thundered from pulpits. And I’ve been the one thundering:
“Change the world,” I can hear myself crying out. “Change your world. Change the world of someone. Anyone. Sell everything. Sell anything. Give it away. Do something crazy. Be radical. Make people stand up and notice. Take a risk. Jesus moved from heaven to earth and gave up his life and yet you — you just go about your daily life.”
All too easily I can hear myself burdening the room with words, phrases, and ideas I’ve heard elsewhere:
“Your days should be blood-earnestly marked by an urgent, nerve-twisting love for people you have never known,” I might say. “And if you truly loved them you would join the missions team’s trip at the expense of your vacation to know them. If you loved God, you would do it. And if you really believed-BELIEVED, you would go and stay. You should want to go. It should be hard to stay where you are in the comfort of where you are.”
My own voice, like a lance, slashes through the darkness in every soul before me:
“You worship,” I berate them. “And then what do you do? You rest. You huddle in your house with your spouse and kids. You eat. You drink. You make love. Go to your kid’s games. Go out with friends. You have clean sheets, clean stainless-steel refrigerators and clean water. You change nothing while millions die in poverty. Each week is a brick used to build the house of a wasted ordinary existence.”
I’ve heard all of it flail in my own head and lash against my ribs, leaving sourness in my stomach no medicine can aid. Worse: similar words, if not these very ones, I turned into whips with which to waken the consciences of those sitting before me. It never felt right but it preached well.
No lie. I used to preach and teach like this. And if I didn’t use the exact words and draw the precise conclusions, I let the listener fill them in like some twisted religious Mad-Lib.
But then I began to ask questions. The inconvenient ones.
Really? Is this the normal Christian life? Is God sitting around waiting for each and every believer to do something monumental? Is this the warp and woof of the New Testament? Are the lifestyles of the Apostles the standard for the persons in the pew? Are the first-century believers the standard?
Is this our God?
In the economy of God, do only the times when we are doing something life-changing have any spiritual cache with Him?
Does He look over the mundane work of the housewife only to see the missions trip she may go on?
So, I wondered. I wondered about the great majority I have known and know. The great majority living fairly ordinary lives.
Is there a God, for instance, for those who are not changing anything but diapers? Is there a God for those who simply love their spouse and pour out rarely-appreciated affection on their children day after day? Is there a God for the mom who spends what feels like God-forsaken days changing diapers and slicing up hot dogs? Is there a God for the men who hammer out a day’s work in obscurity for the love of his wife and kids? Is there a God for just and kind employers? Generous homemakers? Day-laborers who would look at a missions trip to Romania like it was an unimaginable vacation?
Is there a God for the middle-class mom staving off cancer, struggling to raise teenagers and simply hoping both Mom and Dad keep their job? Is there a God for the broken home with a full bank account but an empty bed? Is there a God for grown children tending to the health of their aged parents?
Is there a God, who delights in the ordinary existence of the unknown faithful doing unknown work? Is there a God of grace for those who live out their faith everywhere but do not want to move anywhere?
Is there a God for those who have bigger homes than me? More money than me? Nicer cars than me? Better health than me?
Is there a God for the mundane parts of life, the small moments? Is there a God of kind smiles, good tips and good mornings? Is there a God of goodbye hugs and parting kisses? What about firm, truthful handshakes and grasps of frail fingers in sanitized hospital rooms?
Does God care about the forgotten mundane moments between the sensational, those never remembered? Or are those spiritually vacuous moments for which there is no God?
Is there a God of the mundane?
Does this God I worship care about mundane people and moments?
I’m not crazy. I know there are others asking the same question. But it felt like the lonely question we ask into the night sky where no one will answer. And when we can finally ask it, the comfort is not in the answer so much as wishing we could hear others asking the same question. If misery loves company, a company of wondering would have been nice.
But I kept looking into that night sky. It began looking less empty with all its stars and planets and blank blackness. And the question, hanging there, caught in the beauty of the firmament, yearned for an answer echoing throughout the constellatory.”
“The God of the Mundane” by Matt Redding