Monday, August 16, 2010
My mom told me about her latest visit to her favorite pastor’s church over the weekend. This is the same dunce who told the entire congregation that NASA had confirmed the Mayan prediction pertaining to the end of the world being in 2012. NASA had adamantly denied such nonsense before the pastor ever spoke about it in the first place. But, the pastor supposedly has a direct line of communication to god so they naturally are going to believe him over any misinformed scientist. There must be some kind of bizarre conspiracy or cover up going on that only the pastor is privy of.
Anyway, the pastor approached her before the service began and stated that he had a “word from the lord” to share about her after the service was over. My mom was most distressed about what he was going to say so she was less than attentive throughout the rest of the service. One wonders why god doesn’t just tell you what he wants you to know. Why does he have to go through a middle man? Finally, the moment she was waiting for came and he prompted her onto the stage. In front of many eager and curious onlookers, he told her that she was going to have a “five-fold blessing” everywhere she went from here on out as long as she followed the Lord. She would be in high favor regardless of where she travelled or whom she encountered. He stated that her husband, who is suffering with Parkinson’s, would be healed and that his business would not fold. Basically, he, like so many psychics, told her everything she wanted to hear and increased her devotion to the church in the process. You’re not going to hear any bad news from a prophetic word these days unless it’s accompanied with a recipe for correcting the situation. And, the member is already in a convenient place to get the problem dealt with. The correction almost always involves repentance of sin and a renewed commitment to the church and generous tithing. This seems to be the method to the Charismatic churches madness. Either way, the pastor and his family benefit because prophetic words almost always increase faithful attendance and, naturally, faithful tithing. After all, you can’t be blessed without faithful tithing according to the pastor who hammers this home every single Sunday before the offering.
The prophetic word is usually very positive or it’s an appeal to bring the wandering sheep back into the fold. The pastor may give a stern warning that the wayward church member needs to do x, y and z so that a, b and/or c doesn’t happen. This has the positive side effect of increasing the interrelatedness, unquestioning devotion and group cohesion of its members. I’m sure there is a positive correlation between prophetic words and increased tithes on behalf of the member receiving the message. Also, there seems to be a deeper commitment made on the church member’s part. It makes the member more eager to attend, and tithe, each Sunday so they can get another encouraging word from god. This is important to the church since tithing keeps the lights on.
A message from the tribal leader, the pastor in this case, carries the most weight. The fact that the church member believes that the pastor is getting a word directly from god makes it even more appealing. Although I don’t have the statistics to back this up, prophetic words undoubtedly have a direct impact on increased tithes and increased book, CD, DVD and other related material sales. Who doesn’t want to hear a favorable word from a higher power? The fact that the members think the pastor has direct access to god makes him all the more marketable. First and foremost, the modern church is a business and it has many competitors—especially here in the Bible belt. The charismatic denomination is second in its number of members, just behind the Catholic Church. A good reason for this is because it appeals to our wants and desires. A great proportion of Charismatic Pastors tell us that we are not meant to be poor and we can obtain heaven here on earth. Who wouldn’t want a little piece of heaven now? Unfortunately, the only one getting wealthier is the pastor and his inner circle of mob-like devotees. Anyway, just thought I would briefly share my mom’s latest experience in the wacky and crazy world of Charismania.