Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sky Pilot

Watch me tread very carefully here...we're going to talk about religion and money.

You've heard of Creflo A. Dollar, the Georgia megachurch pastor who wants angels to help keep him aloft.

Dollar is part of the new breed of preacher, like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen. Preachers in the olden days drove beat-up Plymouths and were pleased to accept any and all invitations for dinner at the homes of congregants, where they would show up wearing a shiny suit and shoes that had seen the inside of the cobbler's shop more than once.  They preached the sermon on Sunday, came to Youth Fellowship that night, visited the sick and the disenchanted all week, attended choir practice on Thursday, officiated at weddings (which always sounded like they should wear referee clothes and carry a whistle) and helped at the bake table at the Oyster and Turkey Supper on Saturday.  If the Plymouth broke down, there was always some church member who ran a repair shop and would fix up the Belvedere when he got around to it.  Weekly attendance at Sunday services would average around 200-250, peaking on Christmas Eve and Easter and taking a major hit when the Colts or Ravens had a home game.

A 20 is called a Double Sawbuck because XX =20
No, Dollar and Osteen and Warren are following in the footsteps of Robert Tilton, a man I used to watch on TV because I was up spooning Rice Krispies down my neck at 4 AM.  "God don't want you followin' no poor preacher into heaven," he would moan on his "Success-N-Life" show, "so make your pledge unto me...sow the seeds..and it shall come back to you twentyfold." And then he would read testimonies from people who were down to their last double sawbucks but sent it to Tilton, and the VERY NEXT DAY, some stranger offered them a new job with a new car and a house all thrown in.  And all because they cast their bread upon the waters of Lake Tilton.

Creflo A. Dollar heads the Atlanta-area World Changers Church International.  He does not want you following a poor preacher, either, and so he is asking his flock to pitch in for Project G650, a campaign to buy a $65 million Gulfstream G650 airplane. The math is very simple: if 200,000 people give at least $300, he'll be flying around in style and you can look up and watch him zoom overhead in the 18-passenger luxury plane.

Dollar had a jet before to fly him around, but it broke down and I guess no one in the church operates a jet repair shop, so it's time to look around, because, “It’s not like a car where you can pull over on the side when something goes wrong,” he said in a YouTube video. “I knew it was time to begin to believe God for a new airplane.”

One Dollar
Dollar says that "Creflo A. Dollar" is his real name, and that he started his church in 1986 after seeing a vision exhorting him to do so.  In less than 30 years, he has seen the church grow from a group of 6 in a school cafeteria to today's megachurch heights. And you know what, if people feel good about giving him 300 semolians, who am I to say they shouldn't?

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