Monday, January 02, 2012

Nothing New Under The Televangelistic Sun

You might think that I am some sort of Neanderthal, but I don't have cable television. I used to have Uverse, which gave me over 400 channels with 56 of them being movie channels. And one night I nestled in on the sofa, popcorn in hand, so I could find something to watch and end my day with a time of mindless vegging. I actually scanned up all 400 channels and couldn't find one single thing of mental value to watch. Nada! So I am now the proud owner of a rabbit ears antennae. It is almost ludicrous to see a cheap antennae running to a very expensive flat screen television. But hey, that's how I roll!

So here comes the interesting part. My wife and I scanned what was available over the air here in Dallas, Texas late last night before we went to bed. It all seems to come down to three categories: Mexican, Religious, or Network. We chose religious. What a collection of minutia. There were two that captured our attention and made us watch briefly, until we could simply take no more. Evangelist Peter Popoff had a show where if you bought his amazing miracle water, money would come your way. He had lots of testimonies of people who had bought his miracle water and found within a week that somehow the bank decided to pay off their mortgages.

"Operators are standing by. This is a free call!"
Others told tales of money miraculously arriving in the mail from sources they had never heard of. I watched him play with people's hope like my cat plays with a toy. It was sad. I'm not saying that his ministry isn't real. I'm not even saying that those miracles were false. But what I am saying is there were so many red flags going up in my spirit it looked like a Tibetan prayer chain from the Himalayas. There was no mention of the name of Jesus or anything about redemption and salvation; only fast, easy, miraculous money.

We moved to the next station where W. V. Grant, Jr. was doing his miracle healing deal. The problem with his show is that he used so many clips from decades past I am not sure if any of it was recent. He was selling his miracle healing handkerchiefs, and a gold key that contained a personal scripture “just for you”. It was the key to prosperity. I thought I remembered him getting hammered on an NBC special years ago when they did an expose' on televangelists.

Throwin' down the beats for the Lord!
I think Grant was the one that was using a wireless ear piece to receive the gift of “discerning of spirits” via his wife on a microphone in the back. I'm not sure. I do know that he did some jail time. Yes, there could have been real power in those handkerchiefs. And it also could have all been a scam. I'm not saying that. But again I watched the hope in people's eyes. They wanted so desperately to believe.

I love Jesus. I love the fact that the Pharisees needed someone to kiss him so the soldiers would know who to arrest. He looked too much like all the other disciples. There was no hesitation in discerning which one was Grant or Popoff, and who was not. I love Jesus for the fact that he was broke. I love him for his willingness to heal all that were oppressed of the devil; not just one or two. (Acts 10:38) I love the fact that there was nothing the recipients of his grace had to purchase, send in, do, or carry. They came to him with absolutely nothing. And he responded in power, truth, love, and authority. The last time I posted on this blog I asked if Jesus would embrace technology. I'm not sure if he would tweet or have his sermons simulcast. He probably wouldn't wear French cuffs on his starched, white shirt. But one thing I do know for sure, he would point people's attention away from himself and towards God Almighty. I know that one look into his eyes and everything would change for the person who was fortunate enough to cross paths with him. I know that his ministry would not show people how to grow their own personal little kingdoms. He would be very concerned with the condition of their souls; in a way that no prosperity can heal. He would touch them with profound truths which would call them to a deeper understanding of their Creator. And he wouldn't want their money. He wouldn't have to wheedle or cajole them using “heat of the moment” tactics. He would simply trust God for his provision. And like He always does, God would “show up”.

I know that I probably sound way too judgmental. Especially since Jesus said this: "for he that is not against us is for us." Luke 9:50. But are we really "for Jesus" if we don't do what he says? I've lived too many years as a Christian hypocrite. And I'm done playing the game. I want to follow my King in truth and obedience.

So although most televangelists aren't as bad as “Jersey Shore” or some of the Kardashian crap, they should point you to the author and finisher of your faith: Jesus. You can get clearer reception by turning off the television and hitting your knees. But if you need a silken tied, perfectly coiffed compass to point you in the right direction, then by all means head on down to Best Buy. Check in the antennae isle. There is a miracle key and a vial of water with your name on it.

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