Now for the strange… There is a TV preacher in America (based in Atlanta) called Creflo Dollar. He is one of a number of preachers who teach “The Prosperity Gospel”.
Oh he denies it but he rephrases it by saying that the money is God’s money, it’s just in his pocket. And that God doesn’t want people to be poor.
Any way you slice it, it’s the “God as vending machine” belief – put in a prayer (or money) and out pops a Mercedes. If you’re good enough. It’s like the “Laws of Attraction” for Christians. If you don’t prosper, or get what you want, it’s because YOU didn’t do whatever, or did too much of whatever, or…reasons.
So, this preacher said on TV that he needs a private jet because “God told him he deserved a new one, at a cost of $65 million to the members of his church, World Changers Church International” (“Creflo Dollar: Demons Stole My Private Jet”, Olivia Nuzzi, The Daily Beast, 4/29/15).
Then there’s this…
Dollar said those who tried to damn him to a life of TSA pat-downs and long lines were doing the work of Satan, and that one day he would ask God for a billion dollars to buy a spaceship so he can go to Mars. (Ibid)
He can’t afford a TSA Passport or a first-class ticket? What a cheapskate!
The thing that is so irksome about him, though, is the same thing that irks me about other televangelists: they prey on those who can least afford it, like poor people and the elderly on fixed incomes.
They either appeal to their sense of “doing good in the world”, or they tell them that if they “bestow blessings” or “plant a seed” by sending them money, it will cause their (the donors) bank accounts to increase.
The 700 Club does this with finesse. They have actual stories of people who sent money in to become a “partner” and then saw money just roll right in.
Of course, these people were middle-class to begin with, with a large church support system. In some cases, they were rich people who went to prison for embezzling, “got saved”, and when they got out got jobs as financial advisors to churches – or conducting seminars, or writing books.
So, not much difference. But I thought the Mars thing was weird, so that’s why I wrote this.
Regarding recommendations…there is a cool little book called “The Crimson Fairy Book” by Andrew Lang, and it’s a collection of lesser-known fairy tales from the oral tradition. If you are interested in folklore, you will find this interesting.
Be good. Be kind. Think.