Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

When the Backbone of Consumerism dies….

December 16, 2008

Usher: I been thinkin’ Deak, about what is going to happen when consumerism ceases to be the backbone of this country.

Deacon: You think it will ever happen?

Usher: It’s inevitable. The bubble is bursting.  Madoff is enough to prove this.  Here’s a guy who’s been running a Ponzi scheme right under Wall Street’s nose for nearly 40 years!  They actually made him head of Nasdaq – how’s that for executive accountability!  The government  rebuilt it (using socialism techniques) after the first depression, but it might just be too big and unmanageable to build back this time.  Too many people, too much crisis, not enough resources 70 years later.  Other countries have tried to copy the US consumerist model and have either failed or are failing (Japan (deflation), Iraq (democracy), Russia (pseudo commudemocracy), countries in Central America & Africa (who knows what their version is called).

Deacon: So how will the “christians” respond when they:

  • watch their “pastors” leave for congregations for more money
  • are forced to meet in buildings with no steeples, no heat, no electricity, no flat screens and no PA systems 
  • have nothing in the treasury to help the poor who show up and they have to share their food, clothing and housing with the undesirables
  • forego tithe to feed their families or possibly their neighbors
  • are not be able to pay back their creditors because there are no jobs or hope of jobs
  • are forced to forgive those who have borrowed money from them and who they know will never be able to pay them back
  • have paid all their bills on time, have great credit and are still ruined because of what Wall Street has done
  • spend most of their day fending for food instead of shopping for things that end up in yard sales or landfills
  • go to the landfill to find things to sell for food
  • stop preaching about the good life to come when it’s obvious it has passed
  • drive around in cars that are uninsured and unpaid for – but no one to repossess them
  • bury their dead in pine boxes in holes they dig with their Home Depot shovels
  • lose their churches to banks and lenders who either tear them down or board them up and fence them off
  • end up living two or three to a room because there are no more jobs and no money and nowhere to eat out or shop….
  • wake up to find squatters living in their garages, yards, barns, sheds or cars
  • use their sports stadiums as shelters
  • are forced to teach their own children because the governments go broke and the schools have all closed
  • or their relatives/friends/brethren are put in jail for failing to pay their taxes and debt
  • are turned in by their neighbors, falsely accused of petty crimes in exchange for food and favors
  • are falsely accused of helping people who the government has blacklisted or cast out
  • have to work every waking hour just to eat and fend for those who cannot hunt for food
  • have no government to decide matters and have to carry out their own courts and judgments
  • cannot get a job with their Ivy League pedigrees or their careers were founded on the model of consumerism
  • are forced to beg for food or money to buy food as the only paying jobs are dishonest, illegal or predatory
  • are asked to leave their neighborhoods because their wealthy neighbors are no longer accepting of them, now that they’re poor
  • look out the window and see American “refugees” in droves walking down the highway heading nowhere because they have been turned away and have no money, no home, no car and no job

Deacon: I think you’re a little over-the-top Usher. 

Usher: Really?  So tell me where all the people who are losing their homes going to live?  They couldn’t pay a mortgage, what makes you think they can afford a rental (now owned by wealthy predators).  Will the christians take them in or send them to the government for help?

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Ultimate Job Security

November 4, 2008

Usher: Deak, I need a job that has a great future

Deacon: So, go to school and get a degree, a pedigree if you will and you’ll have that…

Usher: Yeah, but what kind of pedigree has the greatest amount of security, benefits, longevity and you know – kind of perfect for the long haul

Deacon: It’s not that easy to predict because usually once the industry takes off and proves itself, it’s old hat in the market but new in academia.  If you’re not on the cutting edge, you’re the tail wagging the dog.

Usher: Kind of like IT in the 80s, Internet & Telecom in the 90’s and investment banking today?

Deacon: You got it.  Nothing is secure.  Everything is fluid and all vocations seem to have a very short shelf life.  And in this society, it’s getting shorter and shorter what with the boomers retiring and all.  I’m beginning to think that geriatrics will be the next up and coming hot vocation!

Usher: I beg your pardon – I think I know the perfect vocation that has none of what you describe.

Deacon: What on earth are you talking about?

Usher: Well, you don’t need funding or a business plan.  You do need an education, but it doesn’t have to be from a Harvard or a Yale or an MIT. 

Deacon: Go on, I’m intrigued..

Usher: You get your own staff and budgets typically grow every year. 

Deacon: Sounds fairly interesting…

Usher: Best of all, you determine your own work schedule, your free time, when you vacation and for the most part, you work a 40 hour week.  Benefits are included and if they’re not sufficient, you simply apply for better.  You have full authority with autonomy!

Deacon: With a job like that, there must a high barrier to entry major job requirements?

Usher: Not really.  You see you can write your own bylaws and if they don’t work, you simply change them from time to time. “Everything in context” they say.

Deacon: What about accountability?

Usher: You’re almost always in a satellite capacity if you’re part of a larger organization, but if it’s your own, then you’re pretty much your own boss.  Not a lot of accountability as your customers are usually distracted with other issues like paying mortgages, borrowing for tuition and planning their vacations.

Deacon: Tell me more about the customers?

Usher: Well it’s a great vocation as most customers are repeat customers and there are multiple revenue streams.  If things get tight, one simply raises more funds from the same customer base!  They’re always willing to bring more because they’re afraid if they don’t, they might suffer. 

Deacon: What’s the product or service?

Usher: A bunch of intangibles is how I’d describe it.  Kind of like insurance, but not really.  A little like education, but not really.  A lot like politics in that the onus is really on the customer, except at election time when all the promises are made.  After election, the customer assumes all of the risk and let’s you off the hook.  They never had a choice!  All one must do is get elected.

Deacon: So let me get this straight.  There is little or no accountability, a ton of security, no tangible products or services and little to no risk?  You technically only have to be elected once and you’re in for the duration.  With all those benefits, there must be limited openings with fierce competition?

Usher: Not really.  In fact, it’s one of the easiest vocations to acquire.  I have yet to meet a single person who flunked out of university pursuing this type of career.  Some choose another major but never have I heard of someone seeking out this vocation and failing.  It’s subjective in nature and not really black and white.  Kind of like a politically correct soccer league where everyone plays and everyone gets a trophy at year’s end.

Deacon: OK, I’m baffled.  What on earth could be so grand?

Usher: Why, pastoring a church of course!  Where is your head Deak?  It’s the perfect vocation.  You never have to be right, you can always find a scriptural reference to your point of view that cannot be challenged and you can throw anyone out who doesn’t agree.  There are tons of churches begging for a pastor to lead them and they pay you, listen to you every Sunday (only for an hour tops though) and whatever you tell them, they believe.  As long as you fill it full of rhetoric, idealisms, nothing absolute, they will rationalize it into their own set of circumstances and even if they question you, the Bible isn’t black and white and thus, there are no definitives.  All you have to give them is programs for their kids (and they do all the work) and they come back week after week after week.  You can always send them on their merry way if they disagree by either isolating them, ignoring them, disfellowshipping them, or best of all, condemn them for being disgruntled and dis’sing God’s church and people.  Accuse them of “sowing discord” or attack their character by telling them to study the Bible and repent from their dissenting ways.  That usually works quite well.  If none of those work, you simply have breakfast with them and suggest they find another place to hang their hat.  After all, no pastor deserves to be questioned or held accountable by a layperson, ‘eh Deak?

MN Televangelist Summoned by IRS! Mac Hammond (It’s a Conspiracy!)

September 4, 2008

 Usher: Deak, This one takes the cake!  Man, this guy has big ones! 

Deacon: Don’t be rude Usher, you’re getting a little too graphical!

Usher: Let me break it to you nicely Deak.  Either this guy has redefined the defintion of “brazen” or his church congregation has redefined the Webst’er’s definition of “gullable”!

Deacon: What  did he do to get that out of you?

Usher: How about coercing his congregation to give him loans (which they forgave!), with which he bought a plane, and then leased it back to the church at a premium!  It’s like a Guinness commercial – BRILLIANT!

Then Hammond claims there are political pundits behind an audit after he welcomed it only a year earlier! 

He then endoreses a political candidate from the pulpit (against IRS rules of a 501C3 or non profit).

But really Deak, here’s how sees it: Hammond wrote in a letter to congregants that “enemies of the gospel” are behind the inquiry.

This is the quote used in an article where they throw one of the church board members under the bus (convicted for tax fraud and fleeing prosecution) and claims he had nothing to do with their business dealings:  “I think it’s important that I not be embarrassed about the increase the Lord does bring me,” Hammond said last year.

And Deak, this one takes the cake!  Here is is his defense letter which he sends out to his congregation. Here are some of the really juicy quotes:

“CREW forwarded a “stolen copy of loan application” to the IRS”

“mid-level IRS employee”

“perceived endorsement of Michele Bachman”

“our books are clean”

“Those behind the attacks we will identify, for the moment as enemies of the gospel”

“these opponents in their attempt to limit our influence must limit our growing wealth …undermine and corrupt the commitment of the donor base”  (YOU MEAN MESS WITH MY SUGAR DADDY BASE)

“those who labor in the word are worth of double honor” (1 Tim 5:17)  (DOES HE KNOW ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES THAT TALK ABOUT DOUBLE JUDGMENT?)

Usher: Deak – give me your money, I’ll buy a plane, bill you back for it so I can buy the fuel and we’ll call it LABORING FOR THE GOSPEL!   BRILLIANT!

“I refuse to ever be embarrassed or apologetic for the level of God’s blessing upon my life and believe every day that MY PREACHING WILL HAVE THE SAME EFFECT ON YOUR LIFE.” 

Deak – I’ll bet if we traced his family line, it goes back to the lines of the greatest gypsy and carny clans that ever walked the face of the earth!  You gotta give him credit.  He never gets out of the role!  He obviously believes HE is the difference in these people’s lives.  He just took God out of the equation.

“…All monies that Lynne and I have ever taken…compensation, loans, airport leases…have been approved by the Board of Directors”  (Mac doesn’t seem to know that being a member of his own board makes him an insider and violates non-profit IRS code)

“The income generated by the lease….save the church the potential loss at the time of sale”

Deak – Might as well stick ’em for the money up front.  After all, you might not be around when they have to sell the plane and this way you can save them the money you took!!!  I can’t go on – it’s all there – nothing I’ve taken is out of context.  This is either the saddest or the funniest, I cannot ascertain which. 

ECFA – Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

September 4, 2008

Usher: Deak, you know about the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability?  I discovered them in research and thought I’d check things out as to which megachurches belong. 

Deacon: And, what did you find out?

Usher: Calvary Chapel is the only top 10 megachurch that has any record of belonging or having belonged:

Calvary Chapel – here is their financial page – though it doesn’t give details, it does tell where the money is spent.

Mr. Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle should be included in “Grassley’s 6”

August 27, 2008

BREAKING NEWS

Usher: Hey Deak, some interesting stuff in the comments with regards to the Brooklyn Tabernacle on our post below.

Deacon: It appears Mr. Cymbala has created some of his own miracles.  Interesting comment with regards to the homeless community “We’re not that KIND of church”….

Usher: And he’s got money for construction but not for a stipend for those who give to him and carry out ministries he writes about in his book…..

https://deaconandusher.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/another-top-10-megachurch-brooklyn-tabernacle-your-tithe/