Friday, June 01, 2007

Prosperity cults, etc

This morning I listened in horror and pain to a breakfast show from a local Christian community radio station here on the Westrand. Many sincere believers called in to share their bit about a 'christian' investment scheme, started in the building of a prominent big coloured, Christian charismatic church here in Joburg. The leadership of this church and other churches promoted and provided the platform for this and many followed the integrity of the pastor and invested in the sceme. Apparantly what was promised was a '4 to1' return ( whatever that means). People 'invested' their savings, pension, a second ( or third bond) for a return in 4 months of 4 times the ammount they invested. Some allowed it to 'roll over' and millions were promised- in the church. In a context of declining jobsecurity, rising unemployment and underemployment ( government employees are striking now!), but more so, a bit of 'praise and worship', speaking in tongues and a 'word of prophecy', which is never to be challenged by scripture or common sence, who would not be susceptable and vulnerable? It sounded and appeared like a miracle and indeed divine intervention for our coloured communities. Hallelujah ! This was not to be. People lost houses, their hard earned pensions, childrens study money and are up in arms: the miracle worker dissappeared (he called in to the program to claim innocence: he is 'in hiding' somewhere, pleading the community to allow him to come back to clear his name. What was worse was the way in which the radiostation's boss and another 'pastor' was pasting the same lame, posperity texts over this mess... 'just trust and put your faith in God and He will supply your needs' (read greeds), 'God is in control'. don't say anothing against God's annointed, etc.etc... It painfull but true: we as christians and churches are guilty. We have been too quiet and submissive to put our God-given minds in action to analyse these bogus prophets of prosperity and their reckless 'gospel' and 'theology', in the face of real injustice and evil. They have been and clearly still are instruments - sometimes usefull idiots in the hands of global capitalism and we have been colluding, because maybe there's something out for us as well or we don't want to rock the boat. We'll the good that will come out of this is that a few people will be liberated from these religious charlatans and the bondage of prosperity cults- maybe (hopefully) a more humble church, identifying with the poor, standing against the rich and powerfull, who in their selfish interest have worked against God, will emerge... let's wait and hope... in the meantime let's test ourselves and if if need be, repent...

Musings.....