Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Lamborghini's, Gulfstream Jets, Gold and Silver..We Deserve The Best!

A reader here sent the following (see below) to be me about the church pastor who recently bought his wife a Lamborghini for their 8th wedding aniversary.

As appaling as it sounds, and is, it is no different than Gerald Flurry buying a Gulfstream jet just so he and his family can travel without touching the unwashed masses.  It is not like it is being used to fly to nations around the world to meet leaders so he can proclaim a message about a "strong hand from someplace" like his hero Herbert Armstrong did.  No, Flurry does no such thing.  He uses it to fly back and forth to England, transport his grandkids to Irish Dance contests, and to fly to the occasional public lecture with 50 or 60 people present (of which 30-40 are PCG members.)

Flurry's private jet is the perk he claims he deserves as God's prophet and King that he now proclaims himself as. After all, his hero HWA could live in a multi-million dollar mansion surrounded by gold and silver objet d'art's, fine 17th and 18th European and American art and antique furniture.

HWA's Regency Silver-gold gilt Candelabra 1812
Sold for $222,500.00

All of these treasures, whether HWA's, Flurry's or Gray's are items bought while associated with a church.  Unlike Jesus who set out when he preached without food, money or a place to sleep, and just like he sent the apostles out without any money or food, all whom had to rely upon the kindness of strangers of each day that went by, not months and years worth of money being collected as the "profits" of the Church of God and religion today demand. They expect to live like royalty while some of their members live in poverty. Whether being conned by prosperity gospel preachers or tithe-demanding church leaders, the money is all ill-gotten and certainly does nothing to glorify the God they claim to follow.


By Michelle Singletary
Washington Post

Pastor John Gray of the Relentless Church in Greenville, S.C., has been skewered for splurging on a $200,000 Lamborghini for his wife.

A husband surprised his wife with a car for their eighth wedding anniversary.

He posted the joyous moment on Instagram.

Probably no one would have cared — except in this case the husband is a minister at a megachurch and the car cost as much as a home.

It was no ordinary gift or husband.

Pastor John Gray of the Relentless Church in Greenville, S.C., has been skewered for splurging on a $200,000 Lamborghini for his wife. Gray is also an associate pastor at Lakewood Church under the leadership of Pastor Joel Osteen, a megachurch minister who has also been criticized for living too well.

The video of Gray presenting his wife with the car has been taken down, but you can view snippets of it in an entertainment report by Inside Edition.

The rebuke for Gray’s largesse was swift and brutal.

Gray went back on social media to defend the right to spend his money on anything he wants.

“First of it all, it wasn’t a pastor that bought the car,” Gray said in a video responding to the controversy. “It was a husband that bought the car. Get that in your spirit, I’m a husband first — don’t confuse what I do with who I am. What I do is I pastor God’s people. Who I am is a husband and a father, and I’ll do anything to honor them and I won’t ask permission from anybody to do it. No man should.”

Gray also addressed accusations that he used church money to buy the car. He says the money came from the success of his books and reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

“I have created and been patient my whole life for this moment — I’m 45,” he said. “I’m supposed to wait until I’m 70 to live my best life? And my best life is seeing my wife happy.”

Aventer Gray also took to social media to respond to the criticism.

"I don't see anyone screaming about how basketball players drive what they do while you paying $$$ to see them play in arenas and on fields,” she wrote.

Michelle Singletary responds: 
Here’s my take on the controversy.

Personally, I don’t care what Gray does with his money. If he has the cash to buy a $200,000 vehicle, more power to him. We have no business in his business if the funds didn’t come from the church coffers or because of some malfeasance.

“Not a nickel, not a penny from this church, Relentless Church, went toward the gift that I gave my wife,” Gray said.

Further, Gray is not a priest who took a vow of poverty. If his books, speaking engagements and TV show afford him and his family a life of luxury, that’s called living the American Dream. And being a Christian does not mean you can’t have expensive things.

In Proverbs it says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

Still the question for many people of faith is how much profit is too much for a pastor?

Should ministers be living their best lives when so many in their congregation are struggling to make ends meet?

The same is said about top corporate executives who earn multimillion-dollar salaries while many of their workers don’t make a living wage. Or why are athletes paid insane amounts of money when teachers often have to take part of their modest salaries and buy supplies for their students?

The answer: Life is just not fair.

Some folks can sing, dunk or preach their way to prosperous lives. We can only hope that they give generously out of their abundance. I believe to whom much is given, much is required.

But having said all this, I do fault the Grays for one thing — bragging. Why did he feel the need to make a public display of his present?

When you hold certain positions, like that of a pastor, you should show restraint in the exhibition of your wealth. The optics of the anniversary gift was a mistake. It took the focus off his ministerial work and put it on his material wealth.

I’m not suggesting that Gray should hide his fortune, but in the video, as he’s presenting his wife with the car, he struts around and yells, “Lamborghini Urus.”

Later, when addressing the critics, Gray defiantly says, “I don’t really care what you think.”

That’s not true. He does care what the masses think. There were invited onlookers, and he posted the gift exchange online. If Gray didn’t want to show off, he would have presented the vehicle to his wife in private.

Yet the Grays aren’t alone. Social media is all about showing people what you have, where you eat or the amazing vacation places you go. Inevitably such displays of affluence make others feel less than.

Perhaps the lesson to learn from Gray’s conspicuous consumption is this: Live your best life without having to show the world how rich you are.


Byker Bob said...

I believe in enjoying the fruits of one's labor. In fact, I've cultivated a skill set over a lifetime that produces a comfortable lifestyle. However, I work for my income, and customers pay me because they find value in what I do for them.

Is the ministry a vocation, or is it a calling? Lambos and Gulfstreams represent conspicuous wealth or conspicuous consumption. Should someone serious about his ministry really put it in peoples' faces that their donations have funded his mansion, his plane or planes, and his luxury vehicles that cost more than a middle class home? It seems fairly obvious that wealth alters the attitude, takes one out of touch with the rigors of daily living experienced by the common person, and in most cases sets up an aura and attitude of entitlement. I have never been able to understand how one could conduct a Christlike ministry while living such a lifestyle. Especially when the founder and pastor of a large megachurch in our community lives in an apartment, and drives a car that's several years old. The income mostly goes back into the church.

Ministerial lifestyle such as what we witnessed in Armstrongism just screams that something is terribly wrong or out of balance, especially when it is accompanied by such arrogance.


Anonymous said...

He can spend his money for whatever you wants. My question is, "Why would a mature Christian want to spend money on such items?" To paraphrase President Eisenhower in his The chance for Peace address, "Every gun (or Lambogini) made, every warship launched, every rocket fired (or gold candelabra) signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothes . . . This is not a way of life at all . . . " No, it is not a way of life, but it is the way of GET that HWA was so familiar with. Maybe the church need to be asked, "Why do you allow such an immature Christian to lead your church?"

Anonymous said...

Religion is a business for con artists (ministers) to live high off the hog. The church members should withhold all monetary donations to the church and then see how their religious con artist reacts. The gravy train is over. Give your $$$ to a food shelve, Salvation Army, disaster relief. You will not be cursed.

DennisCDiehl said...

I recall, as a 19 year old, watching the construction of the Ambassador Auditorium in 1969. Being so new to the Church I was not fully aware of the 1972 fervor with some just ahead but of course was aware of the "soonish" of Jesus return. My first thought when looking at the pictures on the construction site was that "these folk are NOT really believing any Jesus is returning soon." Dave Pack and Gerald Flurry are sending the same message. They no more believe in the soon coming of Jesus than I do. Dave's Empire for Jesus will crumble and be sold off as a drug rehab center or AI Sex Robot factory in time.

A couple years later I had dinner with HWA in his home and saw, for the first time, the expensive goodies HWA had in the home. The prices received for the entire collection after he died just astounded me and again reminded me that "these folk are not really believing any Jesus is returning soon."

The fact is that too much money always flowed into the Church and what to do with it was the question. It was the kind of problem HWA could only dream of before. Part of the problem is those who give, in some strange way, have been convinced they are giving to God and there are plenty of scriptures to push that agenda on the member. It is of course BS. You always give your money to the man and it is always the man who decides how to use it with a few perks for himself. Soon, the perks rage out of control.

Recently Ken Copeland sold his idea of needing a new Jet as well by saying that commercial flight is just "flying in a tube with demons" or some such nonsense. The sad thing is that are plenty of fools who would get him into his own demon free Gulfstream.

Having spent 20 years in Greenville, SC where the Black Church is alive and well, this "pastors" opulence is rare over all but part of the culture too. I had Black Pastor acquaintances in Greenville who had a gold rings on all ten fingers and dressed to the nines as they say. I can imagine the car. White Pastors would look even more stupid doing that and I never saw it working at the Hospital where they were pretty common roaming the halls. All the mega church types I knew or had as clients were opulent in their lifestyle and looking for ways to spend all the money sent in for God. I did a talk at one where I asked them if they had a plan "B" after they were trying to sell me on their charismatic guy. They asked what that was and I said plan "B" was what happens to the church of 10,000 when the mega guy or wife runs off with the money or someone else. They were horrified. Two years later.....

The most humble and kindest pastor I met ever was a JW pastor and the most intelligent about all things theological and educated was an Episcopal Priest who was an amazingly beautiful woman in her Episcopal blue and white I told her I considered her an Episcopal Priestess. She said liked that! lol.

Long story short, pastors who live the lives of the typical evangelical televangelist are destroying faith and making fools of themselves in the process. But there is a butt for every seat and they will prosper no matter what their ridiculous message as long as the faithful feed them.

Anonymous said...

In this one area, let's give Bwana Bob some credit. As far as I can tell, with just a couple hundred members outside of Africa, most of CCOG's money comes from Bob's personal funds, mostly acquired from his individual hard work as a businessman. Yes, he's a quack businessman peddling lots of bogus cures along with some good ones, but at least it his is own work. That's something Rod Meredith could never say.

Of course, Bob says a lot of other nutty stuff. Apparently with no irony, he asks the absolutely riveting question: Apollinaris of Hieropolis: Did he hold CCOG or RCC doctrines? I think we all know that Apollinaris had no position on whether or not Bob is a prophet, or on Church Eras, or on observing the Feast of Tabernacles by going to resort hotels. But at least Bob works hard at a real job to earn his money, unlike Ron Weinland or James Malm or Gerald Weston.

Anonymous said...

mega churches are all about show anyway...I've never come across one that taught the truth.

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about this. If a ministers personality and hard work encourages people to live a Christian lifestyle, I don't see why he shouldn't be handsomely rewarded for this.

I recall hearing at a WWCG service about a member who was saving to buy a pair of shoes, but decided to give these monies to the work instead. For the minister/s to live in opulence in such a church is immoral.
Herb constantly begging members for funds, while living in a mansion and using silver and gold dinnerware, was hypocrisy.

Rod Meredith followed suit by asking members to send in their "excess wealth," while living like a king. Dave Packman shed all restraint, demanding everything with his common doctrine. These guys should author the book 'How to financially screw your congregations for Dummies.'

Anonymous said...

8:03 am. Yep, that pretty much describes ever major COG group today.

Anonymous said...

Athletes make way too much, and that's part of the problem. Professional sports leagues are pretty much monopolies, which helps explain the problem. The usual rules of competition don't really apply to monopolies. The excessive wealth of sports heroes is used to justify raping the poor.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the comparison to athletes and other celebs. No one tries to convince you that your future depends on your support for the basketball, football or baseball team. Yet you can go get yourself your favorite athlete's jersey; pay to go to a game and indulge in the over-priced concessions at the game. How many of us spent some money in the NFL season just to see your team not even make it to the play-offs? The team still got paid its millions of dollars and life goes on for both you and them. No one forced you to spend money on them: you did it willingly.

When it comes to religion, people are first brainwashed that it is a life and death matter, your continued "blessings" of good health, finances, family etc are dependent on your subscribing to a specific spiritual leader's guidance/teachings as well as supporting them financially. To make it worse, they go ahead and brainwash you that it is not just this present life: but including your future eternity and life-after-death. People sacrifice their time, money and relationships because pastor so-and-so taught it is the only way to eternal life.

Living a lavish life off the backs of people that you have scared into funding you just to secure their present and "future" is just wrong and evil.

Tonto said...

There are few guarantees in life and in all situations. However , here is one of them...

ALWAYS, ALWAYS , ALWAYS, ...where there is money and power,... there is corruption.

Anonymous said...

Talking about the bible and sports team, I believe that HWA had it all wrong on the place of safety and the book of Revelation. After much prayer, fasting and meditation, it has been revealed that Rev 12:13-17 was actually talking about the upcoming playoff games in the NFC.

Rev 12:13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.
- Some translations use the "beast" instead of the dragon who will know is the devil. Other verses (especially OT) use the Ram as a symbol of the devil/serpent.
- The term "woman" often refers to the church ... or a collection of Saints. And the Saints have helped shine a bright spotlight on their male child (QB), Drew Brees such that he is the current NFL MVP for 2018.
- With the Saint's win over the Rams, there was increased pressure (persecution) on Brees to ensure the Saints keep up the 1st seed in the NFC. The Rams formidable season kept him on his toes all throughout.

Rev 12: 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the dragon.
- The Eagles' wild-card win resulted in them being slated to meet the Saints for a New Orleans home game(her place.)
Option 1: The first quarter (time), second and third quarters (times) and half of the 4th quarter will be an easy game for the Cowboys leading everyone to believe the Rams won't make it to championship
Option 2: The first quarter (time), second and third quarters (times) and half of the 4th quarter will be a tough game for the Saints leading to everyone believing they won't meet up with the Rams for the championship.
Option 3: The Saints will score three-and-a-half touchdowns. Or maybe just three-and-a-half Safeties. Or maybe score in each of the first 3.5 quarters

Rev 12:15 So the dragon spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.
- The Rams triumph over the Cowboys in such a show (either last half of 4th quarter showdown, or just a full game obliteration) that everyone will cringe for the sure blood-bath that the championship game is going to be.

Rev 12:16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
- The Saints end up with a spectacular win over the Eagles such that the Rams' win over the Cowboys is drowned out.

Rev 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
- The pissed of Rams go after the Saints in one hell of a game during the NFC Championships.

Unfortunately the original Greek scrolls were so damaged the translators could not figure out how the game ends. You have to watch the game to see it all!!

Anonymous said...

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24

c f ben yochanan

Anonymous said...

12.18 PM
Hmm, I question the appropriateness of making jokes about a book dealing with WW3.

R.L. said...

This whole thing may be an expensive marital moment of repentance, a la Kobe Bryant and his jewelry gift several years ago....


Byker Bob said...

ACOG ministers, in most cases, had their filters modified by Embarrassing College. So, they feel entitled to the luxurious lifestyle provided to them as a result of preaching the Armstrong gospel.

Sometimes, peoples' filters, or the lack thereof, bring great humor into our lives. Back in 1992, while working in a fairly large office, myself and another non-smoker were discussing our displeasure at being captive second-hand smokers. In the course of our discussion, I created a non-smoking sign, with a drawing of a smoldering cigarette in the center of the ever popular red circle and diagonal stripe. The caption I wrote below stated : "If you smoke, I'll fart!" The other non-smoker had no filters, (obviously the mental kind, not the cigarette kind) reproduced the sign on the office copier, and literally littered the walls of the offices with reproductions of it. Apparently the home office in Chicago actually heard about this as they also had about some of the other escapades of my non-filtered colleague. I tried to save his ass by fessing up to being the artiste who created the sign, but his inappropriate publishing of it was what violated their sense of professional decorum.


Anonymous said...

Even if you accept the minister's rationale for buying his wife a Lamborghini, the appearance it gives is bad. You can buy a good new vehicle for far less than $200,000. A Lamborghini is a simply a status symbol. Ministers and their family members are held to a higher standard by default even if they don't want to be held to that standard, and if they don't want to be held to that standard then another line of work is indicated. That standard includes at least the appearance of humility, sensitivity to the fact that folks sometimes sacrifice so they can donate to your church or buy your books and thus provide you with salary or royalties, and a commitment to never doing anything that gives the impression of ostentatious opulence. That doesn't mean that ministers have to be poor. It does mean they should be circumspect in all things.

Anonymous said...

Anon @9:08

Revelation teaches about WW3? You mean where it talks about Gog and Magog? And the blood at the horses bridle?

Watch world events and get up to the times. If we have a WW3, there won't be horses. Modern warfare is fought remotely: stealth fighter jets dropping bombs, drone strikes, intercontinental missiles etc. Nukes will vaporize stuff and there wont be much blood as to reach a "horse's bridle" (some believe horses == tanks).

Anonymous said...

GF's Gulfstream jet is used for PACs. In fact, the recent one in Columbus, Ohio attracted more than 100 people, about 20-30 of which were members.