323, 324 & 325

this is a big story story in the states right now. church leaders being asked to hand over their accounts so the government and people can see where the millions in donations go. of particular interest to me is the behaviour of kenneth copeland ministries, as they have offices a mile from me and i know at least two people who work for it. now, who knows (i don’t) whether kcm will be found in breech of u.s. law?… in a way that’s of far less interest to me than the facts as they are already known. regardless of the law-of-the-land, is rev.copeland behaving in a way that suggests he’s a humble and good man of god? what do you think? here are some cartoons.
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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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31 Responses to 323, 324 & 325

  1. patrick says:

    we’re practically neighbors if you’re close to kcm. i will say this: the implications in these cartoons are not out of order.

  2. Pastor M says:

    Well, obviously, you don’t understand the needs of ministries of these magnitudes! These “men of god” (intentional small “g”) have such worthy personal kingdom objectives that take a certain amount of funding/fleecing to realize them, or something such as that. Let’s join the prayer of the ancient church: “Lord, have mercy.”

  3. Well……

    I have big reservations about using gifted money in this way but people just keep on giving…
    the blind keep leading the blind.

    “Put your hand on the screen and experience god”

    I put my hand on the screen and all I got was a hand print in the dust….
    had to clean my TV….
    cleanliness is next to godliness, I guess :(

    P.S. I worked @ kcm briefly and the people down there are quite lovely. never met Ken though.

    ;]

  4. Sarah says:

    Wheat and tares I suppose.

    We have to try and live good lives ourselves, and set the example in our own life.

    Sas x

  5. Chris says:

    For some reason I always assumed you were based in the UK. No idea where I got that from…

  6. jon is in the UK. just down the road from kcm also in the UK.
    thats why Ken needs the plane it’s a long commute to the other office.

    ;]

  7. jonbirch says:

    i am, chris. there’s a kcm centre in my home town uk. :-)

    yeh khs… the people i know who work there are lovely. :-)

  8. thevikingfru says:

    Oh, these guys make my blood boil. You hit a real hot button I think.;-)

  9. jonbirch says:

    you know, what i don’t get is how the people i know who work there have lifestyles a million miles away (or several million dollars away) from the way the copelands appear to live. it’s like a self-serving ministry it appears to me. in those scenarios isn’t it the poor who end up with less? 21 cars i think he has. maybe these guys see themselves as like old testament kings or something…

  10. Chris F says:

    “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice”

    I don’t know the motives of KC. I sometimes dip into the God Channel and am appalled and embarrassed. These people seem so full of themselves – and yet…

    … and yet it seems that many are blessed, find faith for the first time, throught their ministry. And I am sorry and disappointed to say, rather few are saved because of me. KC and his kind make me feel like I may be missing the point, that if only I too could have faith like that, I too would be loads more effective.

    I think that because a ministry appears to be blessed I assume that it must be “right”. But the opposite is clearly not true – when my ministry gets blasted out of the water, it does not mean that it was “wrong”. Another quote from scripture:

    “Who can straighten what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other”

    If God can use KC despite the failings I think I can see – so be it. But I still wish he could come to work on a bike…

  11. JF says:

    The ‘conversions’ achieved by people like this and, in my mind, many other ‘evangelists’ (including but not limited to Dick Saunders / Billy Graham -type things) are of the calibre of Derren Brown making people think that red is blue. Suggestion, professionally done is hugely powerful and the human mind’s desire for there to be “more to life” is equal to it. Together, they are very dangerous.

  12. Robb says:

    I guess it depends on how you define having a ‘blessed’ ‘ministry’. If the sole focus is on the point of conversion and cramming people into the rafters in one particular building then I guess some mega churches and the prosperity gospel have been blessed.

    personally I prefer to think of “the church” rather than “this church”. When we are looking at the growth of “the kingdom” we need a little more than “conversion ministry”.

    I think of the mega church not a million miles away from here. There is a dedicated relocation tead who will help you “catch sight of the ministry here at X and move to become part of it”. They use a real example of someone who moved from Australasia to join a UK based church. People have the ‘conversion moment’ all around the county in other churches but somehow make the leap into the BIG congregation a 30 mile drive away. Why? ‘Safety in numbers’, ‘you can see the ministry that is going on here’, ‘look at how big the buildings are’ and ‘if you give us money you will be rich (it says so in the bible)’.

    Effectively they rip the heart out of the christian communities in the surrounding area by taking anyone who is willing/able to do something and placing them into a congregation where they are never going to have the opportunity to do it – because there’s always someone better at it than them (disempowerment through empowerment?). It also taps off much of the financial giving into one giant Armani suited, mercedese driving, jet flying pot. Small communities can die out.

    The appearance? “God is really working in that place” [small scale]. The reality? The church and christian communities are having their hearts ripped out and dying as there gifted are sucked out of their community and off to become one of the herd.

    “We don’t pass a plate here like they do in those other churches. They have no vision for the ammount of giving that the people of God are prepared to do. They are just trying to keep the heating going and repair the roof. We pass buckets because we know that God is calling you to give abundantly. God is calling you to fill these buckets with the vision of X” – real quote.

    PS, I’m trying to be objective.

  13. Robb says:

    Oh, I forgot…

    Love the faceof the ‘evangelist’. He is class!!

  14. Chris F says:

    I’m with Robb on this – so many seem to drive some distance to attend “supermarket” churches in town/city. There’s a place for this type of church, and I attended one when a student many years ago and was thereby grounded in the faith, and I am grateful.

    But I left in my 20′s to attend small local church and have done so ever since. Supermarkets give you lower cost and more choice and fancier packaging…

    …But what if more people could catch the vision of what God might do in local churches if we actually turned up and gave him the chance? If we believed that he might just give the gifts we need for the ministry to these people in this place at this time and under these circumstances. I’m sick of Christian sheep in latter years of life constantly bleating “more teaching, more teaching” and seeking it at big central churches. We learn only by doing it, being it, together – and being in a smaller group that HAS to have a go to survive let alone grow is surely giving God the opportunity to do something radical.

  15. Ros says:

    Shows how messed up our priorities are! :(

  16. jhieaxon moch says:

    this is nothing new. check out this video by CBC Canada.
    http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/media/miracles.wmv

    they might’ve given hope to thousands, but they’ve crushed millions of hope in the process.

  17. jonbirch says:

    well that was an upsetting video. worth a watch if this is new to you and confirms your thoughts if you already have a view on the issues raised.

    hi chris. i’m not sure christ is preached… and i think it matters because of how people are exploited. i know people always will be exploited, but religious exploiters have even been protected by law… they haven’t had to disclose their expenditure to all those who give, like any other business would until now. people with life threatening illnesses who have faith should not have to negotiate this sort of thing. it seems cruel beyond belief… which is why i really think it does matter.
    i wouldn’t want to lump everyone into the same basket. there are those who seem to operate with transparency… the psychology of large crowds and their expectations though is absolutely fascinating. i attended one of those toronto things once, out of politeness… i found it easy to see waves of things happening and people building themselves up… like a football crowd watching an invisible game where all they had were highlights and a commentary from the platform.
    jf’s warning is valid. peoples desires and a professionally done gig is indeed a very powerful combination… and can be very dangerous indeed. it can ruin peoples lives forever.

  18. Chris F says:

    I agree it matters – Paul was pretty definite about those exploiting the Christians of his day, wishing they would castrate themselves, etc. What didn’t seem to matter to him was when other preachers were motivated by the desire to do him down somehow – which I guess is different to this situation.

  19. Chris F says:

    I’ve just watched the video – words fail me to express my outrage and horror

  20. jonbirch says:

    yeh, it’s shocking isn’t it? even though you know this is what goes on it’s still horrible to watch it.

  21. Carole says:

    I’ve never seen the God channel and this is really the first time I have seen anything of this nature. I am shocked and appalled that anyone should be able to exploit vulnerable people in this way and do it in the name of God.

  22. Carole says:

    Does he have to do a Risk assessment on the potential pitfalls of sending people toppling like dominoes in crowded auditoriums?

  23. Robb says:

    I was asked about Sky TV today by a good friend who said “My husband could watch sport and I suppose I could watch the God chanel. I’ve never seen it, what’s it like”. I said “remember the conversation five minustes ago about “Warehouse X” and the services you went to there?”. She said “Oh I won’t bother then”.

    Interestingly I once applied for a job at “GOD”. I’m older and wiser now.

  24. jonbirch says:

    yes carole, it is staggeringly casual, the way he just lets people go flying everwhere. i can only imagine health and safety know nothing of this behaviour. :-)

    you escaped by the skin of your teeth robb. :-)

  25. Robb says:

    But I could have been an agent of change…. or I was young and could have become assymilated into the collective…resistance is futile.

  26. Tom C says:

    While I share most of the views of people here, some of these preachers make me very uncomfortable. I wonder about the value of pointing fingers and judging others ministires. Is our time and energy better spent looking at ourselves than pointing and saying “thank God I’m not like him?”

  27. jonbirch says:

    fair point. i do think we should identify that which is desructive though. this is no minor world view… it is a growing part of the church in america, great britain, africa etc. we need to be aware of it, we need to be able to counter it and i think it is constructive to formulate our own views on subjects and people like this. if these people were only damaging themselves i’d be tempted to say leave them to it, but sadly they are far more destructive than that… they ruin lives, destroy families and communities and swap faith for lies. therefore i stand by the cartoons and am at ease with the comments. i say this aware of my many faults and failings, and i will do cartoons on these also. :-)

  28. Tom C says:

    fair enough Jon. I do agree that it is important to to be aware and to comment on these things. I also feel that it is vital to be very careful in doing so that we don’t become judgemental. I have to say that for the most part you do a very good job of treading a fine line with wisdom and humility. Were it not for your self-effacing humilty and obvious consciousness of your own ‘faults and failings’ I would be far less comfortable with your work. As it is I say keep it up and I will continue to read and enjoy your work.

  29. jonbirch says:

    cheers tom. :-)

  30. Arno says:

    it’s pure materialism, and that’s it. Never seen Mother Theresa asking donations for a plane or car: and I consider her ministries ‘bigger’ than those TV-preachers.

  31. jonbirch says:

    couldn’t agree more, arno. :-)

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