Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rick Warren's Front Man: Saddleback Is Exactly Like A Seinfeld Episode!


There's something amiss when a publicist defends a noted minister's actions in the Op Ed section of a major newspaper. Especially when the minister is Rick Warren and the publicist is - his own, A. Larry Ross:

While experiencing banner ministry impact, including monthly food assistance to 2,000 local families, the Southern California mega-church had been essentially on budget for the first half of its fiscal year, until this past week. But despite 10 overflow Christmas Eve services, the seasonal offering benefiting many of the church's benevolence outreaches was down significantly; and the timing of Christmas on Friday affected attendance and giving on the final weekend of the year.

This piece, btw, was titled Rick Warren: Soup Nazi or soup, grazie? Ross does a barely creditable job at tying Rick Warren to a Seinfeld character:

This past week, Rick Warren, renowned pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., faced a similar dilemma of having to turn away people in the community in need of assistance - not because of any capricious regimen, but due to limited resources at the close of the last decade.

I hope Rachel Maddow covers this in her inimitable style:

So Rick Warren - the great pastor who delivers august sermons at inaugurations - was surprised. At a downturn in donations. During a time of severe economic recession. And he uses a publicist who doesn't know an adjective from a noun ("benevolence outreaches"). The same publicist who, two weeks after Warren's "noteworthy" speech to Muslim-Americans on July 4th, sends a misspelled, ungrammatical and error-ridden transcript. And to only one - rather obscure - Muslim-American website.

From the website of A. Larry Ross Communications:

A. Larry Ross Communications (ALRC) is a full-service media and public relations agency founded in 1994 to “restore faith in media,” provide “value-added P.R. that defines values” and give Christian messages relevance and meaning in mainstream media.

More from the Op Ed in the WashingtonPost:
Warren challenged the congregation to help offset a $900,000 shortfall from the final week offerings that help fund year-end benevolence ministry prior to the start of 2010, which would allow Saddleback to continue to minister and meet the needs of not just Orange County, but Southern California, the nation - and the world, through the PEACE Plan.
Today Orange County, tomorrow the WORLD!! Uh, gee, I didn't know $900,000 could stretch that far! I didn't know Warren's ministries were that GLOBAL! That STUPENDOUS! But, ah, if they're that global, $900k seems like a drop on the proverbial ministry bucket.
From The Orange County Register

The church does not make its financial information public, so it’s impossible to tell just how big of a hole in the boat this $900,000 represents. A spokeswoman for Warren said the church does not release detail on its finances, so it’s hard to put the shortfall in context. (Suffice to say it may not represent a terribly significant portion of Saddleback’s annual budget, and that his personal appeal may well close the hole, and then some.)

So, transparency is not in Saddleback's financial lexicon. Only Ross' ill-treatment of buzz-words. And fuzzy math. Also vagaries. Oops, almost forgot an important word: hyperbole. Which comes before another word in the dictionary: hypocrisy (our personal favorite, although Ross doesn't use it very much).

Well, enough of channeling Rachel. Suffice it to say that there are actually those who believe Ross' press releases/op-eds.

Holy Minestrone!

We're doomed.