The timing was impeccable really. I had just finished watching a television segment about the lavish demands of the super rich celebs and entertainers on a current affairs show. It focused on the bizarre and ridiculous demands celebrities make for the honour of having them in your presence.
The story said this in part: “According to Hollywood reporter Blair Late stars get whatever they desire when they’re on tour. ‘Once you hit a certain caliber of celebrity, you’re given everything you want,’ Mr Late said. ‘Each promoter at the venue has to agree with a contract between the artist and the team of the artist of what they require in the dressing room’.”
Here are some of the remarkable demands being made:
-Jon Bon Jovi’s band have once reportedly asked for a personal wardrobe supervisor to look after their leather pants and cowboy hats.
-Motley Crue has asked for a 12-foot-long boa constrictor.
-Marilyn Manson once asked for a bald hooker with no teeth and Eminem demanded a fully stocked Koi pond.
-Beyonce requires 600 Euros worth of titanium straws to drink her water.
-Courtney and Kim Kardasian requested that the journalist, staff and assistants treat them as royalty and refer to them with fake pseudonym names.
-Madonna also makes crazy demands when she goes on tour. She needs a room backstage for her 200 person entourage and 20 international phone lines for them to make calls. She also requests for white and pink roses with their stems cut down to exactly six inches.
-One of the most bizarre tour requests was made by singer Mariah Carey who demanded special bendy straws to sip from her crystal champagne. She also wanted puppies and kittens in a crate in her room backstage.
I was flabbergasted and outraged after seeing that segment. Who in the world do these boneheads think they are? They seem to think they have transcended us mere humans, and live in another exalted solar system. They consider themselves to be gods and goddesses to whom we all must bow.
But back to the impeccable timing bit: Just as soon as I finished watching this story I found a piece elsewhere speaking about other big cheese celebrities – albeit Christian ones. The story told of some of our mega-preachers and tele-evangelists, and what they are charging for people to hear them. Yep, you read that right. Preachers of the gospel are charging people to hear them share the gospel – or at least their anaemic version of it.
These hot dog Christian celebs think they can actually charge people to hear them talk about Jesus and the gospel. Never mind that they are usually proclaiming another Jesus and another gospel. But they have the gall and the arrogance to actually make people pay for the privilege of hearing them.
Just imagine if Jesus or Paul or Peter or John or Luther or Whitefield or Wesley or Finney actually charged people to hear the gospel. Well, today’s hucksters are doing just that. They are an utter disgrace and complete shams. They are living the lifestyles of the rich and famous and are actually getting gullible and undiscerning believers to pay them for this.
Consider just one of these shysters. Would you like to hear Joel Osteen? No probs: you can see him at the North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston SC on Friday, Aug 16, 7:30PM. You can get your tickets through preferred Seating: “Upfront pricing for your convenience. No processing fees. All tickets listed are backed by our 100% Guarantee. Price Range: $45 to $167.”
Maybe you live in Canada. That’s fine – you can see him there as well at Air Canada Centre, Toronto ON on Friday, Sept 6, 7:30PM: “Upfront pricing for your convenience. No processing fees. All tickets listed are backed by our 100% Guarantee. Price Range: $128 to $224.”
Wow, just imagine – for only 224 clams you can get a front row seat to see your favourite rock star, I mean movie star, I mean “preacher”. Who would want a lousy seat out in the boonies for $128? We all want to be in the front row so we can see those shining teeth and slick hairdo.
After all, that is what Christianity is all about today, isn’t it? It is about celebrities. It is about being entertained. It is about going to rock concert-like events for an encounter with a demi-god. Then you can tell all your friends: “Hey, for only $224 I got to be ten feet away from Joel”. You can talk about that for months to come – the highlight of your Christian calendar.
The site where I learned about this said: “Well it’s official; there is now a cover charge to hear the word of God imposed by Joel Osteen. For those that are just so star struck with his watered down message can now pay a fee to look directly up his nose, to the tune of $147.
“After a buddy of mine told me about this ‘Preferred Seating’ charge I had to do a little research to confirm if he was just being sarcastic, but low and behold there is an actual charge to get close to Pastor Joel Osteen. There is no need to talk about how many people are flocking to Houston to hear Osteen’s version of the gospel, but I had no idea that many of these people were paying a cover charge just to get closer to him.”
Speaking of such preachers he says this: “All I have really witnessed is a motivational speaker take the stage and spew out a ton of generic sermons designed to seduce the conference goers in an emotional climax. In the same fashion that Marvin Gaye took the stage in 1973 to perform Let’s Get It On, so too are preachers now engaging in performances worthy of cover charges, but entertainers are worthy their compensation.
“Orators of the Word of God should never demand payment for presenting the scriptures, and definitely not impose a preferred seating charge. Imagine if Jesus Christ had a preferred seating charge, then the Paralytic in Matthew 9 would have simply paid to get to the front of the meeting instead of suffering the spectacle of having to be lowered down from a hole in the roof. If Jesus would have charged $147 dollars (not sure of the currency value during his time on earth) then there would be no one referring to himself as a Christian because there would have been nothing exceptional about Jesus.”
Yes I do recall something about this in the gospels. What about Matthew 10:8? “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” I guess this verse is no longer binding for our rich and famous evangelists and celebrity preachers.
There used to be a major sin in church circles known as simony. You don’t hear much about it nowadays, but we should. The sin of simony has to do with paying money to get spiritual things in general, and the sacraments in particular. The term comes from the actions of Simon Magus whom we read about in Acts 8:9-24.
Simon the Sorcerer wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit from Peter and John. Needless to say, they were not very impressed. Said Peter: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin” (vv. 20-23).
Hmmm, what would Peter say to Osteen and so many other greedy Christian superstars today?
Oh, and I thought that the last line of the report on greedy secular celebs was 100 per cent appropriate for our greedy Christian celebs: “As long as people are willing to give these celebrities these things, they’ll keep asking.”