Monday, October 25, 2010

About the Crystal Cathedral Bankruptcy

He who is wedded to the spirit of the age is soon a widower.

The wisdom of this saying is illustrated all too well in the bankruptcy of the Crystal Cathedral.

The Crystal Cathedral was founded in the 1950’s by Robert Schuller, Sr. Schuller was one of the more prominent “positive thinking” preachers popular in the Fifties and Sixties. Heck, I remember watching his Hour of Power as a kid. I did not do that voluntarily, although I admit I liked his goofy smile. So my Mom must have liked him.

And I remember being urged by various people to positive thinking. I was not the most positive kid in the world.

Well, although “positive thinking” was perhaps a precursor to Prosperity Theology, it became passé as many cultural fads do (although it certainly took a while). Then the recession hit the cathedral's income hard in 2009.

I suspect lower contributions were only a symptom of Crystal Cathedral’s problem. Positive thinking preaching became even more discredited as the economy weakened more and more. Positive thinking at least seems to work better during strong economic times, and the Fifties and most of the Sixties were that. Not so much now.

The church must not ignore the culture. She should always seek to address the culture and relate to it. But she should not buy into the culture and especially not wed herself to an aspect of the culture. The Crystal Cathedral did just that and eventually became bankrupt in more ways than one.

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