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This video was posted over at Scotteriology. Aside from being one of the most absurd, incredible, ridiculous things I’ve seen in a long time (and if you want more, check out this video where the pastor is throwing “Spirit bombs” from a “Spirit pool”), what this man is doing makes me irate. His Way Church is headed by Rob de Luca who “operates in a strong apostolic anointing with supernatural signs and wonders.” While his signs and wonders fall far short of Barnum & Bailey’s, the power of group dynamics is a spectacle that is both sickening and fascinating.

Here is a clear, concise example of a church which has completely lost touch with the spirit of Jesus’ message (not to mention reality). Yes, Jesus’ message and the entire Bible are chocked full of radical teachings about poverty and excessive wealth. Economic justice is one of the major prophetic threads that weaves throughout the stories in the Bible. However, let’s reexamine the context in which this pastor is operating. Young, white people seem to make up the largest demographic in the church. Everyone on the video–regardless or age or race–is dressed in somewhat trendy clothing. My superficial evaluation is few of the church members are struggling under the intense economic injustice that I see on a regular basis in my neighborhood. Yet his ignorance is forgivable to me. The apparent hypocrisy is a little harder for me to stomach. I would estimate that there is easily $25-30,ooo worth of equipment for music, sound and lighting behind him. The church doesn’t–thank God–appear to have a massive congregation either, certainly not enough that such an expensive sound-light-music rig could be easily purchased. If you’re going to preach a radical message of economic justice, don’t do it through a sound system that’s worth more than the annual salary of someone living at the poverty line.

However, I want to move beyond mere appearances and the hypocrisy of the church and examine the sewage of theology that’s being spewed here. Gesturing forcefully towards the sheeple of his congregation the pastor chants, “Prosper! Prosper! Become a millionaire! Prosper!” He claims to be casting out demons of poverty.

Even if the Demon of Poverty is exorcised, it will undoubtedly return soon, as the demon who sent it–Greed–is still abundantly present in our society. The real problem I have with this theology is that it absolves any who subscribe to it from any and all responsibility in seeking economic justice. “There is no need for me to change how I live. Their poverty is caused by a demon.” Jesus brought a radical message that got him killed by the political and economic juggernauts of the day. The drivel offered by this power is not only complicit with the regime of empire, it actually furthers their cause.

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

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