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Focus on the Money

©03 The Media Desk

       The Desk got a newsletter yesterday. OK, no big deal, the Desk gets lots of newsletters through surface mail and email. Some deal with sports, a few come from politicians, others cover charity organizations or events, and then there are the religious ones. This was a religious newsletter.
       The figurehead of the outfit is an aging mouthpiece whose radio program has become something of a stereotype for why these groups should change their spokesmodel once in awhile.
       In fact, he was the subject of a piece on the Desk Two Years Ago.

     The TV/Radio preachers have been crying about how their ministries are loosing members and going broke. Some... not all, but most of them anyway, are belly-aching like third graders denied ice cream at dinner unless they eat their turnip greens.

P-ass T-he L-oot Club revisited
       The article goes on to say that accusing your followers of being dirtbags and the worst sinners to ever walk the planet since Mr. Edwards read 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry GOD' to his people almost three hundred years ago.
       Yet the aging and slightly senile figurehead continued on his merry way.

       And now here he is again. They have had to lay people off. Cut back on travel. And whatever 'eliminating contingencies' is.
       Except now there is a tone of urgency to his letter.

       He tells us they have a policy of never borrowing money to operate. And that

I never intend to find myself in the uncomfortable position of coming to our friends with a panicky message, warning that we will close the doors to the ministry if a certain amount of money is not received immediately.
source for direct quote at bottom of article
       He finishes the paragraph by saying he is simply letting us know where they stand.


       So the implication is that unless we all send them our next car payment they will shut the lights off and go home.

       Well. From listening to his radio show, that might be a good thing.

       The flagship of this ministry is a radio show where a smiling co-host attempts with various degrees of success to keep the aging and increasingly unfocused big name figurehead on topic.
       Except now, even moreso than in 2001, his ideas and opinions are increasingly irrelevant and scattered. Which has had the effect of a series of torpedoes directly amidships of the Ministry. It is listing and taking on water and is headed for the Briny Deep.

       Let the Desk back up before we consign this ministry to Davie Jones Locker.

       At one time the Name was one of the sharpest and best-spoken religious minds in the country.
       He was at the forefront of the move to Religious Conservatism. His organization turned into a national powerhouse without becoming a bad joke like the Moral Majority.
       Personally he managed to keep his nose more or less clean while Oral Roberts and Jim Bakker and others went down in the flames of Avarice and Filthy Lucre. Not to mention Lust, Pride, and almost every other one of the Mortal Sins.
       His Ministry expanded to various outreaches and even international efforts.
       Training classes, books, tapes, and other materials carried the message far and wide.


       Was the message the Good News, or was it the words of a man?
       A personality cult built in his shadow instead of in the shadow of the Cross?

       Exactly what was the focus here?

       While the past newsletters the Desk got from them mention God and all, He seems to run second to the begging for money.
       There is always a new book, or tape to buy. And sometimes they have nothing at all to do with the Gospel.

       Some time ago one of the newsletters claimed to be written by the wife of the leader. Except it was nothing more than a commercial for him. Going to great depths extolling his virtue and his overall dedication to everything good in the world. Not only did it get old in a hurry, it got absolutely pathetic once you stepped back and looked at what it was trying to do.

       This ministry has been in serious trouble for a long time. And they knew it.

       No sock puppets here. No fancy slogans (with naught behind them). No bowl games or auto race sponsorship to get the word out.
       All they had was the man behind the radio microphone to count on.
       And his commentary and statements on the show sometimes left you wondering if he was talking in his sleep.

       The time to have passed the torch has long passed. Now it may be too late.
       The letter talks about how they have laid off over thirty employees and the child of another employee has sent in 'her dimes'.
       Aww, that's touching.
       Whether or not it is even true doesn't matter in the least.

       The ministry is all but broke. And they are still wondering why.

       Here's the 'why'.

       Their leader is now completely irrelevant and instead of being on the air every day stammering and wandering as the co-host tries desperately and with the patience of Job the Patriarch to bring him back on topic time and time again, or they run a 'Greatest Hits' show we have all already heard three or four times, he should be on the Recreation Committee at the Old Preacher's Home.

       If there the ministry has nothing else to offer but the figurehead, maybe they should look into simply being a clearinghouse for ministry books and tapes with an online catalog and monthly specials with free shipping.

       The Desk is sorry. But even it cannot listen to the show every day. Now it has a local university's classical music station on its work radio, and only occasionally checks turns it to the ministry's program to see if maybe they have something new to say.
       For all too long... they haven't.


[NOTE: Source for direct quote from newsletter: March 2003 Family News From Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family. Colorado Springs CO.
      The Desk is not affiliated in any way with FOF other than subscribing to their newsletter and occasionally listening to the show. Thank You]

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