Longtime readers of TNKZ know that one of my pet gripes is overhype. And I really, really get cheesed when I see overhype in the name of Jesus, some advertisement for a “Christian” service or “ministry” or book or what-have-you that promises way more than it can ever possibly deliver. The all-time award goes to PromiseKeepers (a generally decent outfit, by the way) for hyping their pastors’ conference, in Phoenix a few years back, with the line, “this conference will forever change what it means to be a pastor in America.” Seriously. That’s actually what they said, and I wrote them and told them that that plugline was a major reason I wouldn’t be in Phoenix.
So every now and again, I “honor” such over-the-top nonsense with what I call a “Hypie” Award. And so today, I award the ministry of one Michael Chitwood with a Hypie. Regularly, I get mailings from Mr. Chitwood (where does he get the money to flood my mailbox with his junk mail?), and they all are similar (well, many of them are the same piece, regurgitated over and over). This one is probably the most nauseating.
It’s come-on is “Pastors, Save Yourselves from a Prison Ministry”, and the point of the whole deal is that this dude Chitwood will be doing a seminar in your area soon, and what he’ll do for you is to show you how to make sure you don’t run afoul of the myriad legislation that Congress has apparently passed just for the purpose of sending pastors to jail if they don’t dot every bureaucratic “I” and cross every ecclesiastical “T”. That’s annoying enough, because it’s written in such a way as to do its dead-level best to get pastors afraid of the government. Now, many of you are aware that I don’t generally trust the government, that’s true. But the idea that is being promoted is that there are 1001 landmines that you probably will trip over and land in prison if you don’t have Michael Chitwood there to save the day for you.
And it’s a bunch of nonsense.
But that doesn’t stop thousands of pastors from gulping this stuff up, apparently, and it keeps Chitwood’s hair nicely coiffed and his suits Armani.
But then there’s the inside of this fine piece of work. It advertises the Church Management Financial Tax and Law Conference as being…(get ready for the overhype!) “The Best Seminar in America”!!! Yep, it’s number one, as determined, I’m certain, by a totally unbiased panel of seminar-raters. This one is the top, the creme de la creme, the zenith, the pinnacle of seminars. You just can’t get any better than sitting around all day with a guy personally blessed by Oral Roberts (hey, it’s right there in the picture—sorry, no 900-foot Jesus to go alongside) getting the bejeebers scared out of you, that you just might get hauled off by the authorities for improperly using “Pastor’s Aid” (whatever that is). You might learn how church chicken dinners are illegal (seriously, that’s what it says), how ministers must be “ordained by the IRS and God” (that’s a new one!), how the IRS is out to get us (but, but, but…if the IRS ordains me, why will it then be out to get me? I’m so confused…).
Yeah… and so for all of this, the good folks from Michael Chitwood’s place get the latest Hypie. Enjoy.