Did you watch the Oscars?
Some people are really into the Oscars. Some of us just see it as a night full of back slapping and “atta boy” giving among a bunch of self-absorbed millionaires. Of course, if you don’t like the Oscars, you can always watch the “Razzies” the night before to see the worst films and actors “honored” for their work.
Most of us don’t have jobs where we get trophies for doing good work. We just get a cost of living wage increase. There’s no awards for best parents, or best mechanics, or whatever. There’s also no real-life Razzie awards for useless people, which I think is a glaring omission of our culture.
But most of the jobs that capture public attention do have their own awards – films, music, games, teachers, books, to name a few. Except there’s one industry that’s been capturing public attention longer than any other, and yet doesn’t give out any awards: the church.
Christians get kind of sweaty about the idea of giving awards to people, since our focus is supposed to be on Jesus. Also, like Crash, a few years ago, a lot of great pastors aren’t well known. Popularity doesn’t equal quality. Plus, Christians have a hard time agreeing on whether a pastor is a great communicator or a total heretic.
But let’s put that aside and just have a little fun. I’ve got a list of a few of my “Best of Ministry” and “Razzie” awards for the last year.
First, the good awards.
Best Ministry Focus
Winner: Rick Warren. Americans are fat. Rick Warren started a new focus with his church this year, encouraging them to take a more “holistic” approach to spirituality, part of which is actually being physically healthy. Warren’s leading the way by taking a stand against fat guys in little pulpits by losing 90 pounds.
Most Shocking Career Change
Winner: Francis Chan. Chan is the pastor of Cornerstone Church, but announced this year, he’s stepping aside to take a greater focus on ministry in India. Mark Driscoll’s head nearly exploded when he was interviewing Chan, because it just doesn’t make sense to a lot of people.
Runner Up: John Piper, who just quit his job for nine months so he could work on “personal” stuff.
Best Old Guy Preacher
Winner: Chuck Swindoll. I try to listen to several older pastors. Sadly, I don’t get a lot of out most of their messages. They seem out of touch, or tired, or something. Chuck Swindoll was actually ridiculed by my preaching professor for his fast and loose style and propensity for including seventeen points in a single message. But I’d rather take a pastor who has seventeen good points then a guy who has three crappy, but perfectly formed points.
Best Young Guy Preacher
Winner: Andy Stanley. I don’t know what kind of pastor Andy is. But he’s a dang good teacher.
Most Successful Publicity Stunt
Winner: Terry Jones. Take any stunt that any mega-church pulled off this year, and it pales in comparison to the attention Terry Jones got just by throwing a little book burning party.
Best Fu Manchu Mustache
But the ministry isn’t just full of great people. It’s also full of charlatans, thieves and criminals. And they need to be honored too. And now for the Razzies.
Weirdest Financial Scandal
Winner: The Schuller Family. Any pastor can steal thousands of dollars from their church. The Schuller saga has just turned weird. The Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy last year, the entire family took 50% pay cuts (half of them don’t even live in the same state as the church), and the family just sold the former home of JonBenet Ramsey’s family for $2.3 million. Any other financial scandal is sure to look boring by comparison.
Most Blatant Cash Grab
Winner: Ed Young Jr. I will admit, I dislike just about everything Ed Young Jr. does. So it was hard for me to pick out the one thing he did last year that I disliked most. But using scripture to pressure your congregation into putting their tithes on “auto-draft” from their bank account because the church’s membership and income is shrinking is pretty unlikable to me.
Worst Pastor of 2010
Winner: Bishop Eddie Long. Yeah…
Pastor I’ve Most Lost Interest In
Winner: Rob Bell. I used to idolize a lot of pastors. I probably fell hardest for Rob Bell. He was a novelty when he first became popular, with his lilting, quasi-emo style, unique pre-YouTube videos, horn rim glasses, and quirky books. Nothing against him as a person, he just has the feeling of a one hit wonder to me, and I’ve moved on.
Okay, chime in with your own awards and Razzies for pastors, churches, books, blogs, cult leaders, heretics, whatever grabbed your attention in the church in the last year. Don’t be afraid to give a shout out to your own pastor, and tell us why he’s great.