Sunday, February 11, 2007

A chat with pastor Mac

CS: Would you state your full name for the record? Sorry. You're Reverend Mac Hammond, right?

MH: That's right, although I'm not an ordained minister.

CS: What? You don't have a divinity degree?

MH: Nope. I have an English degree and I took some Dale Carnegie courses. A pastor can be a lay person; it just means shepherd or spiritual leader.

CS: This is sort of hard to believe.

MH: Why? You're a journalist, and you're just a dog.

CS: Point taken. To whom do you attribute your success in the, er, ministry?

MH: Dale Carnegie—and God, of course.

CS: Of course. You preach something called the "prosperity gospel"?

MH: Our creed is that following God's word will lead not only to spiritual salvation but also earthly wealth. I think it's important that I not be embarrassed about the increase the Lord does bring me. One of the things I think has kept Christianity from being as effective as it could be is the idea that the clergy has to be poor. The Bible doesn't say that.

CS: Well, did the Lord bring the "increase" to you, or did you go out and take it for yourself?

MH: I don't follow you.

CS: The control of your church is solely under the control of yourself, your wife, and a small coterie of other "prosperity gospel" pastors, right?

MH: What's your point?

CS: Okay. Let's talk about something different. You believe that if you follow "God's word" it will lead to earthly riches as well as spiritual salvation?

MH: Absolutely!

CS: Are all the parishioners at LWCC wealthy?

MH: No, of course not.

CS: Well then, what's the matter with them? What part of "God's word" aren't they following? Perhaps all the ones who aren't rich are homosexuals.

MH: Wait a minute! Hold on! I never said that. They're just not rich yet.

CS: Is that what you tell them? That they're just not rich—like you—yet?

MH: Not in so many words. I do give them hope, though. I give them hope for their money. Seems fair to me.

CS: You do have a lot of apparently satisfied customers.

MH: Darn tootin'!

CS: Didn't Jesus say that a man cannot serve God and money?

MH: Yes He did. But I don't serve money; money serves me! See the difference?

CS: Um hum. What's your take on smaller churches?

MH: I do think it's the will of God that every church grow. It really hurts my heart to see the kind of mentality that pervades much of the body of Christ right now, which is small church, friendly environment, know everybody, and they become little religious bless-me clubs.

CS: So you want to be a religious Wal-Mart?

MH: Yup. The benefits should be obvious, even to you.

CS: This has been a very illuminating few minutes.

MH: Thank you.

CS: Just one more question. What do you think of Elmer Gantry?

MH: Terrible underachiever.

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