Rev. Bob Howard commented in the previous post:
The celebration of King’s holiday in January, near his birthday, may obscure the whole point of his living and dying, unless savvy people continue his efforts and explicitly link their actions to his.
This comment really rings true to me. I think we see the same thing happen with the ministry of Jesus. It is much easier for a government to manage a population that sees these men as standing for being nice to each other rather than standing up for justice. (It reminds me of Rev. Miller’s preaching on the difference between charity, wherein the powerful retain power, and justice, wherein the powerful surrender power.)
CNN is running a story that details another movement in opposition to King’s vision. That is the prosperity gospel movement. The idea is that God rewards the righteous. I really find this idea offensive. It is hard for me to consider it seriously, but I also acknowledge the tremendous traction it has.
At first this movement seems less dangerous than the anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-science versions of fundamentalism. I think from the perspective of the United States, it probably is. But, as for the health of the faith, I’m not so sure. Here’s what the folks at CNN had to say:
Prosperity ministers preach that God rewards the faithful with wealth and spiritual power. Prosperity pastors such as Bishop T.D. Jakes have become the most popular preachers in the black church. They’ve also become brands. They’ve built megachurches and business empires with the prosperity message.
Black prophetic pastors rarely fill the pews like other pastors, though, because their message is so inflammatory, says Henry Wheeler, a church historian. Prophetic pastors like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, often enrage people because they proclaim God’s judgment on nations, he says.
“It’s dangerous to be prophetic,” said Wheeler, who is also president of the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.