So what does this have to do with Brian Williams? Well, he's speaking at Marble Collegiate Church on Tuesday -- you can hear his take on the war in Iraq and the Virginia Tech shootings for $20. And that proves the point I've been making to James ever since we set foot in Marble Collegiate: they're a shameless money grubbing bunch.
I remember the sermon we heard by Dr. Arthur Caliandro, here are the words that stood out in my mind: "I was invited to a wedding...rich...Connecticut...who has $10,000?...I know someone here does....anyone have $10,000?....we need a new..." Mind you, I was still seething from having to argue with some "elite" members of the church who were asked to move from their usual Sunday seats to accomodate my friend in a wheelchair. Just before the fundraiser - er, service- began, someone approached my friend and offered her a brochure on the history of the church's stained glass windows. That made waking up at 8am sooo worthwhile.
I've tried to move past my unpleasant experience with the MCC out of respect for my friend, but this ad just brought all of those negative feelings back.
In my new life, one that has removed the public element from my faith, I've ruled out organized religion as a good vehicle for me. So of course I'm bound to compare experiences in other churches to my time with the JWs. And while the JWs have their own issues to work out, I can't call them dishonest or money hungry. The JWs don't pass around collection plates during service (that's what donation boxes are for) they never ask for money from the pulpit (though the virtues of generosity are, of course, lauded) and having seen it time and again in Kingdom Halls and stadiums (during yearly conventions) space is gladly made for the disabled. Mind you, I'll be the first to say that I have my questions and doubts about many of the religious practices I once embraced, but I never doubted the honesty of the people around me.
Not so with the folks I encountered at MMC. Sure, they welcome gays, but everyone knows its bad business to turn away the pink dollar.
If anyone plunks down $20 for Tuesday's gabfest with cutie Brian Williams let me know how it goes.