Meet Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has a mansion, but not a yacht (as far as we know). He likes the nice things God has sent his way, like a gift for preaching and also a 16,000-square-foot home on 19 acres, which is about what God wants, since He's helped Furtick get enough people to donate to his ministry to buy the thing. No clearer message of God's favor than that, now is there?


Furtick -- and we may as well get our biases out in the open here; we keep misreading his name as some kind of combination of "Furtive" and "Fuckstick" -- recently explained to an interviewer from a local TV station that God won't allow him to go into the details of how much the house cost or how much money he rolls around in naked while thanking Sweet Jesus.

You see, it would simply be wrong, according to his deeply held beliefs, for Furtick and his wife Holly to get into all that, because the Bible commands Christians to be humble. That's why this simple mansion-dwelling preacher of the Prosperity Gospel can't reveal how much money he has:

I know that we have to have integrity and we have to be generous, and I know the extent of which that is true for me and Holly. So to go on record and say here’s how much money we’ve given and here’s what we do with our finances, to me, that would be the most arrogant thing I could do and it would rob me of the blessings of what Jesus said, which is that when you give, you don’t get up and tell everyone how much you’ve given.”

Now, sure, some church employees have talked to the media about how much money Elevation Church takes in, but darned if Furtick is going to tell some reporter a lot of details. That would be ungodly, no matter what some of his talkative brethren may have claimed.

So when you give one part of a picture, whether that’s how much one of the staff members, what they make, that’s between them and God. That’s not mine to release, and the same with my family. I wouldn’t do that to my wife and my kids. I wouldn’t do that to one of our staff members.

Mercy no! Never mind that the value of Furtick's mansion and estate has been estimated at something like $16 million; the pastor wants to emphasize he is a humble servant of God, called to harvest whatever he can from the rubes. We mean, called to help others achieve God's will for them. And maybe to accept whatever love offerings his flock might make.

And who are we to judge? It's not like he lives extravagantly -- heck, he's even described the mansion as “not that great of a house,” possibly because with only 16,000 square feet, there's still not enough room to hold NASCAR races indoors or put up several hundred unexpected guests. Not if you want them all to have a monogrammed bathrobe, at least.

The church does at least disclose some financial information. In an online "Annual Report" it states that in 2014, it performed 1089 baptisms plus 6028 "Decisions for Christ." The report indicates the church gave a total of just under $3.8 million "to Outreach," with this nigh-unreadable breakdown of where some of that money went:

It's reassuring to know that a whopping "12% of every dollar Elevation Church receives is given to Outreach." The church took in roughly $33.5 million in donations, and paid out about $9 million in salaries. They're doing OK! Also, they're very high-energy, with about 20,000 people filling the pews each week and lots more watching on the cable TV. And what cut does Furtick take? Sorry, but that would be telling.

[contextly_sidebar id="OPycI96a24kP4ekEVqb0CCELNG2as5lk"]Apart from the big house -- and really, doesn't God want everyone to have a nice place to live? -- Furtick has so far avoided some of the worst excesses of televangelism, like Paul and Jan Crouch's $100,000 motorhome for their dogs, or Creflo Dollar's private jet (even though he couldn't upgrade to the $65 million one he wanted, because demons). Furtick is merely doing God's work and hopes you'll remember him in your prayers, particularly if you pray in checks, Visa, or MasterCard.

[RawStory / WCCB]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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