Crystal Seasons and Silver Linings

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                March 13, 2012

I freely confess upfront that I’ve always been suspicious and uneasy with “church on TV.” I was raised, grew up in, and have pastored in situations that have conveyed and believed in the importance of the local church. My vision, therefore, has been tinted by my experience.

Most of us in the calling of “pastor” have looked with an eye of concern about the mega-churches, and yet longed to pastor one. We have had a bit of disdain towards huge ministries, and yet lusted over their Sunday morning slickness.

Just being honest! To put it in a different context, it’s similar to dreaming of playing for the Colorado Rockies, but being on the roster of a team in the local “50 and Over” league.

So the recent plight of the Crystal Cathedral has given me pause to reflect, repent, and be grieved. Robert Schuller’s magnificent building, built in 1961 at a cost of $3 million dollars, has been the scene of architectural beauty and excellent TV “churching.” In recent times, however, it has fallen on tough financial times and in February was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese for $57.5 million dollars. The Crystal Cathedral congregation has three years to find a new meeting place. In the mean times, however, there is the lingering pathway of debris that keeps flowing out of the situation. Hurt feelings, financial woes,  a divided congregation over issues like “traditional music, choirs, and worship service order” has further splintered the church.

It is at this point that many of the sharpest critics of the Crystal Cathedral, “The Hour of Power” telecast, and Robert Schuller, start or more boldly point their wagging finger. There is a strong smell of glee that is in the air.

For me there is more sadness, because I know how so many people were ministered to by “The Hour of Power” when, perhaps, they weren’t able to attend worship at their local church. The elderly who went through times of illness and being home-bound could turn on the TV on Sunday morning and see Schuller’s smiling face and hear his encouraging words.

In our fast-paced world it conveys to us the quickness of change. Fifty years may seem like a long time, but it is simply a few moments in the span of time. How easily movements come and go! How fickle are the interests and passions of our culture! As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

What “our season” is should point to the One who created the seasons! Recently when I watched the snow piling up against our house I thought to myself, “Thank God the snow will not make a permanent “lean-to” against our home!” It had come, but it would also go. Brief and delightful, is you were a child wanting to build a snow fort; gone and forgotten as the ability to go for a walk in short sleeves arrives.

“The Hour of Power” inspired and ministered to many people. There should be no joy in its disappearance.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Faith, The Church, Uncategorized


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2 Comments on “Crystal Seasons and Silver Linings”

  1. Laura Patterson Says:

    I am sad that they are having problems. I am a very regular church attender and believe you should be a part of a local church. However, when my oldest was born 3 months early and very suspetable to germs, I was house bound and unable to attend church. I watched Hour of Power very faithfully during that time. I wish them well and hope that God will heal the divisions in that church.

  2. Lauren Says:

    Well said, Bill. I’m in total agreement. Who are we to judge how others experience and connect with the Church at large?

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