|City harvest and Pink Dot - A Tale of two Crossovers|
"However, he told the congregation that he maintains his integrity" [Pastor Kong] said. (Today Online)
"The people currently in the news are our pastors and trusted staff and leaders who have always put God and CHC first. As a church we stand with them and I believe fully in their integrity. Pastor Kong is still our Senior Pastor. …." [Pastor Aries, CHC Website]
The Pinkdot 2012 lighted up the skyline of Singapore with 15,000 gays and their supporters. The Gay community is coming out of the closet, crossing over the river of shame, whilst the church in Singapore who has bashed up gays as cardinal sinners is going into the closet, a crossover into the secular darkness. This is most profoundly reflected in the City Harvest web site which no longer shows their leadership structure hence it was not evident that Pastor Kong still remained their Senior Pastor.
The gay community is coming out of shame and rejection. They are crossing over to the promised land of freedom. What does Christianity offers them in view of the harm caused to many lives by people of faith! Would Jesus have attended the Pink Dot wearing an “expensive” pink tunic? I guess He would have but it would be the brightest of pink lights and the best of fashion for Jesus Himself would glow. He would do one better – to ask for forgiveness from the gay community for the grave damages by the church.
And yes, there was media bias for not reporting that the 15,000 gays attending the Pinkdot 2012 were clearly guilty of violating the law under statutes 377A, but they were guilty being innately who they were born as – their same sex sexual orientation. Yet, Pastor Kong although charged is not convicted and hence still innocent (unlike gays) and could preach to his 33,000 flock (twice the size of Pink Dot). But the church now could no longer insist on the 2 years jail for the 15,000 attendees when their house of cards is falling down revealing their own skeletons.
The media bias continued with Strait Times giving two full page to
explain the City Harvest "Crossover" theology and for Sun Ho going from
Pastor to Geisha whilst for the PinkDot only a small article written in
the back pages. Yet such scrunity and positive word for the church is
often a precursor to shocking negative news as happened before City Harvest
was under investigation in 2010.
The media bias continued with Strait Times giving two full page to explain the City Harvest "Crossover" theology and for Sun Ho going from Pastor to Geisha whilst for the PinkDot only a small article written in the back pages. Yet such scrunity and positive word for the church is often a precursor to shocking negative news as happened before City Harvest was under investigation in 2010.
Gays were condemned by the church for being themselves, for being how God created them. In contrast, the Pastor Kong saga is created by an attempt to be someone we are not – for Pastor Sun to cross over to Hollywood. It was not natural, it needed resources and sacrifices for good singing alone would not be enough being Asian in an “Ang Moh” (“White race”) Hollywood. Millions were needed to buy airtime and for marketing an unknown.
The pink light glowing in the darkness is contrasted to the darkness engulfing the church in the next three months. There is a Crossover to the unknown. The scene is set, the arrest of Pastor Kong and 4 core leaders for financial irregularities as a charity. The firm response of “not guilty” from the CHC sets the firewall for battle. Yet, the stern and despairing countenance of Pastor Kong Hee as he left the courthouse conveyed a sense of inevitability. There was no photo shop editing necessary as the news media reported the news “as is” with no inherent bias except perhaps the Chinese tabloids.
The issue of the vague boundaries between the marketplace and the church (as a charity) has been brewing since 2005 when Pastor Kong became a Business man but still remained as Senior Pastor of CHC. City Harvest together with the other mega churches, the Anglicans and the Assembly of God was pushing a Cultural Mandate - Christ in Culture - salt and light dominating the power structures of marketplace where prosperity was seen as a light to God’s blessings. Surely there is a conflict of interest between being a charity and a mega business.
Did Pastor Kong put “God” and “City Harvest” first as the members sacrificed for the building fund whilst he bought good cars, upgraded his humble abode several times to the most prestigious of Sentosa Cove whilst his wife had stayed in a mansion in Hollywood priced for royalty. Who paid the bills for the attempted “Cross over” into Hollywood? There would be nothing wrong if it was all from the legitimate businesses with no church connections.
There is nothing wrong with the Cross over to Hollywood, but a conversation with a taxi driver best summed up a public sentiment where Sun Ho’s outlandish dressing as a religious leader, and the family having a very high end lifestyle is an indictment. If they had stayed in a 3 room HDB flat, with an old Japanese second hand car, and dressed like a monk and a nun, there would be fewer jibes. But this is the “Modern Pastor”!.
For those who throw stones at the Prosperity Theology, you can’t do much ministry without money if all your occupation is staying afloat or worrying about your next meal. Where “money not enough” you cannot travel, stay in good hotels, bless others, and spend time praying. One cannot do much without money.
As Pastor Kong has insisted in the Church Service that he is not a cheat and did not steal, I guess we will have to take his assurance for it. Many of my friends would have no choice but to stay because they would have too much to lose. Imagine being in the church for 10 years or 120 months, giving $10K to the building fund, and SGD 36,000 to tithes (120 months x SGD300/month), a total of SGD50K. The gentle lambs are fat and juicy to eat whole.
It's time for the Church in Singapore to have Jesus at its centre for pastors will fail us, churches will fail us, yet Jesus remains the same - yesterday, today and tommorow. In all things, let us forgive others for Christ has forgiven us.