UPDATE, AUG. 17, 9:46 A.M.: So, I follow this link to a post about Pastor Greg Laurie also having said during the three-day Harvest Crusade in Anaheim that Howard Stern needs to find Jesus (and apparently not so the King of All Media can ask the King of Kings what he's packing).
More interesting was the video that accompanied the item.
It begins with still images depicting a packed Angels Stadium. One text card superimposed over a photo reads, "Attendance: 115,000."
Fair enough. But pretty soon the moving images kick in. Look over the shoulders of the faithful emotionally embracing, raising hands to heaven and singing along to the spiritual soundtrack. As the camera pans the stadium to capture these touching moments, good God, there are A LOT of empty seats.
Now, it was a three-day event that lasted for hours and hours each day. This could have been the off-day of the trio, or early in the program when most folks were still fighting freeway traffic (without taking a certain name in vain, of course), or maybe most of the crowd choose the sing-a-longs for potty breaks.
Or, perhaps the creative accounting critics have accused Laurie's church of practicing since the 1970s extends beyond the receipt books. See if you can see something I can't below. After all, you know who does work in mysterious ways. Just ask Jackie the Joke Man.
ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 15, 10:32 A.M.: Screw Al-Qaeda, greedy Wall St. types and Washington, D.C., politicians.
Actually, don't screw them because casual, consensual sex is what really threatens America.
For Pastor Greg Laurie told me so Saturday night at his Harvest Crusade in Anaheim's Angel Stadium.
"Think of what kind of a world we would live in today if this was not committed, think of how many divorces would have been avoided, think of how many families would still be together, think of how many children would still have a daddy to come home to, and in some cases a mom," said Laurie (via the Christian Post), who leads the Harvest Church, a born-again Christian mega-church in Riverside.
He reportedly continued, "I am not speaking from an ivory tower. I was conceived out of wedlock. My mom, married and divorced seven times with lots of boyfriends in between, had a little fling down a long beach and I was conceived. I was not planned. I was, what you call, an illegitimate child. But I was planned ... by God, as is every child."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Actually, Laurie added there are no illegitimate children, but there can be illegitimate parents. He said he was lucky he was not aborted, and he went on to make the usual Bible-thumping pitches against abortion, teen pregnancy, the spread of AIDS and that oldie but goody, adultery.
The chrome-domed pastor also sprinkled in some pop-culture references to let the crowd know he was hip to Hollywood gossip. He noted that despite being drop-dead gorgeous, that Halle Berry has suffered problem relationships and that Amy Winehouse suffered drug problems before recently dropping dead.
However, for the preacher's example of someone who had been on top, remained unhappy and wound up taking his own life, he choose someone many followers in his age bracket had never heard of: Bradley E. Delp, the band Boston's lead vocalist who committed suicide in March 2007. The note Delp left behind stated he was "so lonely."
"If you drink from the well of success and possessions, you will thirst again," Laurie told the crowd. "If you drink from the well of partying and sex and drugs, you will thirst again. If you drink even from the well of religion, you will still be thirsty. Only God can meet the deepest need of your life. That's what you are longing for."