The Greatest Publicity Job on Earth

I work with people every day who are hired to herald the arrival of a new product, campaign, author or artist. They’re called publicists, and their sole
professional purpose is to stir up media hype surrounding whatever it is they’re pushing.

The good ones do this by establishing authentic relationship with media gatekeepers who, in turn, can trust the publicists to not pester them with projects outside of their audience’s interest. The bad ones aren’t just annoying, they’re often laughable with their misguided requests. Recently a publicist actually pitched me on writing an article—inCharisma, mind you—about how to help senior adults select “adult toys.” This clueless publicist figured that since our readers were within her target audience, her request was reasonable. (Sadly, she wasn’t joking.)

That’s low, but after watching some publicists at a recent political debate, I now know these hired guns can stoop lower. Amid the media frenzy succeeding this event were dozens of publicists who would follow the every move of “personalities” and hold name cards directly above the heads of these VIPs who apparently needed to be recognized. It didn’t matter if you were a politician, CEO or wannabe celebrity blogger, wherever you went these publicists were willing to look foolish for the sake of everyone knowing your name. read more

Why This Isn’t Politics As Usual

Recently two well-known charismatic leaders contacted me to voice their concerns about the sudden increase in attacks against charismatic Christian
leaders—especially Peter Wagner and the New Apostolic Reformation. How timely, then, that I had already planned to publish Wagner’s response in this issue and examine the new role that Pentecostals and charismatics are playing on the national scene.

What’s being attacked isn’t new. Conservative, Bible-believing Christians have long believed we should put righteous people in government and other positions of influence. Preachers have thundered against sin from the pulpit and called people to repentance. Yet mostly we do that within the church’s four walls, out of range from hearing the cultural elites who increasingly don’t want any restraints on their favorite sin. 

These attacks are part of an effort to intimidate using a spirit of fear—and sadly most of the time it works. This happened to Sally Kern, the Baptist pastor’s wife who as an Oklahoma legislator was concerned about how some gay activists were targeting Christian candidates. She sounded the alarm and was viciously attacked in ways so extreme we can’t even repeat some of them here—just because she voiced biblical principles. If you want to read more, buy her book, The Stoning of Sally Kern—if you can find a copy, that is. Most secular stores won’t even stock it, and sadly many Christian stores won’t either because they don’t want to stir up problems. (You can still order it online or buy the Kindle version.)  read more

What Happened to Holiness?

Zachery Tims’ story had a great beginning. As a young man he met Jesus and was saved from a life of crime and drugs. He and his wife, Riva, moved from Baltimore to Orlando in 1996 to launch a church that aimed to pull teens out of trouble. New Destiny Christian Center grew fast, and Tims was soon a regular on Christian television.

But things unraveled in 2009 when the young preacher was caught in an affair with a stripper he met in France. He admitted to an “indiscretion” and got counseling, but he didn’t take serious time off for rehabilitation. Riva divorced him for his infidelity. 

The story did not end well. On Aug. 12, Tims was found dead—at age 42—in a New York City hotel room. His four children lost their dad, and his church lost their beloved leader. But while Tims’ family and friends face enormous grief, I’m also grieving over the fact that the body of Christ has yet another embarrassing religious scandal to explain. read more

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