Archive for September 13th, 2007

Kathy Griffin’s Emmy comments about Jesus

September 13, 2007

I was there. I heard them myself because my son Chris was a nominee for best cinematography for Intervention, and I heard what Kathy said. For those who may not know about this brouhaha, go to the Catholic League article about it and also all the Newsvine comments.

To me it is a great example of values in conflict (see previous post). She said those things to suck up to her friends and power players in Hollywood–just like Spike Lee did earlier in the evening getting into a irrelevant rant about our president. Sucking up. The really funny thing is that Kathy something about all those people coming up and thanking Jesus for their award. I was there–not a single award winner thanked Jesus, one thanked God without referencing Jesus. So, not sure what she heard. Chris, my son and nominee were talking about this after the show. We wondered what the reaction would be if she had said: Allah had nothing to do with me winning this–suck it Allah!” There would have been shock and horror in the audience and it would have been profoundly insulting–not only to Muslims, but also to the audience who believes it is inappropriate to insult the Islamic faith. Not so with Christianity.

The hypocrisy of those who would defend her comments is too obvious to even comment on. The point here is not defending Christianity or the founder of it, but to comment on the huge cultural divide the separates our country. It is sad, disturbing and destructive. Thanks Kathy, for making that divide so painfully obvious. And I hope your new “god” treats you well.


The role of values–and ministry related crises

September 13, 2007

Sitting at SeaTac waiting for another flight–this was never going to be my life. This time to Nashville to speak at a conference of communicators who work for megachurches and large ministry organizations. It’s been interesting to contemplate the specific issues these organizations face when confronted with a reputation crisis.

The issue again is trust and what is needed to keep it and build it. The challenge for Christian organizations is somewhat unique in this culture at this time because of the basic animosity of the mainstream media and cultural elite including higher education toward anything deemed evangelical or conservative.

It comes down to a very basic conflict in values and how that conflict is played out in media coverage. Particularly when the event involves the moral downfall of a celebrity Christian leader. Value conflicts include the perception of a “holier than thou” attitude. Anyone who says, in effect, I’m going to heaven and you’re not is open to such a charge. It comes to a basic misunderstanding of the evangelical concept of grace, but the problem is culturally we equate going to heaven with righteousness or goodness and therefore when someone suggests they are going to heaven and you are not, it is understood as saying: I’m good enough and you are not. That does not sit well. And when such message comes from very high profile individuals whom many flock to, there is a certain glee in the media and in the cultural elite public when such a person demonstrates moral failing.

This basic conflict in values makes responding to a major crisis event involving moral failure also more challenging, because the internal audiences and key stakeholders subscribe to very different values than those outside. But you cannot have two messages. So bringing the basic messages and actions to be taken together in a way that has integrity and recognizes the difference in values is quite a challenge.

It will be fun exploring these ideas with a room full of ministry organization communicators.