It is all very well and good to seek out chutzpah in the conduct of government and business; but, at a time when so much of our national discourse seems to be wallowing in Christian values, I have to confess to a certain guilty pleasure in singling out a church for the Chutzpah of the Week award, however early in the week it may be. Anyone who saw the story yesterday morning on Good Morning America knows the church I have in mind. Here is the text summary from the ABC News Web site:
A Florida megachurch has garnered national attention with its annual Christmas pageant. The First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale's production is filled with extensive pyrotechnics, live stock and a bevy of actors.
"We're having to compete against many theatrical things around the country, whether it's MTV or the Rockettes or any show you might see on Broadway," said the Rev. Mike Jefferies of the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale. "We have made a conscious decision to pull out all the stops."
The chutzpah resides not such much in the spirit as in the price tag. The ABC News report had no trouble getting right to the heart of the matter:
Some visitors said they truly enjoy the vast production, but others believe the $1.3 million price tag of the pageant would be better spent on charity.
In other words the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale has made a firm commitment to its position on the War Against the Poor, but it is not fighting on the side that the preaching of Jesus had commanded! On the other hand perhaps this church is the best embodiment of our President's faith-based ideology put into practice. Say "Amen" somebody!