We interrupt our normally-scheduled programming (pun intended) to bring you yet another exhibit from the Christianity Hall of Shame.
From the days of the Apostle Paul until now, there has never been a paucity of preachers adept at utilizing their talents as "a means to financial gain". Joining that distinguished league (actually he has been a member for nearly two decades, but is apparently just now coming out of the closet) is Thomas Wayne ("Kip") McKean..........leader, along with his wife Elena, of the Los Angeles, CA-based City of Angels International Christian Church - and of the entire Sold-Out Discipling Movement, a Bible-based evangelical movement of which the City of Angels Church is a member.
To see the details of Kip's latest real-estate transaction, go here. Church members, don't fret; the $650,000 you have contributed over the years has been put to good use. While you have been living on Ramen Noodles and holding back on taking your children to the dentist in order to make your "Special Missions Contribution".......your "pastor" has just purchased a 2/3-million-dollar "mansion in the sky". Not in Heaven, mind you - but in one of the most upscale predominately-white condominium buildings located in one of the most upscale predominately-white neighborhoods of the metropolitan Los Angeles area (After all, someone needs to minister to all the celebrities who live in that building).
Here is the main website of the condominium building, Azzurra, in which Kip and Elena live.
Here are photos and descriptions of some of the amenities offered to residents of this building.
And here is the floorplan of the McKean's specific 12th-floor condo unit - the so-called Peter Alexander floorplan. (Peter Alexander, in case you're wondering, is one of many renowned artists whose original works decorate the lobbies and halls of the condo building).
If you're wondering what kind of view their condo affords - here you go:
Awww, what a shame! Their view of Marina del Rey's world-renowned boating harbor is partially blocked by another building! Oh, the sacrifices these Men of God endure!
I estimate that the combination of maintenance fees and property taxes alone would be close to $3000 a month.........even if there is no mortgage and property was purchased entirely with cash. That is more than most Southern California homeowners pay for the total mortgage and fees of their residences! And it is certainly incomparably higher than what the overwhelming majority of McKean's parishioners are spending on housing.
Now, I am no longer a religious believer, as I was years ago. I like to think that there is a God of some sort, and that the man Jesus was indeed a unique and enlightened soul.........but at the end of the day, I have no way of proving either of those propositional claims. So I have to settle with simply doing my best to make the world a better place and to love my fellow man. (Even if it's true that, as the fundamentalists like to parrot, a good moral life won't get you into Heaven - I think that I would rather live a "good moral life" and endure the otherworldly consequences than inhabit a Heaven that is populated by the likes of today's evangelical nut-cases).
At the same time.......it doesn't take a Jesus (or a Gandhi or a Mother Theresa) to sense that something doesn't quite add up right about a Christian minister (i.e., Thomas, aka Kip) living in luxury amidst LA's Beautiful People(tm)......in a neighborhood that is the polar opposite of his congregation's lower-to-middle income and predominately Hispanic and black demographic......on the tithes of these very same sacrificial congregants................and all the while claiming to be a sold-out totally-committed disciple of a first-century homeless Palestinian carpenter/prophet who reportedly had "no place to lay his head" at night.