Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lifestyles of the Rich and Thomas

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 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) 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.


Jeff Fisher said...

Thanks for sharing... were you once part of the movement?

Anonymous said...

Well, glad I am no longer part of that religious cult. While I am not against people making and enjoying a very nice life style, this Kip probably needs to repent! Such a die-hard disciple should certainly lead by example! Sad sad sad...He was a cocky s-o-b if I do say so and quite frankly, all the "leadership" showed incredible self-righteousness and ego. This is almost always the case with high-power religious leaders, eventually they become greater sinners in that they now can preach with rather callous hearts.

Cade Bryant said...

@Jeff - yes, shamefully, I was once a part of that movement.

Jen said...

Cade, you know he has a rich relative somewhere!

He also recently asked his congregation to raise their giving and he raised his to 15% and told them he was "all-in". I'm sure his salary also increased to cover his contribution and maybe a bit more to help with that mortgage.

May I link your article over on and


ck said...

You really still pay this much attention to this stuff?

Cade Bryant said...

Yes Jen, you can link it to your site.

Don said...

Thanks for posting this.

About 25 years ago, I attended a Church of Christ which was influenced by Crossroads and the Boston folk. I was in school at the time, and as I'd guess you understand, my involvement made what should have been a time of intellectual adventure less enriching than it should have been. I was in wonderful institutions, on scholarship as an undergrad, and on a training grant as a grad student, but instead of embracing my studies and university life, I was tired and stressed a majority of the time.
Ultimately, the process helped me discover what Christianity should be, strange though that may sound.
Hope you'll keep an open heart and mind, and try not to be ashamed (paraphrasing you) of what I assume was a sincere search for religious truth. I know for me, although the COC churches I was attended had beliefs I ultimately couldn't embrace, they embodied a sincere attempt to live out God's wishes in most of the membership.
Something we all can strive for, using the intellects and hearts God has given us.

Anonymous said...






Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I knew Kip McKean way back in 1974when he was in college. I was part of the "movement" for over 17 years. I was a high-powered
"women's counselor" and my husband was an"evangelist"during those years..We finally left in 1993. We were 40 years old..It was difficult to rebuild our lives, but we did it. I feel ashamed of all I did while I was a part of that cult and I often pray for God's forgiveness..Now I am involved in non-profit ventures. I am poor, but I conscience is clear...
Kip, my old Crossroads friend, may God have mercy on you..

Anonymous said...

I don't see problems in Kip Mckean.
His residence is not as sumptuous as well.

Anonymous said...

Didnt Kip leave the Oregon church with $100K to create his sold out disciples? I remember when his church group leaders would hound people for their 10% weekly contribution. If you didnt have it you were given the guilt trip. I feel for those that are in his church struggling and contributing what's left on their cost of living. It's not cheap to live anymore.

Anonymous said...

I left the church 13 yrs this valentine's day and am grateful I did. I was once bitter and no longer am as I am totally happy with my life. Unlike you Cade, I never lost my faith in God and Jesus...after years of different choices, some good some bad, I have found the true church in which I never thought I'd even belong or find, with unpaid clergy. NO ONE should ever get paid to serve the Lord. Anyway, I think it's ridiculous that many ppl don't see that their "contributions" are going to these minister's pockets..and to ask for 15%? God only asks for 10%...and ppl can't see that? That is what's sad..don't blame Kip blame the ppl..Kip will get his with God :)

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Anonymous said...

I was part of this craziness for 3 years-It was total mind control and the guilt trip they gave you was terrible. If you were not part of the fold you felt like a lepper. What got me was on they day I was baptized the first meanigfull thing they asked was how much am I going to contribute? I've had a bad taste in my mouth since them and they got about 10k from me out of guilt. I now belong to a CHURCH where they never ask how much but ask how am I

Anonymous said...

I would never trust Kip McKean or any of the leaders in the current ICC that stood on stage every Sunday proclaiming how great he was. Nor would I trust the leaders that are with him now. He is all about the MONEYYYYYY.

Jeffrey Fisher said...

Not to be more than a bit facetious, 650k for a condo in that area is actually a pretty good deal! I would of expected him to pay much more! I wonder if he had a 25 year loan, and if his mortgage payment wasn't less than what most rentals in that area go for?

Anonymous said...

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no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.

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-Do you disagree that a preacher should recipe e their living from preaching?

Cole said...

So what if he has a $650,000 condo haters. I am a member of the ICC and love my church. Also there are pasters out there that have 10 million dollar houses.650,000 is modest for property in Los Angeles. Have you seen pasters of LA.

Matthew McFarland said...

Hey Cole, that's cool. Have you seen Joel Epsteins house, I'm sorry palace? Maybe Kip's condo isn't big enough. Do you know if it is paved with gold? If not, we should probably look into that. Should we all take an offering and mail it into him? Sometimes laughter is the best medicine when trying to take cult leaders seriously... How sad it must be to be Kip McKean, seriously.

Anonymous said...

Kip is a big sinner, unless he repented, he will never be inherited the Kingdom of Heaven. That speaks to many of us, including myself. REPENT.

Unknown said...

To my recollection you were part of the local church before we joined ICOC. After ICOC disfellowshipped Kip McKean, did you go and join Kip's ICC? I'd be surprised if you did.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Comparing ourselves or others to worse people to make them look better is a poor defense. If and when you burn out, I hope you will not also throw out your faith in God, as I've heard others do. Kip does not equal God, and God exists apart from Kip. The Pharisees added many so called "helping rules" to God's law and excpetions as well, such as corban. Really examine the Bible and see if the ICC practices line up with the Bible. We don't need a paradigm to clarify the Bible for us. The Bible stands on its own. Look at the explicit scriptures describing the New Testament Church and see how closely or not they line up with ICC practices on how people ought to be treated. Scripture always comes first and church practice is always subservient and subject to the scriptures.In the end, don't throw out God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. They are good and deserving of our trust.