Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ben Braxton Buyout or Social Just-us

Ben Braxton, best known as a passionate seeker of social justice and New Testament exegete. (His work on Philemon and Philippians is phenomenal, btw.) He's recently been called to serve at New York City's historic Riverside Church.

So why the grim face?

Well, it's not his garish outfit. (Though it should be...Emory has a knock-out PhD gown and I have no idea why he wears that magenta monster when he could be true blue, but I digress.)

No, I don't think it's his massive wardrobe wack-job. It's probably the economy. Times like this, people need to cut back and remember the little guy. It may be because he's so upset at the corporate executive compensation fueled by Wall Street Bail-out money. Something like this:
  • $250,000 in salary.
  • $11,500 monthly housing allowance ($138K/yr).
  • Private school tuition for their children.
  • A full-time maid.
  • "Entertainment," travel and professional development allowances.
  • Pension and life insurance benefits.
  • An equity allowance for the future purchase of a home.
Yeah...he'd probably cry about the injustice of a $600,000 package like that...if it weren't him that's getting it.

Many of his parishioners agree that - in light of the former pastor, the eminent preacher Dr. James Forbes - only had around $300K in compensation (and that was after nearly two decades of service). They were so upset that they took their case all the way up to the Manhattan Supreme Court! (Somewhere the irony of William Sloane Coffin preaching more on protest procedures than on Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 6 is dripping off the wall.) The Wall Street-like package, the dissidents say, is outrageous for a man of the cloth - especially when you consider Riverside's long history of advocating social justice.

Did I mention he's also hired on a new associate of his choosing with another $300K in salary & compensation?

It looks like some of the parishioners are catching on to this con-scheme's true nature, more properly termed "social just-us."

Monday, April 20, 2009