For nearly two years now, an Instagram account called “PreachersNSneakers” has been showcasing images of pastors in their cool sneakers along with an image of what those sneakers cost.
Ironic, given that a pair of sandals only costs a few bucks…
The account has since expanded its scope, detailing pastors’ expensive accessories and clothes. Until this point, however, the person behind the account has remained anonymous.
But now that the author has a book coming out discussing the prosperity gospel and general issues revolving around faith and greed — primarily aimed at the Christian youth group crowd — he’s revealing his name and motivations.
The Washington Post‘s Sarah Pulliam Bailey has the story of Ben Kirby, the man behind @PreachersNSneakers.
Kirby, 31, who grew up in a Christian home schooling family in Ruston, La., holds a degree in marketing management and an MBA. He attends a nondenominational church and considers himself an evangelical, he said, “not as in, ‘Trump is the chosen one,’ but I believe in sharing my faith.”
… He remembers feeling confused when he saw his “Pastor Charles” driving a royal blue Harley Davidson cruiser, worth more than one year of his parent’s tithes. That’s when, he said, he realized that there was a “somewhat fuzzy line” between successful ministry and booming business.
Kirby says he’s calling for “transparency and accountability” more than he’s telling pastors what they should or shouldn’t wear. That’s a fair argument to make. But for all the attention paid to the pastors, maybe the bigger questions should be reserved for the people who belong to their churches. Why do they put up with leaders who flaunt their wealth while preaching about a Jesus who did nothing of the sort? Why do they donate money to these institutions that often refuse to tell even their own members what salaries the leaders earn? What does it say about evangelical Christianity that pastors who act like wannabe-Kardashians continue getting exposure and (mostly) positive press?
A sample chapter of the book, available on Kirby’s website, talks about this in theory, but it doesn’t appear that he spends much time criticizing the Christians who have fallen for the scam. If he’s not encouraging them to leave churches run by these kinds of people, why even bother calling this out at all?
(Thanks to Terry for the link)