Riverside Redux

riverside3A few months ago I bloggedabout the controversy surrounding the new pastor at Riverside Church. The Rev. Brad Braxton had made the front page of the New York Post for commanding a $600,000 compensation package. Generally if a member of the clergy makes the Post, it’s not a good thing. You’ll never see “Holy Moly! Priest Preaches Brilliantly.” Rather it’s the holy trinity of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.

Anyway, it was announced yesterday that Braxton has resigned. To give the NY tabloids equal play, here’s a link to The Daily Newsarticle. It’s a sad day for a proud church, one that has been a leader in liberal Protestantism for generations. Besides being the tallest church building in America (I’ve always thought it looked a bit like Batman), Riverside’s pulpit has held Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, and even Fidel Castro.

The church is clearly at a crossroads, as is liberal Protestantism in general. How to “compete” with evangelical mega-churches? How to get back to its social justice roots? How to be welcoming to people of different faith yet also be uniquely Christian?

Oh, and it turns out the compensation package was only $475,000 rather than the 600G initially reported. Excuse me while I go drool over the severance pay.



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