The Sunday Morning Message: Words from the Pulpit on Cyber Bullying

By Penrod Schoefield,– July 10, 2011

Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman’s opening remarks began with warning congregants of the dangers of cyber bullying. I wondered if her comments were being directed at the Crystal Cathedral Music Network web site or if her comments were directed at those who have told me they posted comments on Sheila and/or Gretchen’s Facebook page. I ask, “what’s the big deal, Sheila, you delete the negative comments and only keep the positive ones.

What you perceive as negative comments on yours and/or Gretchen’s Facebook pages may only be persons expressing their frustrations with your leadership. I find it difficult to believe anyone is threatening you with bodily harm. Perhaps your remarks were directed at both this web site and those posting comments to your Facebook page.

I’m paraphrasing, but I believe you mentioned how cyber bullying hurts public figures and causes emotional distress, anxiety, suicide and death. In my almost daily contact with other long time members of our church, frequently it is mentioned that you feel that nobody likes you.  Certainly, I can’t speak for other members but as a Christian, without any hesitation, I can reassure you that I like you. I fervently believe that glorious phrase that has become one of the corner stones of our church, “God loves you and so do I.” I interpret the meaning to be, you, Sheila, are my sister in Christ, created by a God who loves you. That mandates that I, your brother in Christ, must by faith love you also. Loving you and respecting you has nothing to do with disagreeing with you. I also believe that many, if not most of those associated with our church also believe as I.

When this web site was conceived, its mission was to preserve the traditional music of the Crystal Cathedral Choir and its revered director Don Neuen, together with the Hazel Wright Organ and the Hour of Power Orchestra. However, when the direction of our church was so drastically  torn away from the Reformed Church in America and shifted toward the worship style of the Pentecostals, this site became drawn into the conflict as a necessary source of information.

Let it be made perfectly clear to you, Sheila, Gretchen, Jim Penner, Jim Coleman, et al. This web site, Crystal Cathedral Music Network, has no intention, nor has it ever had any intention of cyber bullying anyone. However, it is our responsibility to disseminate information relative to the Ministry because those who visit this web site and its registered users expect to be informed. I can remember Dr. Robert H. Schuller say many times when he was in full control of the Ministry, “I want to know who did this and why and I don’t want any cover up.” Were he still in full control of his church, when the story broke about the infamous “Worship Covenant” he would have called people on the carpet and said, “I want to know who, and why, and I don’t want any cover up!” After all, he called Deepa Bharath at the Orange County Register and told her had he known about the “Worship Covenant,” he never would have authorized it!.

So you see, I respectfully submit, that we have in our country a First Amendment right to free speech on this web site to publish what we believe is true and correct. We are diligent in our attempts to verify everything before it is published on this web site. If we get it wrong, we retract it and correct it, usually with “Correction” set in bold type and in red ink. We have no intention of bearing false witness against anyone.

However, Sheila, and others in the current leadership positions, we in membership and Hour of Power viewers feel you are hurting us by taking away from us the Ministry we have been a part of for all these years. We have become members of the Crystal Cathedral because it is a Reformed Church in America denomination. It has operated for years as a traditional church with traditional Anthems sung by a traditional “world renowned” choir with and traditional hymns sung by the congregation under the leadership of our choir. All of that has now been taken away from us and replace with a Pentecostal style worship service that we do not wish to be a part of. Now, when we express our displeasure, we are accused of cyber bullying?

When we express our displeasure because we feel you keep telling us half truths or attempting to convince us that the news media got it all wrong how can you fault us for not believing you. When you or others in leadership dishonor your father, Dr. Robert H. Schuller, by removing him from the Board, and, after the press pounces on the story, we hear from you attempting to manipulate the truth by trying to convince us that he was “elevated to Chairman of the Board, Emeritus.” Do you really think we are that ignorant the we don’t know the meaning of emeritus? The first thing that comes to mind is “Non Voting” status.

In summary, Sheila, let’s just say we don’t have personal issues with you, we have professional issues not only with you, but with your sister, Gretchen, and possibly your husbands and others that are on the Board that we as membership feel do not belong there. Hopefully you won’t take offense for us only wanting to restore our church to the original vision of your father.

In summary, Sheila, please allow me to reiterate. God loves you and so do I. We would all love to see you succeed but we won’t support you as long as you keep leading our church in the wrong direction.

Penrod@pens-opinion.org