The bright spotlight of the journalistic world shone on George Adams recently, when he starred in the lead anecdote for a Time magazine cover piece that asked, "Does God Want You To Be Rich?"
The story said -- or at least strongly implied -- that Adams moved from Ohio to attend Joel Osteen's success-NOW!! Lakewood mega-church. Adams, a car salesman, says that's not quite so; he also disputes some other stuff in the article. But he holds fast to his religious beliefs, which include a healthy "You betcha" to Time's cover question.
Hair Balls: The article implies you came to Houston specifically to be closer to Lakewood. Is that correct?
Adams: No, I never told them that. No, I did not come here to go to that church...[W]e came down here because the economy in Ohio is incredibly bad. And Lakewood Church was definitely a plus because we've been watching Joel Osteen for the last three years. And so yeah, we're very excited to be able to go to his church. It takes me about 45 or 50 minutes to get to church. It's not like I moved real close to be able to go to that church.
HB: The article quotes you as saying, "It's a new day God has given me! I'm on my way to a six-figure income!"
Adams: That was terrible. That was never a quote. What I did say was God does want to give us a six-figure income, and I will stand on that, because I know God wants us out of, according to the Bible, the dunghill that we sometimes put ourselves into or allow ourselves to be in.
(Adams also disputes Time's description of how he "marched into Gullo Ford" and "demanded to know what the dealership's top salesman made." Says Adams: "I didn't march in anywhere and I never said I did and I definitely never demanded anything." A Time spokesperson says the magazine stands by its reporting.) HB: The article says that a God who loves you doesn't want you to be broke. What are your thoughts on that?
Adams: Well, that's a very true statement there. There's nowhere in the Bible where it says Jesus was a poor man. He was given the three most expensive commodities of that day by three wise men, which was gold, frankincense and myrrh.
HB: It seemed that the writer of the article was poking fun at Joel Osteen...The author makes a note of Osteen's crocodile shoes. Did that offend you?
Adams: Oh, I thought the crocodile shoes was very offensive...We can go into a bookstore and see magazines galore of filthy nature, filthy scenarios, where people are making much money, such as Stephen King's demonic stories, and that's okay in our culture today. But when we have a man that puts out a book on how to keep family together...when a man is doing this then we're gonna poke fun about the fact that God is actually blessing him with what He said He would bless him with in the Bible, and that is wealth and riches. When we look in the Bible, the people who were most faithful followers of the Lord were very wealthy people.
HB: Would Jesus spend millions of dollars refurbishing an NBA arena?
Adams: As a place of gathering, yes, I believe he would absolutely do that. You know, Jesus' ministry was short-lived, and justly so, and it was determined that way. Osteen's ministry is not short-lived, it is long-term.
HB: Would Mother Theresa have better served God if she drove a Hummer?
Adams: Not necessarily. A lot of times, that path is chosen by the person and that is the life that she chose to live, to serve God in that fashion. And that's a wonderful thing. There's nothing wrong with that either.
HB: Does God hate single mothers who are struggling to get by?
Adams: No, no, I definitely wouldn't say that, but [what] I will say is Jesus went to the poor first in his ministry to show them that they did not have to live that way. And a lot of our trouble comes from the fact that we're a disobedient society under the Lord and a lot of our poverty comes from that disobedience, no doubt about that.
Save Our E-Mail List
Despite her high-profile photo op (See Hair Balls, September 21), socialite Carolyn Farb is not the only person fighting to save the River Oaks Theatre. There are thousands out there who've signed up for the battle. Unfortunately, they can't be recruited.
Supporters of the theater circulated petitions when rumors of impending doom first began circulating, and they gathered 23,000 names. Names of people eager to help, names that came with each individual signer's e-mail address.
So marshalling the forces is as easy as pushing "send" to launch a mass e-mail blast, right? Wrong.
"We can't contact any of them," says Sarah Gish of Save Our Landmarks. "They've got their e-mail address on there, but the petition makers didn't put a little clause on there saying 'You may be contacted for other things.' And they feel really strongly that we shouldn't contact them."
Whoa. That must suck.
"I cannot tell you how frustrating it is as a PR person," Gish cries. "It's like, 'Oh my God, there's 23,000 people with their contact information and I can't contact them!"
Gish is urging anyone who signed the petition -- or anyone else who wants to save the River Oaks and Alabama theaters -- to visit the group's website, www.saveourlandmarks.com.
"Save Our Landmarks," of course, can be shortened to "SOL," which doesn't seem the most optimistic of names.
"I know," Gish says. "But we'll either Save Our Landmarks or we'll be Shit Out of Luck."
Mobile Homeless Shelters
The Reverend G. Todd Williams, of Montrose's New Covenant Christian Church, has been a leading advocate for the rights of the homeless.
He fought against the city's new hygiene ordinances for public libraries, including organizing a "stink-in." (The underwhelming attendance of which led him to learn yet again it can be difficult to put the words "organize" and "homeless" together.)
His fight against the library lost for now, Williams has come up with other ways to keep the homeless out of the extreme heat or cold that Houston can offer.
He's been giving Metro tokens to the less-sheltered among us. For one token, a permanent-address-challenged Houstonian can legally ride a bus for seven hours; two tokens get a full-day pass on the light rail.
"I tell them, 'Just get on the bus and ride it. You can sleep on it. Just don't cause any problems, and pay attention to what the driver says,' " Williams says.
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Which can be just terrific for fellow passengers. One Metro rider tells us she's noticed more begging on the bus. "You're sitting there with a half-hour ride to go and the guy in the next seat reeeeeealy wants $1," she says. "You can give it to him and have him shut up or you can not give it to him and have him follow you home."
Metro spokeswoman Raequel Roberts says the agency's police department hasn't noted any increase in complaints "about unkempt people on board." And with the wide range of users -- say, construction workers boarding after an August shift -- Metro can't be as picky as the library can.
"You have to be civil on board," Roberts says. "If you cause a ruckus you can be escorted off or whatever, but if you get on and your hair's dirty, we don't really have much that we can do."
-- As told to Richard Connelly