Looking through Parade Magazine on Sunday I saw this little question and answer:
Q I’m curious about what happened between Crystal Cathedral founder Rev. Robert H. Schuller and his son Robert A. Schuller. The younger Schuller no longer appears on the church’s Hour of Power Sunday telecast. Do he and his father still speak?—P.K. Sharpe, Tampa, Fla.
Apparently not. The family rift that caused the famed 83-year-old televangelist to remove his 55-year-old son last fall, about two and a half years after naming him as his successor as senior pastor of the California megachurch, seems deep and bitter. Leadership has passed to Robert H.’s daughter, the Rev. Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman. Interestingly, the telecast is now led by one of several ministers, including Rev. Coleman and her father.
Now I’ve never been a fan of the whole mentality behind the Crystal Cathedral, but I nonetheless find it horrific that a father and son would end up no longer talking to each other over their differing views on whatever they think that fellowship should be doing. Is doctrine that important? Management style? Something else?
I know of nothing more powerful to destroy close friendships than religion or love of money. I’m always amazed how even families who profess God’s name can be torn apart over an issue of church management and end up distant and bitter. I feel bad for the Schuller’s and pray God will work a better reconciliation in their family and the wider body.
But it is an old story to be sure, but unless we put relationships of love ahead of every other consideration, even where we think we’ve been wronged by others, the body of Christ will continue to leave a wake of damaged and broken relationships in the world. A close brother and I got separated years ago. It remains one of the biggest regrets of my life, not just that the friendship ended, but that people weren’t willing to fight for the relationship against all enemies!
I’m sure glad God thought nothing more important than relationships of affection with his children and fought for it even putting his own life on the line. At the end of the day, that’s what has to come first with us too. The world has had enough division between brothers and sisters. It doesn’t need one more broken relationship.
I realize that isn’t always our choice, and despite our best efforts and our most passionate pleas, it only takes one person given to selfish ambition or vain conceit to throw away a friendship. Friendships are just too precious to toss away any one of them, so as much as it lies within me I’ll always fight for a friendship above anything else. I just that sometimes I realize I end up fighting alone.