A Missouri pastor has apologized after a video clip in which he threw a spiritualized tantrum from the pulpit and called his congregation "broke, busted and disgusted" and "cheap sons and daughters" for not "honoring" him with a watch from the luxury brand Movado went viral.
The pastor, Carlton Funderburke of Church at the Well Kansas City, confirmed in a video posted on the church's social media accounts Tuesday that the clip came from a sermon he delivered to his charismatic non-denominational congregation on Aug. 7.
"I want to take this moment to address the now-viral video clip with me from a sermon given on August 7, 2022. Though there is context behind the content of the clip, no context will suffice to explain the hurt and the anguish caused by my words. I've spoken to those I'm accountable to and have received their correction and instruction," Funderburke said.
In the clip, Funderburke expressed his dissatisfaction with his congregants for failing to deliver on a year-old request for a watch from Movado. According to the company's website, watches from the luxury brand range in price from $300 to more than $3,000.
"That's how I know you're still poor, broke, busted and disgusted because of how you've been honoring me. I'm not worth your McDonald's money? I'm not worth your Red Lobster money? I ain't worth your St. John Knits? Y'all can't afford it no how," Funderburke, who is married with three children, ranted.
"I ain't worth y'all Louis Vuitton? I ain't worth your Prada? I'm not worth your Gucci?" he asked.
"I'm saying this because I want you to understand just what God is saying. I found out that Movado, you can buy a Movado watch in Sam's [Club]. And y'all know I asked for one last year, and here it is the whole way in August I still ain't got it," he continued.
"Y'all ain't saying nothing? Let me kick down the door and talk to my cheap sons and daughters. I don't want to hear no more excuses about what you all can't afford. You can't afford it because you don't see the value here," he said, pointing to the pulpit. "Y'all hear from your pastor and father. I'm over y'all. I over your cheap expressions."
Funderburke's attack on his congregation comes as most Americans struggle financially under the weight of inflation and a higher cost of living.
Nearly two-thirds of American consumers, including some 33% of those earning more than $250,000 annually, live paycheck to paycheck due to inflation, a report from PYMNTS and LendingClub suggests.
Researchers in the study, called "New Reality Check: The Paycheck-To-Paycheck Report," warned that because inflation will likely factor into the foreseeable future, consumers will need to revise their spending patterns.
"Inflation will most likely be part of the economic picture for many months to come, and consumers living paycheck to paycheck of all income brackets will need to review their financial situations and plan their spending accordingly," they said.
It was unclear if Funderburke has since acknowledged the tone-deaf nature of his comments to his congregation, but he said he "privately apologized" to them, and they "have extended their love and support to me."
"I'm privileged to do life with them. The video clip does not reflect my heart or my sentiments towards God's people, yet that's not discernible in the clip. Therefore I offer this sincere apology to you today. No context could erase the words I used. I apologize to all who've been hurt, angered or in any way damaged by my words," he said. "The zeal of any presentation must be tempered with love and respect, and that was not displayed."
He further asked the church and pastors at large to pray for him and forgive his behavior.
"I apologize to the church at large for any undue scrutiny I have subjected you to. I apologize to every preacher and pastor who must stand up under the controversy that I have caused," Funderburke said.
"To those who now know me because of this video clip, I regret that your first impression of me is one of anger, hate and resentment," he added. "My actions and my words are inexcusable. I offer no justification or defense. That moment was mishandled and mismanaged. I deeply regret this moment, and I solicit your prayers and forgiveness as we grow forward."