FREDERICK, MD - A quorum of church members at Ridgewood Church voted 56 - 3 in favor of formally reprimanding teaching pastor Stewart Coles for reckless and irresponsible spending upon the discovery that he splurged on an as-is 1998 Toyota Corolla he spotted on Craigslist.
Reporters were able to catch up to one of Ridgewood's deacons Wednesday at a local golf resort as he got out of his Cadillac. "We're not saying it's necessarily a sin for a pastor to make money, but it's definitely unwise to flaunt your wealth like that," the deacon said as he took a few practice swings with his new Callaways. "We openly call upon Pastor Coles to repent of his lavish, prodigal lifestyle."
According to the church's disclosed financial information, Coles pulls in a cool $42,000.00 per year plus a lucrative $500.00 continuing education fund. Congregation members began to question his opulent lifestyle in early April as he was spotted eating at Denny's with his wife for their fourth wedding anniversary, but the scandal didn't fully break until he was seen rolling up in the gaudy $1,500.00 vehicle, complete with sunroof, cassette deck, FM radio, air conditioning, and a full three out of four automatic windows functioning properly.
"It's just sick," the deacon went on. "I know we're not supposed to muzzle the ox, but an ox that's riding in a whip like that is way too well-off. Unbelievers will see him rolling on those fourteens and immediately assume Christians are all about the money, giving all of us a bad name and killing our collective witness. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a tee time with the mayor."
As part of the official referendum, Coles must donate the Corolla to charity and get something more appropriate for the ten-mile commute he makes seven days a week, such as a reliable, modest Schwinn or Huffy.