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Instagram account exposing pastors' expensive footwear sparks controversy
A new Instagram account which reveals the cost of pastors' and church leaders' footwear has attracted more than 100,000 followers on Instagram in just three weeks.
PreachersNSneakers pairs pictures of posts shared by pastors of themselves online with a screenshot of the price of the footwear they're wearing in the picture.
A 29-year-old Christian man called Tyler decided to create the account after looking for a song by Elevation Worship and noticing the lead singer was wearing a pair of Yeezy 750s trainers, which are sold for around $800 (£611).
This pushed him to find other popular pastors and youth group leaders he knew and was already following on Instagram, in photos wearing designer items.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Tyler - who isn't revealing his surname - said he intended the account to be "open to interpretation".
"I'm a Christian and [have] been for a long time and feel really strongly about the leaders of the Church and how high of a calling they have," he said.
"I started questioning myself, 'what is ok as far as optics...as far as pastors wearing hype or designer clothing?' I don't have an answer."
He added that he thinks it's important for believers to "have a discussion about what is appropriate".
It seems pastors have also noticed the new account, including Chad Veach, a lead pastor of the Zoe Church in Los Angeles who was featured.
Defending the post he appeared in that exposed his Gucci trousers and backpack cost $2,795 (£2,137) in total, Veach said: "You wanna know what's crazy? I legit did not pay for one thing I'm wearing."
He also thanked Tyler for "the shout out" and added, "you're a blessing."
However, some of the account's followers haven't been impressed by the revelations.
After Veach commented, an Instagram user responded: "Wanna know what's crazy? Feeling the need to defend your outrageously priced outfit while being an ambassador of Christ."
The pastor has since deleted his comment and changed his Instagram handle.
Tyler insisted that he doesn't "have a big theological agenda," and never intended it to be "a bash account" against trendy pastors.
"I don't want people to show up and fuel their argument to not want to be a part of their church or their Christian faith because of these [pastors]," he said.
"I'm still figuring out how to make that balance but I think it's a fair question to ask the people leading their faiths."
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