Monday, October 27, 2008

Need money? Call 1-800-GOD-CASH

I flipped on the TV last night when I got home from work, and my first thought was, "Who's that weaselly-looking guy who blinks his eyes a lot?" Then I figured out it was one of those TV superpreachers. This guy's name is Joel Osteen. You might remember his wife, who got into a lawsuit over a scrape with an airline stewardess a while back. Question: Why does anybody in their right mind send money to a TV preacher? Isn't there a church or charity in your own town that could put that money to good use? I knew a lady who lived outside Claysville and left her farm to Oral Roberts. We've seen in the last year or so what a good job that outfit was doing with its donors' hard-earned cash. But I digress. Preacher Osteen (I'd call him Reverend, but I don't think he's ever really had any religious training to speak of) was talking to his flock about getting their finances in order. He suggested they need to work really hard to pay down their credit card debt. Duh. But he said they don't have to do it alone. Direct quote: "When God sees you making that effort, he will step in, and his blessing will overtake you." So I guess if you start putting a little more in that check to Visa each month, the Lord will start kicking some extra cash your way. I'm a little confused. Every time I ask someone why their God would allow the suffering in Darfur or cancer in little children or some such thing, I am usually told that while God created the Earth and everything on it, he's not a micro-manager who oversees every detail of our daily lives. Unless we need some cash, apparently. But, hey, who am I to question? It's clearly worked for Preacher Osteen, who bought the old Houston Rockets arena and turned it into a 16,000-seat church. And I understand he lives in a million-dollar home and rakes in huge amounts of cash through book sales. So you can't say God hasn't shown him the money.



Blogger Roger said...

Where do we start with Osteen? I believe him to be a fraud. I know you are more concerned with his methodology with regard to finances. I agree with your assessment. However, I am more offended by his message.

You are right about no theological training. His answers in the public media (e.g. Larry King) are downright distressing. He appears to not know the Bible, what the Bible teaches, and is not interested in following biblical doctrines. He is a great entertainer, great charisma, and is able to successfully pull the wool over many eyes. I don't know if he managed to make himself a huge marketing machine, or if he has handlers who have manipulated him into this role.

Obviously, he has appealed to a wide audience. His stated intentions are exactly this goal. But, it is at the compromise of the truths of Scripture.

This movement is all part of a feel-good religion that has an appeal to the 2008 audiences. I know there are some who frequent this board, and the OR forums, that deny, or choose to ignore, the spiritual side of mankind. From other posts, everybody should know that I feel otherwise, and strongly. Osteen's appeal is to the spiritual side of man, with a non-biblical message. His message sounds good to the vulnerable ones who refuse to search the Bible to see if what Osteen says is true. He tells them "what their itching ears want to hear." By sprinkling a few Bible verses into this messages, he is able to lead the ignorant down a wrong path.

This is a clear case of an eloquent speaker, a man with great charisma, and a person with enough of a message to touch a chord leading the vulnerable and blinded. Where have we seen this before? And, where to do we see it now?

The Bible clearly speaks of these kinds of folks. They have always been around, and will be until the end of time. It is no surprise to some of us to see these kind promoting their thinly veiled ideas. True, it is very disturbing to see the way money flows his direction, but it is even more distressing to see him misleading people.

I know some will read this and be offended. Joel Osteen has followers all over through his TV shows. To those, I would simply ask them to compare Osteen's doctrines against orthodox biblical Christianity.

October 27, 2008 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Thanks for your perspective, Roger. From my rather uneducated view on the matter, it seems that Osteen is nothing more than a frontman for this huge conglomerate. And you're right about Osteen and others selling a brand of no-fault religion, perhaps because a lot of people are turned off if a preacher suggests that they should live by a strict code of behavior (i.e., the Bible). I understand that Osteen has made a big deal of not taking a salary from the church, but I wonder how many millions he makes pimping books on the church Web site.

October 28, 2008 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Osteen is a fraud and nothing else. He preys on desperate people hopelessly searching for something to believe in. Reminds me of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. Using God to cheat people out of money is pretty damn low.

October 30, 2008 at 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go into any bookstore and you will see Olsteen's books on the shelves marked "Religion." What a joke. Self-help would be more like it. This is scary because there are many people out their seriously looking and searching for good and intelligent writings about Christianity and religion and this is what they will find...... Watch his show sometime and count how many times an add for his book comes across the bottom of the screen. Scary. Just Scary.

October 31, 2008 at 11:37 PM  
Blogger Coal Miners Wife said...

Brant I dont know if you go to church but Christians believe in tithing, giving back to God for what he has given to us, people are blessed in many ways when they tithe. Tithing is just a small price to pay for Jesus died on the cross for us. Imagine that God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Like I said tithing is such a small price to pay. God Bless You

November 3, 2008 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Actually, I'm fairly well-versed in the Bible, but I'm an atheist. My wife, however, is a Christian educator, and I'm very proud of her work. Thank you for your input. It's always welcome. But I'm sure as heck not going to give 10 percent of my money to Osteen. I'd rather give to Persad and the Animal Rescue League.

November 3, 2008 at 3:02 PM  

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