Could have done this as an update to my last post but there is enough here for a post.
1. Joel Osteen was on 60 Minutes last night. I watched this and felt he came off as a really good guy, he even got his cry on half way through. I came away with the impression that Joel likes money, fame, and Jesus, just not sure if those things are always compatible. His church brings in an annual 73 million dollars a year. His mom, wife, brother, and a whole bunch of other family members are pastors at the church. Maybe I need to research my genealogy and see if me and Joel have some type of relation. I am getting ready to be done with seminary and will need a job (please see sarcasm here). You can read Justin Taylor’s post for more information and comments on Joel Osteen’s 60 Minutes segment.
2.And in case you did not get your “best life now” from Joel’s first book or your fill of seven step plans your in luck. Joel’s new book dropped today.
Now you can become a better you. Which seems a bit weird, because if his first book worked and you had your best life now, why do you need to become a better you? (once again please understand that blogs are supposed to be irreverent and fun) Now if you do not have time to find out the seven steps to a better you, you can read an excellent review by the king of Christian book reviewers Tim Challies.
The point of me spending my time writing this, and hopefully you reading this, is that Joel is becoming an incredible force on the landscape of Christianity. When you are on 60 Minutes and your books go to number 1# on the New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists, you are impacting the culture, and all Christians should stop and consider why and how. Why is this distortion of Christianity being embraced by a culture such as ours? I think much of it has to do with consumerism; people wanting a god that functions like a genie and religious goods that taste sweet, but there is more there.
I am an addict of sports talk radio and listen to Colin Cowherd all the time on ESPN Radio. Imagine my shock as I was driving to school this morning and Colin Cowherd is talking about watching Joel Osteen on 60 Minutes. His point was that any Bible scholar taking shots at Osteen’s “cotton candy” theology was dumb. Because to him what matters is that Osteen is “getting people in the tent” and giving a “nice uplifting positive message.” He admitted that even though he is not a “religious guy” he has on occasion stopped the channel on Osteen and listened for a few moments. To him it came down to what people like, and that ESPN gives people what they like and so should church. Well giving people what they want works for fashion, sporting events, and movie choices but not when it comes to God. In fact it just highlights that many of us miss the big “E” on the eye chart, that Christianity is about what God wants, not just us. Cowherd, who has the fastest growing Sports talk radio show and reaches millions of young men is another example of how Joel Osteen is quickly becoming the face of Christianity.
The great news of the gospel is grace, and for some reason many are not getting the message. We can teach people a passage all day, and tell them what they need to do and not do, but until we give them a savior that is more robust than a big bank account and a fancy car, then what hope do they have? Once again the answer is Jesus, Christ crucified, tomb empty, wrath removed, Kingdom creating Jesus.