Wednesday, January 25, 2012


"I don't ever feel guilty because it comes from  - it's God's blessing on my life.  And for me to apologize for  God's - how God has blessed you, it's almost an insult to our god."

This, from Joel Osteen, the king of what he calls, "The Prosperity Gospel," where wealth and power are God's rewards for pious Christians.

Osteen preaches this message from his mega church in Houston, Texas.  The Lakewood Church is a 16,800 seat arena (formerly the Compaq Center) that was once the home of the Houston Rockets and served as a sports arena for the 29 years prior to the Lakewood Church's residency there.

God wants you to have hots dogs. 
What is the prosperity gospel and why is it becoming so popular?

Here's the short version.  The prosperity gospel is a new interpretation of the bible that believes that wealth and success are in accordance with God's laws.  Mankind has a contract with God that, if followed, results in the fulfillment of god's promise to us.  Believers are encouraged to make "positive confessions" that vocalize the things they want from god.  In return, they agree to honor God's laws, share your wealth with others and live a good life.

Sounds good, right?  A lot of people think so.  There's a reason Joel Osteen's church is in a former sport's arena.  People go to his mega church and come out feeling good about themselves.  They feel positive about their place in the world.  What's wrong with that?

It's getting brimstone all up in here!
Well, critics of the prosperity gospel say this new interpretation does not emphasize the proliferation of sin and its effects on the spiritual salvation of mankind.  Scripture isn't cited enough.  The's not enough fire and brimstone.  Fingers aren't pointed at people.  There is a general lack of humility.

That about covers it.
Joel Osteen claims to be an evangelical, but his colleagues believe he is twisting scripture.  Even in interviews, Osteen steers away from talking about sin and sidesteps most evangelical hot buttons like abortion, homosexuality and contraception.  He knows what works for him and he's not about to change.

He is kind of the anti-preacher.  He doesn't want you to feel bad.  He doesn't ask for money.  He wants you to be successful.  My catholic guilt just can't understand this.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with winding people up with lots and positivity and sending them on their way.  I don't subscribe to his religious beliefs, but hey, the man isn't picketing the funerals of American soldiers.

"God's running outta stuff to hate."

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