I am not much on preachers on TV. I am not much for preachers at all. Not that I don’t appreciate the men and women who really seek to make positive change and be a conscious for spiritual/universal truth. I know of a few who are in this for the right reasons. Far too many seem to be full of themselves, their “ministries” their dogma or their legacies. I think many ministers (Christian in particular) start out as humble servants. But when they achieve a certain amount of notoriety they change. In short, many begin to overestimate their own importance in the grand scheme of things and leave the flock behind their cloud of ego driven dust. Some are just pimps from the word go. They enjoy not having a real job. For them ministry is business first and foremost – and if people fall by the wayside, oh well. Though I have seen this with my own eyes several times within my life, a few honest ministers have confessed as much to me during interviews.
When I look at Joel Osteen, I see something different, something refreshing. Back in the day when his father John Osteen pastored Lakewood Church, my dad was a member there when he moved to Houston. It was there that his own interest in ministry began to thrive. When John passed away, Joel took over the pulpit and began to do his own thing. When I surfed the channels and stopped on one of Joel’s messages, I smirked and said to myself, “He’s not a preacher, he’s a motivational speaker.” Every message to seemed to be about how, “everything was going to be alright and God loves you just the way you are.” Well, since I grew up in just about every church sect in the US, I wanted something stronger, more meaty. I had heard everything and I wanted something to challenge me. He was not doing it. So I chalked him up to be another PK (Preacher’s Kid) who took over his father’s ministry but has no real depth himself.
Well after taking another look at Joel from the time I saw him on 60 Minutes, I have done a 180 on him. I recently took the time to pay closer attention to his messages. And what I see that I didn’t recognize initially is that Joel ministers something that is very needed in today’s world. He offers hope, faith, and an outlook that allows one to view challenges with a glass “half full” mentality. Also Joel is one who totally promotes personal responsibility. He makes us fully aware that we are responsible for our own happiness as well as the task of making good decisions to put ourselves in position for success. All the while his encouraging style allows us to forgive ourselves and turn the page on past mistakes, and turn towards the right path.
I got mad love and respect for Joel Osteen. I know that he believes everything he says which is one of the greatest compliments I could ever give any person. He reminds me that no matter how complicated the problem, the ways of working through the solutions are layered with simplistic truths and principles. A small change in perspective can make the difference. That is as much meat as a person needs during times like these.
Joel Osteen is alright with me too brotha!!
Joel Osteen certainly has some wonderful qualities.
Sometimes when one is performing- or speaking- on TV, it’s tougher to get their passion to translate across the airwaves… that’s usually an experience reserved for live speeches, live performances.
This seems especially true for TV evangelists… but not Rev. Osteen.
Joel Osteen is a passionate man who speaks about hope- not doom and gloom- and a man who teaches tolerance.
He has some wonderful things to say.
Good post. I agree that in many ways his message does seem sincere and simplistic. That just might be his charm. He is an uplifting speaker. I’m not sure if his message fits in with biblical teachings. That is not my area of expertise. However, I will agree that positivity is needed more today, with a level does of being realistic. So good writing, and I agree with many of those points you made. I would also like to say something else though. I had never much heard of the prosperity gospel term until recently. I don’t know how I feel about it yet either, but after seeing photos that were just published this week of Osteen’s $10.5 million mansion, I know what they mean by prosperous. It doesn’t get much more prosperous than this: http://timothyhouston.com/2011/06/18/joel-osteen-lives-luxurious-in-his-heavenly-10-5-million-mansion/
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I have been out of town and unable to respond.
My expertise in biblical thesis is also limited… though I have been in church most of my life what I have learned is that many bible scriptures are used to get a point across one way or the other. Another scripture may be used to counteract the same very point.
I don’t look at Joel’s ministry as ‘prosperity” like at least in terms of what I have seen on television. I ain’t mad at him for having money. His ministry was worldwide when his deceased father ran the church years before he even thought of preaching himself. He is a legacy preacher in that sense.
He should have his own loot by now – and it would be for his members to make sure that they believe that what they give is going to something they believe in.
Once again.. thank you so much for taking the time to read and for your thoughtful response! Much appreciated!