Joel Osteen upgrades God to God version 2.0
LeoPardus recently posted a few You might be a Fundy if… one-liners. Among them was:
You might be a Fundy if… God regularly opens up convenient parking spaces, JUST FOR YOU.
Well, it turns out that this is not far from what is being preached at one of the largest churches in America, Lakewood Church in Houston, Tx. According to a Slate Article by Chris Lehmann on Joel Osteen’s new book Become A Better You:
Joel Osteen’s God really wants you to dress well, stand up straight, and get a convenient parking space.
The article gave this analysis of Joel Osteen:
Joel has pointedly refrained from … really doing much biblical preaching at all. He has the wardrobe and tirelessly dapper mien of an oil industry lobbyist; it’s as a walking advertisement of the success creed, and not as any manner of prophet, that he’s made his name. “I’m not called to explain every minute facet of Scripture or to expound on deep theological doctrines or disputes that don’t touch where people live,” he writes dismissively in Become a Better You. “My gift is to encourage, to challenge, and to inspire.”
Here’s a summary of the teachings of Osteen by Chris Lehmann:
Indeed, if you bracket all the scary, irresponsible health-and-wealth cheerleading that jolts through Become a Better You, this exurban image of God the indulgent dad is among the more troubling features of the gospel according to Osteen. For it turns out that the divine hand turns up everywhere, at least in Joel Osteen’s life. God upgrades his reservations to first class on a long international flight; God spares his car in a water-planing wipeout on the Houston interstate; God allows Osteen and his wife/co-pastor, Victoria, to flip a property “for twice as much as we paid for it” in a once-sketchy Houston neighborhood; God swings a critical vote on the Houston zoning board to permit Lakewood to move to its mammoth Compaq Center digs—and God even saw fit 35 years earlier to ensure the engineer who designed the ramps leading to the Compaq Center provided easy parking access for Lakewood. This is a long, long way down the road from the inscrutable, infant-damning theology of this country’s Calvinist forebears—it is, rather, a just-in-time economy’s vision of salvation, an eerily collapsible spiritual narcissism that downgrades the divine image into the job description for a lifestyle concierge. Lakewood and Osteen seem to keep God so preoccupied it’s a wonder He can ever find the time to stock his fridge or whip out His wallet.
Personally, I like Joel’s God v2.0 a lot more than I do the God of the Bible v1.0 who, in the words of Richard Dawkins, is:
“Jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Which God would you serve?
– The de-Convert