OMG, Joel Osteen - Speak Up Or Shut Up

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"There's a lot of things...that I don't understand- so I just don't want to preach on it, preach about it"

- Joel Osteen on Homosexuality

I can't STAND Joel Osteen, or any of his ilk.

The Prosperity Gospel, Power of Positive Thinking type of "ministers" out there truly know the Power of Positive Marketing and how to tap into people's vulnerabilities and insecurities.  In so doing, they happen to make themselves incredibly wealthy.

Which, according to Joel Osteen, is precisely what God wants for all of us:

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Hang on....I have to throw up....be back in a sec.....

OK...as I was saying:

My inherent problem with Joel Osteen is that he has no theological education of any kind.  He never attended a seminary, he is not ordained.  And yet he has the attentive ear of millions of people each week; people who struggle, who doubt, who have questions, and who are looking for guidance and direction.

Telling them that God desires them to have that big promotion, that big paycheck, that Mercedes in the driveway of the huge house...is that being authentic to scripture or the ministry and life of Jesus of Nazareth?

In this minister's humble opinion....no.

Seriously, Joel, you sound about as stupid as Fergie:

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God help me...but I digress...

Not only is it not being authentic (or fair) to Jesus' message of genuine Hope and Good News for the poor in the face of despair and oppression, his ministry style of opting out of the tough subjects isn't doing his church membership or the millions who buy his products any kind of pastoral service, either.

If a minister's response to problematic issues regarding how to reconcile scripture with social justice issues, or the suffering of the innocent, or any of Life's profoundly painful issues is basically, "Well, there's lots of things I don't understand, so I just don't want to preach about it," RUN, don't walk, the other way; 'cuz you just know you're getting a load of snake oil wrapped up in a lot of shiny teeth, perfect hair and a great suit.

There are tough questions out there we struggle with.  Innocent people suffer.  Children deal with terminal illness.  People shoot each other in movie theaters for texting their toddlers.  Jobs are lost, wars rage on, people inflict terror and persecution upon one another in all manner of horrific ways that defy the human heart and mind.

In crisis, people often turn to scripture for some sense of comfort, resolution and answers.  Quite often (because the Bible is often incredibly confusing) people then seek a minister or spiritual leader of some sort to help them make sense of what they encounter in the confusing pages of scripture.

In this regard, Joel Osteen is a complete and utter failure because he collapses in the face of real life, tough issues.  Which makes sense if he's going to stay on message and uphold the image he's created for himself.

Yet the message of feel-good, your life is meant for greatness, everything's gonna be all right looks beyond hypocritical in the face of life's brutal realities:

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The tragic reality is that for far too many - especially children - destiny will only and ever mean a life lived in poverty, or in war-ravaged areas, with no access to the things that the vast majority of us are blessed to have.

Life isn't about the blessings God intends for us...rather its about the ways in which we use our blessings for the benefit of others; far too many of whom awake each day to a reality completely absent of anything we would call blessings.

So when someone that bears the same vocational mantle as myself opts to continue to collect massive paychecks in large portion by avoiding preaching about the very struggles and realities that Jesus passionately dedicated his life, ministry, and ultimately his death for, it makes me want to scream.

I get how Jesus felt when he walked into the Temple in Jerusalem and let the Scribes and Pharisees have it with both barrels.

Hey Joel - as a minister that doesn't proclaim to have any answers either but still feels a sacred duty to preach about the tough stuff for the sake of my congregation, here's some of your own advice:

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Are you even listening to the vapid tripe you put out there, Joel?

Oh God....now there's a commercial on for a Benny Hinn healing crusade.  Did you know he has a net worth of $42 million?  I guess he garners more of God's favor than Joel, who's net worth is only $40 million.

I think I'm gonna throw up again....

Peace, Shawn

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF WINTER PARK

225 S. INTERLACHEN AVENUE

WINTER PARK, FL  32789

407 647 2416

fccwp@fccwp.org