Archive for October 14, 2008

For what seems like a millennium, apologists and biblical purists alike have been clamoring that Joel and Victoria Osteen are a bit of a microcosm of what’s wrong with the Church today – all glitz and glamour, no substance and vigor.

This movement of “God-lite” seems to have a birthplace in Houston, Texas, and the lien holders of that monstrous real estate have been shouting, “Oh no! We really know tons about the Bible but we use a milquetoast approach to point others to Your Best Life Now and to Become a Better You.”

Anywhoo, those pundits and preachers have an unlikely source to back their play, VICTORIA OSTEEN! Huh?!

In her new book, “Love Your Life,” Victoria Osteen tells the following story. When she and her husband, Joel, were courting, he came over to her house for dinner. She knew he was the son of a prominent Houston pastor and she, a nice Christian girl, was hoping they could talk about Scripture while she prepared the meal.

“Joel began flipping through the pages, but before long, he put the Bible down,” she wrote. Victoria was disappointed and complained, “I thought you’d be a spiritual giant.”

“Joel said nothing and just grinned at me as we carried on with the evening.” Later, he joked with friends that she’d called him a “spiritual midget.”

No metaphor, Vicky. He really is a midget.

Cheer up, Vicky. There is no metaphor. He really is a midget.

Seriously?! With wives like this, who need a dominatrix? You realize what happened as we prier into this courting moment of the Osteen clan… and if I was writing a chapter in that rag, it would go like this [cue harp music]:

So, you got this kid all Brylcreamed up. His dad just happens to be an icon in Christianity, missions and dogmatic principle, so you know Joel is bound to get a little of that splattered upon his freshly-coifed self. Enter Victoria Osteen (nee Iloff) who wants to impress so she sets up a quaint dinner discussing the pragmatism of the scriptures.

Now, that’s dating material, boy! Sign me up. All brushed up on her Sunday school lessons about how many days it took to make the world, the parting of the Red Sea and the whole immaculate conception thingy, Victoria was ready to rock Joel’s pre-pubescent world. Then, without intent, she puts the young lothario on the spot.

“Joel, honey. Explain to me your deep thoughts on the Kenotic Theory.”

Young Joel began tripping! “Where did she get that from?… Where’s my Dad?… Um, is that Obi-Wan Kenosis?… Ah, I just need to talk TV lingo, she will never know the difference.” With Dippity-do flinging everywhere, Joel decides to take a different approach on theology. He puts down his Bible, saunters over, flashs his pearly whites and whispers in that cutsy Texas twang of his, “Let’s talk about discovering the champion in you.” [End harp music. Begin smooching sound effects.]

Since then, their personal take on the Gospel message has “emerged” and they have become “sensitive about seekers.” All the while, Joel’s bethrothed has been holding on to that one secret – she believes he has a Napoleon complex as this Lilliputian tells his jokes, serves up biblical Happy Meals and creates absolutely no conviction in the hearts and minds of the 1000s that fill “Six Flags Under Jesus” in Houston.

While you are at your booksignings, hold a warm spot for Tammy Wynette as Vicky throws up those one-finger salutes and shouts, “Hey girl. Have your man stand by this!”

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My Fair Lady grew up in an old, glorious church. You know the type – the creaky, wooden floors, handcrafted pews, stained-glass windows and that paint-weathered steeple climbing into the sky.

Oh, and the suspended choir loft that was so raggedy, every time the big girl in the group got the Holy Ghost, you knew the whole thing would collapse right into the baptismal.

Well, a new day is turning and those churches of antiquity are becoming relics of Christendom’s yesteryear. Why? The same reason grocery stores and boutique retails wants Wal-Mart to burn in hell… big boxes.

Megachurches these days are living organisms that dipped into Barry Bonds stash of beef ‘roids and have a hat size two sizes too big. It’s not enough that they are bigger than everyone. Now, thanks to this story from the Baptist Standard, they want to be broader as well.

The average megachurch saw a growth of about 50 percent in attendance in the last five years; about 10 percent reported a decline or stagnation… The churches, with worship attendance of 2,000 or more each weekend, increasingly are using satellite locations, with 37 percent using them in 2008, compared to 27 percent in 2005 and 22 percent in 2000.

We have all seen it – Greater Jesusville Church… West, Northeast, South by Southwest, Downtown and of course, by the Mall. What’s next to help these places grow? How about an amusement park inside for the kiddies. Nothing says, “ooooooooooooooooooo gawd” quite like a loop-de-loop in church, right? How about a hiking trail? Something to get the kids lost between the Vaudevillian stage and the “West Wing,” which is usually guarded by a security system and some blockhead named, “Brutus.”

Whatever it is, they’ll think of it. Through multiple services, church in front of the big screen to conferences for every reason under the sun, it’ll be at one of those “God in a Boxes”. And regretfully for the old rugged cross, the only memory our own lil’ Wall Watchers will have of those places are historical markers and that fun little game you do with your fingers, “Open the door… and there’s no people.”

A ubiquitous “trick of the trade” for politicians is to use personal references. They make them seem more tangible and… you know, real.

Well, lately, John McCain has become a cartoon of himself thanks to the company he keeps. First, it was a couple of controversial TV preachers. Then, a vociferous and prosletyzing hottie he believes would make a spiffy Veep.

Now, we have this pastor. Scratch that… this tool who got his 15 minutes invoking the power of God while introducing John McCain. So, what’s the problem? He believes a vote for McCain is a vote for McJesus!

“I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons,” [Pastor] Conrad said.

“And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day.”

Anyone remember all those conversations about “church and state”? What about that pesky word… um, oh, ISSUES?! Ladies and gentlemen of the brainwashed church, synagogue, mosque and coven, this is a Presidential election. One in which we typically have to choose the lesser of two evils in favor of running our country up a flagpole and not our economy into the ground. Although the President has authority to elect federal (and Supreme) judges, we also vote in the nitwits that have more power collectively than the guy living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. – the dunderheads working at Capitol Hill!

If you TRULY want change, do not vote for the incumbent! Do your research and decide who would best be suited to vote for you on the issues that concern you… but please leave omnipotence out of this. God gave us the ability to reason, right? The power to choose, yes? Then consider this – those nimrods collecting a check in their wallets and dust on their desks have a SEVEN PERCENT APPROVAL rating! 7! That’s three times as low as President Bush, yet statistics show more than 85 percent of those tools will be voted back into office. Why?

Because people are just as doltish as the dorks being voted in office. No research, no study, just a memory of whose name is on the most signs outside the polling place.

So, you wanna ask me why Pastor Conrad asked for God to do something again? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Unfortunately.