Posts Tagged ‘Joel Osteen’

Evangelical [ee-van-jel-i-kuhl]

  1. adj. Pertaining to certain movements in the Protestant churches in the 18th and 19th centuries that stressed the importance of personal experience of guilt for sin, and of reconciliation to God through Christ.
  2. n. an adherent of evangelical doctrines marked by ardent or zealous enthusiasm for a cause

Amazing how a very popular word, that can be used in two different ways, can mean totally different things.

As an adjective, calling an action evangelical expresses fervor, passion and a firm commitment. However, as a noun, it denotes lukewarm people, phlegmatic expressions and tepid pablum.

You know, “I respect the person but that ‘Aw shucks’ attitude about Jesus is completely annoying.” And then, anyone in the Church rattles off the names ad nauseum: Rick Warren, Ted Haggard, Bill Hybels and Joel Osteen completing the “Non-Prophet Organization” (Imagine my cheesy grin now).

They sell books. They pack stadiums. They get invited to the big boys table at the White House. And they are living large! So, it’s all good, right?

evangelicalbookAccording to Warren Cole Smith evangelical journalist and editor of the Charlotte World (and this article in the Charlotte Observer): “Wrong!”

In his new book, an insider critique called “A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church” (Authentic Books, $16.99), Smith argues that many, if not most, evangelical churches have lost their way. Instead of sticking with core biblical principles, rich traditions and church-as-community, he says, they promote feel-goodism, technological fads and church-as-entertainment.

Look out. Warren Cole Smith getting nice with “feel-goodism.” I know I didn’t study that theorem in Seminary, but I’m feelin’ it.

And, along with that new theological bent comes the technology to promote it: Twitter (I think I just threw up a little on my PC thinking of this trend for churches).

I mean, we should all have an elevator speech to witness – keep it simple, keep it sanctified. But, to ONLY do it in 140 characters or less?! That’s not outreach. That’s just plain lazy and saying you witness just for the sake of saying you do. But, that seems to be the trend these days.

Revelation 3:15-16 (NASB) tells us, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot… So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

While you kids are gallivanting around in your Learjets teaching the common man to “become a better you”, “being a contagious Christian”, “having a purpose-driven life” or just doing blow with a gay prostitute while fronting biblical organizations, there is all pomp… no circumstance.

Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) commands us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

joel-osteen-smileAre you doing that, or just pitching a tent for a day, promoting a cause, pushing an ATM and leaving town to cut bait?

Now, before you consider me to be some reject ne’er-do-well, consider Smith who is about to punk the guy pushing folk to get “their best life now”:

Joel Osteen has a view of the world that you can have your best life now,” Smith said. “If I were going to rewrite Genesis and put (modern) words into the mouth of Satan … I’d put Joel Osteen’s words there: ‘You’re not so bad. You’re so close to being God now. Just a little tweak, a little tune-up, a little bit better. Just follow these 7 rules.’

Since I found this article, I have read this book… twice!

If you believe there is no issues with today’s Church and how they have become the Freudian couch of tomorrow, think again. If you consider how we are supposed to reach the lost, and aren’t, this book makes you think twice and reinvent the way you live a Jesus life out loud. If you think nothing is wrong, then … uh, I don’t know… read the Bible:

“Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:5 ESV).

NOW… go read the book. This is unsolicited but it got my goat. What can I say? Oh wait, scroll up… no “feel-goodism” there. Let’s hope it sticks.

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For years, certain megachurch pastors – event planners of the lukewarm pablum, if you will – have monochromatically aligned their proselytizing with about as much fervor as choosing the right socks to wear with an Italian suit.

You know, no passion but concerned with the aesthetics of it all.

PD*28795882Anywhoo, a big huzzah to the seeker-sensitive pastors of the world because all the cheerleading you do for a “good life” and a “better you” and the “best energy” God can muster has finally paid off.

Jesus caved in, left the right hand of his father, dawned some Levis and has become your official mascot thanks to bronze statue outside an East Sussex church in England and this story from The Telegraph (UK).

Here hangs our Lord, ravishing with some designer beach-bummin’ threads, hair flailing in the wind and rocking a major three-o-clock shadow.

Looking hot, J.C. Now, that’s my kind of Savior.

[Snap. Snap. Go in a circle. Snap.]

Father [David, of the Our Lady Immaculate and St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Uckfield] Buckley said: “You are always looking for new ways to enrich people in the experience of Christianity and it is good people can be open-minded to appreciate it.

Sounds like a life preserver of spin control out of a reputation downfall to me.

Contemporary clothing. fresh locks, no grooming issues. Ah, there’s the rub.

People are in such a frentic rush to ensure Jesus can relate to modern-day issues that we push the envelope of sacrilege to present a Jesus is feeling a 21st century vibe.

NOW LOOK AT HIM?! Is that how he looked like carrying his hoist beam on the Via Dolorosa? Probably not, but I’m sure folk were complimenting his stylish Birkenstocks along those cobblestone streets.

No, that’s not in the Bible, but then again, neither is most of the drivel the aforementioned Kumbaya Klan shells out on Sundays. I’m just sayin’.

joel-osteen-smileSo, Joel & Victoria Osteen have put on their riding boots, vanity glasses and crawled back on the “Me Express.”

This week has been a busy one for the Bobsie Twins, as they have left the hallowed halls of Lakewood for yet another whirlwind tour of “Hope-la” among the leering press. Indulgently, they carried on a few appearances not found in most churches:

Well, the gala expedition came to a close in a big way for those in the Church, not just his church. On Larry King Live discussing global events, hope for today and his own bible of the same name (yeah, not vain at all), his man crush on the Barackstar… and oh yeah, GAY MARRIAGE! Hit the CNN transcript:

King: Do you think that eventually many more states are going to allow same-sex marriage?

Joel Osteen: You know, I don’t know where it’s all going … I’d love to see it stay between a male and a female, not knocking anybody else.

King: Supposing there were more states that had it. What would be the harm?

Victoria Osteen: We really want to see marriage between a man and a woman. There [are] going to be people who get together and have relationships and have what they call their families. But I just think marriage should be sanctified by the church. It should be between a man and a woman.

King: Should a gay couple be allowed to adopt?

Joel Osteen: I think that, again, it’s best for a male and a female. I’m not saying that gay people aren’t good people. …

King: Or good parents.

Joel Osteen: Yeah, exactly. But again, I like to shoot for God’s best, and that is a father and a mother in the home. It doesn’t always happen. I know a lot of people raised by single parents. And you know what? We bless them and pray for them as well. But I think God’s best is a male and female.

So, there was a little bit of psychopablum and Jesus-lite in there seeing how we all “shoot for God’s best” (Oy!) but I have to give the pentecostal robot some love because he finally stands up for something rather than watching the pitch go flailing by. Larry King may be a curmudgeon, but he is still one cagey dude and he tried to stick Barbie & Ken in the corner. But, welcome back to reality, Joel! Become that “better you,” brother.

I love some of the PR training kicking in for Joel, “not knocking anybody else.” You know Joel, if you wanted to do something for your image, why not rock the Seinfeld and tell Larry, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that?!” Also, about the image phantasm, what’s with this taking on Pontiff Power (ta-dah!). “You bless them?!” Oooo-k.

Whatever the semantics, it’s refreshing to see a little bit of his amazing daddy sticking his pentecostal finger in the chest of the “agenda”. Pray for them, encourage them, love them into the kingdom, but make the difference between tolerance and acceptance. Be a man of God first, and a kitschy dork trying to pass off the cool, Euro pressed button down. Uh, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It’s almost Six Degrees of Separation to source this riveting article, but I’ll give it a shot before I get rolling:

vanishing churchThanks to Another Brick on the Wall “Spiritual Pathway Ministries“, by way of the whole article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and discusses a Bob Pearle book entitled The Vanishing Church: Searching for Significance in the 21st Century.

All clear? OK, and away we go…

For the past couple weeks, we have plastered on the Wall a few ruminations about “Big Box” megachurches and even its progeny, “minichurches”.

And now this article about Pearle’s Vanishing Church stands in my shadow threatening to whoop up on anyone who talks smack in my direction.

He doesn’t hold that churches are literally “vanishing,” since there are all kinds of churches, often filled to overflowing, in our neck of the woods [North Texas]. “What I’m saying is that the biblical New Testament church is vanishing from society today,” he said. “Anything and everything is acceptable as long as it builds a crowd. Jesus wasn’t as interested in building a crowd as he was in telling the truth.”

Amen! And why all this brouhaha over exponentially growing houses of worship? It’s simple math:

On one hand, we have church overflowing of concert-quality worship, hypersensationalism, a disconnected waltz through the scriptures and a sermon that is more Tony Robbins and less Tony Campolo.

going-back-to-churchAnd on the other, we have a warehouse full of crushed velvet, ornate furnishings and lots of bling… and that’s just the “Frozen Chosen” sitting in the pewser, chairs.

Add the two together and you still get a bunch of folk en route lights and sirens to Luby’s Cafeteria who still can’t tell you what scripture was shared in the pulpit.

From seeker sensitive to televised tabernacle, the missing part of the equation seem to be allegiance to God’s Word. Well, better yet, just God’s Word.

Pearle — who rejects the label of fundamentalist — says declining membership in many mainline Protestant groups results from watering down core biblical teachings. He believes that evangelicals who do that will suffer the same fate. “You have to hear the bad news that we are sinners, before your receive the good news of salvation,” Pearle says.

People, we need a Savior, which is why we should celebrate Jesus Christ daily. We are “saved” and set free to worship God. However, most of us would rather go check out some dude crush expletives in the pulpit for shock value or hear the “Aw shucks the big guy upstairs sure loves you” show.

Now, THIS is the stuff worth shouting about in the sanctuary, regardless what size it is! Anyone?

For years, I have thought people were growing sour on Christianity.

Why? Turn on TBN and you tell me. Better yet, turn on the news, which talks about TBN and then tell me. Preachers busted for fiscal irresponsibility, priests being thrown in the clink for getting handsy and then there is all the hubbub with televangelists living large like some of those fat cats getting dinged with the stimulus package.

At least Witches don't need to hide their drinking binges

At least Witches don't need to hide their drinking binges

Sigh. They get the pub and Jesus gets the blame. Unfair, but understandable why witchcraft is now growing faster than the “Big Three” of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

One expert claims that the number of Wiccan experts is doubling every 30 months. A recent book entitled “Generation Hex” by author Marla Alupoaicei declares that it will be the third largest religion of faith by the year 2012.

And where is the most rapid growth of Wicca in the U.S.? Where else? Massachusetts (and Los Angeleser, the West Coast). Other than the obvious, why is this important for Christians to know?

We gots lots of work to do people!

If there are this many misanthropes out there who are so disenchanted with God and specifically, God’s people, then it’s obvious we aren’t doing our job. We need to witness. We need to reach out. We need to live out loud.

Yeah, yeah, we hear all that mess from Joel, Ed, Bill and the rest of the seeker-sensitive nation. But consider this, there is a reason why their churches are mega, and everyone else’s is not so much these days.

If more of us looked and acted like Jesus, rather than being worried about sounding like him (“I’m blessed and highly favored… despite living on welfare and being addicted to these crappy cigarettes.”, this story may be obsolete.

And then again, so would TBN.