An American Evangelical “Rhinestone” Pastor is on tour in Britain, his mission is to save our stools. Joel Osteen, leader of the independent Lakewood Church (independent, that is, of any identifiable religious philosophy except the Gospel of Saint Geldof; “give us yer fokkin’ money.”)
It is perhaps not fair to expect Osteen to have any understanding of Christian theology though, he attended Oral Roberts University, the premier training camp for America’s Bible Belt preachers, but dropped out after only one term. This he explains by saying he “felt called to start his own mission. In actual fact the death of his Dad created a vacancy he was only too ready to fill so as preaching was the family business, job training and qualifications ceased to be an issue.
Not that much goes on in Joel’s megachurch, actually a converted baseball stadium, that could in any conventional way be compared to the sermon’s of your local C of E vicar or Roman Catholic priest. And not only does Osteen eschew the gentle, inclusive doctrines of the liberal churches, he has no time for the hellfire and damnation of the traditional Pentecostalist ranters either. His message could be described as The Gospel of The American Dream, the worship of The Bitch Goddess Success. Joel Osteen’s mission is to tell people what they want to hear in order to part them from their money. It is the traditional skill of the confidence trickster.
Though he may not know much about the Christian faith that he preaches, Pastor Osteen does know a thing or two about financial success. His services, which are a cross between a Heavy Metal concert and a Nuremberg Rally regularly pull audiences of 30,000 and are watched by TV audiences averaging almost 20million. Lakewood Chuch has its own TV station of course funded by the faithful who cough up enough of their hard – earned to give the church an annual budget of $75 million, plenty to fund the conversion of a former baseball stadium into the “Church” that is headquarters to a corporate operation.
The God of Lakewood Church as it happens is a good God, a loving God who wants us to be successful in our lives. And so Lakewood God rewards those who kiss His butt with career progression and material gain. And how do Lakewoodians worship God in order to gain these beneficences? Well you just have to mention the words God and Jesus as many times as you can. If anybody got through the bodyguards and PR people to ask how he relates this to the advice given by Jesus to avoid “praying in the street like the hypocrites” I have the feeling his answer would be “What the hell did Jesus know about Christianity?”
Boggart Blog readers, even the practising Christians, being intelligent, worldly folk, will recognise that saying “God is good” or “Jesus loves us” many times is not actually a guarantee that good things will come your way. Its fair to ask then how does Osteen explain to some devout and faithful follower that despite their devotions and contributions they are suffering from an incurable cancer, their beloved partner has died in an accident or one of the kids is hooked on crack.
The Lakewood PR machine is strangely silent on such things. They have no message for the poor, the sick and disabled, those struggling with pain or grief. They are never going to “do well” and so Lakewood God, Joel Osteen’s God is not interested.
Bizarrely Joel is interested in the obesity problem though, and as he is based in Texas, the fat capital of the world he has plenty to deal with. But his nutritional message is as whacky as his religion. My friend Sandy Knaur first brought this bogus preacher to my attention in an article at Authorsden.
Just as God can change your life He can change your bowel movements too.
“God wants you to be healthy, God wants you to feel good, but the Devil tempts with a bad diet, high in fat and sugar.” The majority of Americans, claims Osteen, pass “long thin strings of blue black stools,” (Boggart Blog has dubbed these The Stools Of Satan”, Osteen could never be that poetic,) because of their unhealthy diet. This diet also causes American’s to develop colonic plaque, all that sticky stuff builds up on the walls of your colon and you become constipated and feel lousy. At the time of their deaths, Elvis Presley was weighed down by thirty pounds of this faecal goo while John Wayne was packing forty pounds. It was all because they ate The Devil’s Diet and passed The Stools of Satan. Lakewood Christians are exhorted to eat a good diet in reward for which God will deconstipate them, send them some nice, thick. conker brown turds, (Jesus Jobbies?) and make them feel better.
What I notice about these moneyministries is the way the preachers always twist perfectly commonplace things to give credit to God for something totally unremarkable. It makes poo lady Gillian McKeith seem almost sane. If you eat a healthier diet and cut down on deep fried lard you're going to feel better. Its a no brainer.
Well Elvis and John Wayne might have been stuffed with colonic plaque because of their bad diet, but if Joel Osteen ate only bran and beans he would still be full of shit.
Let us pray that nobody in Britain falls for the evil nonsense of this sleazy con man who preys on the insecure and vulnerable.