As I was watching the news last night before I went to bed, I saw a story that disturbed me. No, this was not about another murder, a child dying in a hot car, or the economy. This was about the Osteens. As much of America knows, Victoria Osteen was recently sued in civil court by a flight attendant who claimed Victoria assaulted her on a flight a couple of years ago. It was a frivolous lawsuit, because while Victoria did, indeed, throw a hissy fit (an FBI friend who knows people who were there gave me the lowdown), she did not assault the flight attendant. And the jury agreed.
Yesterday was the first church services at their Lakewood Church after the verdict. And the news video showed them celebrating - in my opinion, gloating - their "victory" during the church service. In fact, the entire service was dedicated to their celebration. They shared details of the trial, and believe that they are their very own proof that good things happen to you if you keep the faith. Joel Osteen said, "We feel like it’s not just a victory for us. It's a victory for God's kingdom. It's a victory for all of us together."
I've never been on the Osteen bandwagon, myself. I believe he is more of a motivational speaker than a pastor - in fact, he has never had any formal theological training. He preaches a "feel good gospel", rarely using Biblical references, and I believe he leans strongly towards preaching the "prosperity gospel", which basically says that wealth and power are rewards for devout Christians. This is NOT something that I personally believe in.
I am happy for Victoria that she was cleared of the allegations against her. I believe it was a good thing for them to pray about the trial - I certainly would have! But I also believe the trial was a personal thing, not a church thing. It's one thing to thank your parishioners for their prayers and support during the highly-publicized trial, but I think devoting an entire church service to celebrating their victory - a church service where people came to hear about God - was inappropriate. Oh yes, God is good. And as Christians, our faith is everything. And yes, good things happen when you keep the faith. But you know what? Bad things happen sometimes, too. That's life. Bad things do not happen because of your lack of faith, but it is your faith that can get you thru those hard times. We live in a world of free will, a world of sin. Indeed, we are all sinners (Osteen doesn't like to talk about that much). Jesus Christ paid our debt. But saying that keeping the faith gets you good things and that they are living proof? Well, that's just a bit misleading.
Of course, all this is just my opinion. What do YOU think?
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