The likable preacher Joel Osteen suggests that like eagles we rise above the criticisms of others, that rather than argue and try to change these complaining others (crows who can't fly as high as eagles) we rise above them and leave it to God to do the changing while we move forward in peace.
Osteen's sermons appeal to people who are seeking spiritual advice and serenity. Osteen and I have different big pictures of reality. I believe in clashes of opinion. Where would the world be with communication of differences. Where would the universities be? Would we be living in a theocratic dictatorship?
Osteen, in addition to praising the Lord is preaching self-satisfaction. He is pleasant. He doesn't thunder. He comes across with a degree of modesty (which is why I describe him as likable). Osteen is against unfriendly criticism and insults. Most of us are. But an enemy might be saying something about us that's true and that we best heed. The mentally tough have open minds and weigh arguments.
Osteen wants his audience to be happy and at peace with themselves as they "go forward" open to receiving God's blessings. I'm interested in people listening to others and communicating with people I don't agree with, and telling them why I don't agree, and maybe to get lost. But I'm not for putting myself above others — like Osteen's eagles. And I'm not into any drug-like serenity. What I am interested in is enjoying an awareness of reality.
Here is a defense for Osteen and more criticism.
With Hurricane Harvey in Osteen's Austin Texas, criticism has been blowing his way for having been slow in opening his huge Lakewood Church for relief. It's a bit of a distortion, with some people piling on, complaining about him living in a ten million dollar home and accusing him of preaching greed.
I don't want to be associated with any such attacks. I don't like piling on. But I dislike Osteen's latest message claiming knowledge about God that he doesn't have. He describes God having created the hurricane to test the people of Austin, or to enhance their knowledge of their ability to endure. It's Osteen's invention, his storytelling and, as I see it, his fantasy. Osteen is a Christian. He reminds me of my mother, and I have no anger for him the way I saw as a child people pile anger on my mother, who was a Jehovah's Witness.
Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.