Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Thirteen Million Dollar Preacher

The New York Times has a story about "gigachurch" pastor, Joel Osteen. Here are some highlights (if you can call them that):

The news for Mr. Osteen has lately been very good indeed: two weeks ago he signed a contract with Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, that could bring him as much as $13 million for a follow-up book to his debut spiritual guide, "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential," which, since it was published by Warner Faith in 2004, has sold more than three million copies. "I believe God wants us to prosper" is the gospel according to Mr. Osteen, 43, who offers no apologies for his wealth.

In "Your Best Life," Mr. Osteen counsels patience, compassion, kindness, generosity and an overall positive attitude familiar to any reader of self-help books. But he skirts the darker themes of sin, suffering and self-denial, leading some critics to deride the Osteen message as "Christianity lite."

He has distanced himself from much of the Christian right, avoiding the issues of gay marriage and abortion and generally shuns partisan political functions. He said he knew he was under a moral microscope and was uncomfortable discussing the widely publicized episode last Christmas when the Osteen family was taken off a Continental flight to Vail, Colo., after Mrs. Osteen got into an argument with a flight attendant over cleaning up spilled liquid on her first-class seat. "It was blown out of proportion," said Mr. Osteen.

As if it's not tragic enough that Osteen has managed to successfully hock his perverted gospel in the US, there's this:

Marin and Zori Marinov, now of Dallas, had driven down to tell him that in their native Bulgaria they had hooked up a satellite dish to receive his broadcasts. To their amazement they found another Bulgarian a few steps away, Dyana Dafova, a singer who invited Mr. Osteen to preach in Sofia.
Related: It looks like Kim Riddlebarger scooped the Times on this tidbit: soon you'll be able to play a board game based on Osteen's bestseller! Like Kim, I wonder if it's possible to lose. (HT: Tim Challies).

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