Yesterday I watched Joel Osteen talk about how our habits affect what kind of people we become.
Today I listened to NT Wright talk about the Enlightenment and being for the world what Jesus was for Israel.
I understood the smilin’ preacher.
I’ve read several negative things about ol’ Joel, and whether they’re merited or not, we’ll find out on That Great Day, but I’m not too quick to jump on the Joel-bashing wagon. I’m not down with the whole prosperity thing he appears to promote, not least in his lifestyle choices, but I’m also aware that paths to the living God are as numerous as the individual persons that He’s created. I will take a lesson from the editor of The Christian Century magazine, who one week jumped aboard the Joel-bashing train, and editorialized it, only to come to a different opinion no less than two weeks later, which he humbly wrote about:
Any theology that promises success as a reward for faithfulness and fervent prayer is misleading at best, and it deserves a forceful critique. At the same time I’ve learned not to dismiss ministries, however different from mine, that can lead people to their vocation or to a new sense of God’s love.
I probably wouldn’t go to Mr. Osteen for an in-depth analysis of 1st century Judaism, or any theological question for that matter; no, for things as deep and important as theological issues I’d consult the kind of leaders that Jesus told the people to listen to – Pharisees, but I do wish to remove my narrow lenses and think deeply and broadly about our complex world and infinite God.