Great article today over at AlterNet concerning the meltdown of Joel Osteen’s wife, Victoria, because a flight attendant did not attend to her needs quickly enough. There was a stain on her armrest, and she freaked out. I am reading this thing and thinking, “Damn, this is really well written,” and then read more carefully and discover its written by Barbara Erenreich …. so that explains it! Anyway, read it:
Consider the ways the Lord works in the life of the Osteens, as recounted in Joel Osteen’s book Your Best Life Now, which has sold 4 million copies and is graced by a back cover photo of the smiling couple. Acting through Victoria, who kept “speaking words of faith and victory” on the subject, Joel was led to build the family “an elegant home.” On other occasions, God intervened to save Joel from a speeding ticket and to get him not only a good parking spot but “the premier spot in that parking lot.” Why God did not swoop down with a sponge and clean up the offending stain on the armrest remains a mystery, because Osteen’s deity is less the Master of the Universe than an obliging factotum.
Plenty of Christians have already made the point that the positive thinking of Christianity Light is demeaning to God, and I leave them to pursue this critique. More importantly, from a secular point of view, it’s dismissive of other humans, and not only flight attendants. If a person is speeding, shouldn’t he get a ticket to deter him from endangering others? And if Osteen gets the premier parking spot, what about all the other people consigned to the remote fringes of the lot? Christianity, at best, is about a sacrificial love for others, not about getting to the head of the line.
She nails it pretty well. I’ve always wondered how the prosperity gospel people manage to live with themselves. The idea that God wants them to be rich, and is working for them specifically (at the expense of others) is about as childishly self-centered as you can get. Not to mention the superficial materialism. Jesus was not a Republican.