November 25, 2020

Am I Jealous?

green_monster.pngI don’t take many opportunities to write extended descriptions of the ministry where I serve. There are several reasons for that. I don’t want to involve my ministry in any of the controversies that might be part of this blog. But I hear people talk about their churches all day long, and I have a lot to say about our ministry as well. So in this piece, I talk a lot about where I live, minister and serve. I hope it’s clear that I am grateful most of all to God for all that I have experienced here.

In the Joel Osteen discussion, a couple of people accused me of being jealous- jealous of Joel Osteen’s success. I want to talk about that accusation.

This morning, our school chapel was visited by a Christian ministry that almost every IM reader knows well, at least by reputation. They visit us once a year, and distribute New Testaments to our students. The gentleman who spoke to our students described this ministry’s distinctive mission and vision: evangelism through Bible distribution. One hundred seventy of our students received the Bible as a gift.

This ministry has over 200,000 members, all laity and all volunteers. In fact, these members make the front line financial sacrifices to fund the ministry’s work, and then go into local churches once a year to ask for support. In our community, they literally go to the back door and stand with an offering plate to receive that support personally. As long as I have been involved with them, they have never called me or mailed me asking for money.

They use their funds to distribute Bibles in 180 countries and in every kind of situation: prisons, the military, businesses and even public schools (when they can.) The money spent on the organization itself is practically invisible: an administrative center, Bible production and modest publications. Recruitment, publicity and promotion are all done the “old fashioned “ way: first person.

This is the kind organization I am drawn to because their values are so much like the values of the ministry I’ve called home for more than 15 years. Let me tell you a little about who we are.

Our employees sacrifice to serve here, making less than six thousand dollars in salary and taking on a community life surrounded by other staff and our students 24/7/365. We spend less than $20,000 a year on promotion of any kind. Many of our staff are full time volunteers. We eat food that is primarily donated or raised on our farm. Volunteers come to our campus by the hundreds in order to do construction, donate medical care, renovate buildings and just encourage us in ministry.

We do not turn away any student for financial need. Half of our students are on significant scholarships. We are the third least expensive school of our type in America. Many of our students pay nothing. Churches all over Kentucky and even some elsewhere support us with gifts large and small. Our endowment was almost non-existent for many years. We have never had a fund raiser. Never made a cold call. Never asked a corporation for a donation., Once a year we send a Christmas letter to our friends. Four times a year, we send out a newsletter telling the stories of our successful students.

We’ve been doing what we do for 108 years. There are stories from other eras of our ministry’s history that our staff often hear when we need perspective. In one stretch, none of the faculty were paid for a year so the school could stay open for the 200 students from the hills and hollers that had come to us for a Christian education. In another era, the teachers would go to the creek and fish at night to have something to eat, and while they fished they would study Latin and Math so they could stay a day or two ahead of the students.

It wasn’t until 1937 that a paved road came to where we are. The trip from Lexington, now a trip of two hours, was two days or more, often driving in dry creek beds. Today we have a fleet of buses, some purchased, some donated. Our teams and musical groups travel throughout the state.

In all of this, I have the honor of providing spiritual leadership to 150 staff and 350 students from all over the world and all over our region. I lead daily and weekend worship. I teach Bible. I train and mentor fellow staff members. Both of my children hope to come back here and teach. Denise and I have been here for 15+ years. I don’t always know if this is the place God wants me to be for the future, but until his call clearly comes from elsewhere, this is where I will be.

Joel Osteen’s ministry takes in almost 20x more in a year than our ministry receives and spends in the same year. I’m sure the differences in salaries and lifestyle are significant. I don’t have plans to fly first class anytime soon. My book isn’t a best seller because I don’t have time to write it. Every facility we have is built in a way that you understand our financial values. It would be great to go after some corporate donors to build new dorms and classrooms, but that’s not who we are.

I don’t always like working for a ministry where I don’t have a secretary, where there’s a building full of other people’s donated clothes as part of my compensation and where I’m making less money than I did in 1979. I’m 51, and I still have to move the pulpit by myself every time I come into the chapel to preach. I’m assistant to the President, and I still get asked to substitute teach in middle school.

We can’t find a church, and the church I go to offers almost nothing that I can appreciate or enthusiastically endorse. Good people, but I can never really be myself there. That is difficult and painful, but it’s part of being here where this ministry is most needed.

Sometimes, what I do is very hard, and sometimes I wish I was in a big church with a big house and a big salary. So, there may be a day or two that I’ve been jealous of Joel Osteen and a few hundred other ministers.

But not most of the time. No, most of the time I’m not jealous at all.

I’ve been reading up on St. Francis recently, thanks to Ian Morgan Cron’s book, Chasing Francis. Reading the story of Francis’s conversion, I’ve realized that I’m very fortunate to stand in a place in ministry where the values of Francis and the values of Jesus are really present. Even though I occasionally yield to the lure of the culture, most of the time I’m very happy to have the simple, purposeful, exhausting, relatively poor life that I have.

I’ve seen God do amazing things for me and my family. We’ve been blessed in many ways that have made us all more grateful, but that have also made us into a different kind of Christian than many of our peers. The economic and social values of Jesus still have a long way to go in my life, but they have taken root in my life as a result of this ministry in a way that would have never happened at wealthy churches.

A few years ago, our school lost its President to a sudden illness. A search process began to replace him, and a somewhat well-known minister had his eye on the job, so he asked to meet with the staff. After a brief presentation assuring us that the search process was going well, he made his play for our support by telling us we were long overdue to get raises, more benefits, perks and compensation.

Now he was quite right. There were people in that room who made so little money it was embarrassing. I’m grateful that kind of omission was made right by our next President. But what happened next has always stayed with me.

One of our houseparents, a man who, along with his wife, has spent almost three decades here as a night shift houseparent and locksmith, living in a house trailer and dealing with our students at their worst, that man stood up and said something like this:

“Sir, we appreciate what you’ve said today. But you obviously don’t understand us. None of us came here to make money. No one here feels like they have sacrificed at all. They are privileged to be part of this ministry.”

Uncomfortable silence took over that meeting as two sets of values collided. As much as everyone of us in that room would have loved to see a few more dollars in our paychecks, the truth was that we knew it’s a gift to live anywhere near the way, the values and the Kingdom of Jesus. You can’t put a price tag on the treasure Jesus gives.

So I may be mean, judgmental and a troubler of evangelical Israel, but I’m not jealous of Osteen.

I’m not jealous of his message, because there’s no treasure of Christ in it. It’s a message of good works and human efforts at manipulating God. You can have it.

I’m not jealous of having to answer for what you did with $73 million dollars a year, enough money to do things that could fill dozens and dozens of pages of requests at any missions or mercy agency.

I’m not jealous of those who are departing from the faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, the Apostles and the train of saints for the power of positive thinking and human motivation toward health, materialism and “God’s favor.”

I’m not jealous of reinventing the Kingdom Gospel of Jesus into something utterly unrelated to the message of the New Testament.

I may not always be happy in God, and I whine entirely too much, but I’m not going to have to confess much jealousy of Joel Osteen.

If you are a young person, married couple or single interested in a ministry in residential Christian education, drop me a line and ask any questions that might help you discern God’s direction.

If you are one of the thousands of people doing good work in small, faithful, Kingdom valuing ministries that never get on Larry King or 60 Minutes, then God bless you and all you touch.

Comments

  1. This ministry … As long as I have been involved with them, they have never called me or mailed me asking for money.

    Then they deserve to be publicized, IMonk. Do you know how many “ministries” I only hear about through their “GIMME MONEY!” junk mail? I support HLA Minnesota specifically BECAUSE they never hit me up for money.

    It’s a message of good works and human efforts at manipulating God.

    Isn’t “human efforts at manipulating/controlling the supernatural” the basic definition of Magick with a K?

  2. It’s a Theology of Glory that draws man to crave the big $$ and the huge auditorium full of people who call themselves believers. These people want the new houses, the bigger cars, the exposure to the guy on TV….your best life now, etc.

    It’s the Theology of the Cross that draws the true believers to where the blood of Christ is preached. It’s where the law is preached to convict the people and where the Gospel is preached to the repentent. Unfortunately, the Theology of the Cross is offensive to petty Americans who want their ears tickled and they don’t flock to the churches that tell them they are sinners.

    There is NOTHING in Joel Osteen of which to be envious or jealous. Joel leads people to their damnation.

    I would rather be in a small parish with an underpaid pastor who preaches his heart out and with believers in Christ hearing the Law and the Gospel preached in their fulness than in a sports stadium where I am told that I can be happier if I just try harder. The former is Scripture..the Latter is Death.

  3. I’d have to admit I’m jealous of Osteen.

    But only in the sense that God is jealous of other gods. It is such an incredible, mind-buggering waste that all those people who could be hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ are feeding at Osteen’s trough of crap.

    In the past I’ve been guilty of defending the dude because I figured he was ministering to the already-saved, and good solid discipleship is extremely lacking among the TV preachers. But having watched enough of his shows, reading enough of his materials, and finding no training in righteousness among them, I can only conclude that he’s yet another distraction placed in the path of the Church to keep our eyes off Jesus.

    Wanna know how to develop a megachurch and a million-dollar ministry in a hurry? Create an organization that the devil would feel comfortable working with.

  4. yup.

  5. marymargaret says

    Wow, Michael (I hope it’s OK to call you Michael–sometimes I feel like I know you through this blog–although I know that’s an illusion). Anyway, I am very impressed by the ministry that you describe. Sounds like you and the others are truly doing the work that Christ calls us to do. I am a Catholic who is proud to call you a brother in Christ. I resisted commenting on the Osteen post, because I didn’t have much to say about his ministry that you hadn’t already said, but the contrast here is clear. One ministry is about the Gospel, truly helping others and trying to do God’s will. The other is about self-motivation, self-actualization, self, self, self. Of course it’s attractive to hear that God will give you what you want, but the Gospel is about salvation through Jesus Christ, not better living through Joel Osteen.

    May God bless this ministry to His will. You and all those who work with you will be in my prayers. (BTW, St Francis is one of my personal favorites, too!)

  6. Amen.

  7. Great, great stuff. The goodness (and challenges) of the gospel shine through in this post, and it was a great encouragement. You and Denise are living out the gospel call in a way that really inspires us, and we appreciate it.

  8. Preach on brother Michael!!! I never was nor will be a fan or follower of “Blinky-Blink Boy” Joel Osteen. I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I am one who holds the treasure of Jesus in “jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11). I have personally been blessed by the Lord and suffered many a day. I am weak and broken…on the road to sanctification. Joel and his arm ornament wife, with their road to riches gospel are not the standards I esteem to…it is Christ, a man who was broken, beaten and died for my sinful nature. My riches are in heaven. However, while on earth, I am honored to take up my cross and live for Christ through my charitable ministries and I personally live for the opportunity to share Christ with others, as our Lord would ordain. I try not to get too worked up over these false, (wealthy), well prmoted teachers. They will have to answer to our Lord one day and justify what they did in His name. So…look out Paula White…I would do some serious soul searching and repenting if I were you: Judgement day is coming…for all of us 🙁

  9. Michael,

    The town where I minister has around 500 people. My wife and I live in a small parsonage by the church. I make very little money for what I do, and even with driving a school bus on the side, it is very difficult to make ends meet.
    The church I pastor had suffered through a split a few years before I came here and has not had a full-time pastor in those years. I was their next Pastor, and this was my first church. A combination that has made me question my calling (and sanity) more than once during the long watches of the night.
    This post lifted my spirits more than I can express.

    God Bless You Brother.
    John

  10. Joel O is nothing more than a motivational speaker wearing a cross instead of carrying one. He and his snake-oil counterparts interest me none at all, but I haved prayed long for those who take up his yoke. ‘Nuff said.
    I have been following your site and podcasts only recently & it is a blessing to have found you, brother. Your post was probably meant as a comparison study between two different ministries, but I have rarely come across anything as inspiring as the work of you and your colleagues. I envy you in your ministry and the oppurtunity you have been blessed with in aiding in the spiritual development of young people. I pray for a similiar oppurtunity to serve my Lord and Savior to come my way. You are truly rich.

  11. Great post! I feel much better about my small place in the Kingdom of God than I did a few moments ago.

    This line made me laugh though from another comment:

    “I would rather be in a small parish with an underpaid pastor who preaches his heart out…”

    Why in the world would you want to have a pastor that is underpaid? Shame on you! Real, genuine, true God called pastors may never make it rich and have their “best life now” (I had to do it), but this notion of an underpaid pastor is somewhat more holier or spiritual than a well paid pastor is a complete falsehood. Pay the pastor well, and he’ll have an easier time being your pastor.

  12. Wow, iMonk. I can’t quite get my thoughts together, but this is one of your most meaningful posts.

  13. I know a man who has a tendency to become enthralled with each “new” ministry – prosperity, Joel O, etc. – and yet is the unhappiest Christian I’ve met with the most family problems. His whole life has been spent trying to be Godblessed rather than focusing his heart, mind, and strength on loving God. How do these Christians keep ignoring the fact that to love Christ is to let your ego and selfishness go?

  14. Beautiful post, Michael.

    Ironically, it sounds like you are the one who has truly found ‘the best life now’. You make me wish I were not so lousy at teaching…

  15. Richard Hershberger says

    A secular equivalent of this discussion goes like this:

    A: “This best-selling novel really isn’t very good.”

    B: “But it sold tons of copies and made lots of money.”

    A: “I’m not talking about sales figures. I’m talking about literary quality.”

    B: “But it sold tons of copies and made lots of money.”

    A: “Yes, I understand that; but popularity and quality are two different things.”

    B: “But it sold tons of copies and made lots of money.”

    A: “Yes, yes. It sold well. I’m talking about something else entirely.”

    B: “You are just jealous.”

    The underlying assumption is that making money is the only possible motivation. Anything else is just smokescreen and rationalization. This is fine in the context of potboiler fiction. It is what it is, which is harmless. When religion is the medium, this is not so fine.

  16. Monk,

    Man, thank you so much. While I’m not above bashing Osteen and his ilk, your post was not that at all. Instead, it was an encouragement to the MANY ministers who work in small, obscure, underpaying ministries in whatever capacity: preacher, housemother, missionary, teacher, etc. Yeah, it’s easy to get jealous of the megachurch guys with their huge churches, lavish lifestyles, and enormous salaries, but that’s just the devil trying to lure us away. I’m starting to realize that the most joyous place to be is not the place with the biggest compensation package, best chance for book deals, or publicity, but the place where God calls us. And that is the very place where our gifts can be used most effectively for His Kingdom, and that just might be Harlan County, KY, the savannas of Africa, or the inner city of St. Louis.

    Thanks so much for the encouragement. The next time I get envious of the private jet of the mega-guy or gal, I’ll remember your words and keep on keeping on for His glory!

  17. I’ve been checking out your recent Osteen threads, IMonk, and the common theme in the comments seems to be Osteenistas calling Jihad on you. As in “YOU BLASPHEME THE NAME OF OSTEEN! DIE, HERETIC!” until you shut down comments.

    One point you made in your initial Osteen posting of the series was whether church ladies go Osteenista because “he’s so cute” and transferred mothering. I believe the guy over at ChurchForMen.com who wrote Why Men Hate Going to Church has made the same observation somewhere in his book. A feminized church will go for matinee idols who punch their “mommy” and/or “potential boyfriend who’s just-one-of-the-girls” buttons.

    I would rather be in a small parish with an underpaid pastor who preaches his heart out… — PHW

    My writing partner is a badly-underpaid pastor of a small rural church who does preach his heart out (however, his congregation only wants him to keep them comfortable 24/7/365 all the way to the grave). With a wife and three kids to support on basically minimum wage plus the continous abuse he gets from his itchy-eared congregation, he’s desperately trying to find a secular job and get away before he burns out completely. He’s told me he’s seen too many pastors’ widows dumpster-diving for a living.

  18. Folks

    Remember to pray for Michael and Denise in light of Michael’s request of August 18, 2007.

    The things that I hear about Joel Osteen I used to also hear about Robert Schuller back when he was a whipping boy. About three or four years ago I was in a class with Jack Hayford and he told us that we would be amazed at the difference between Schuller’s national and international personna and ministry and what really goes on at Crystal Cathedral. He said that they do solid discipling and evangelism indicating that he knew that from solid information and his personal friendship with Schuller.

    I for one will withhold much of my judgment until I see what they are teaching at Lakewood in their discipling and membership classed, their small groups etc. And I don’t really feel like tracking it down.

    I will say that I see very few churches where such a seemingly large percentage of the congregation carry such obviously well read Bibles(at least form what I see on the first five minutes–never watched more than his opening joke because Sunday night is for ESPN wrap ups).

  19. In light of my previous post–if you go to Witherington’s post on Osteen and look at the third comment down from “Sue”. I think it illustrates what I’m talking about. I’m not saying Osteen has great or even accurate theology on everything I’m just leery of broad statements that are being made about Lakewood with no first hand knowledge of their ministry.

  20. Hello! As the president of our local Gideons “camp”, I immediately knew the ministry you were referring to, and since an earlier commenter seemed to be interested in its identity, I have no compunction against saying that it was the Gideons. I am very glad you have had such a good experience with the Gideons ministry, who has also been spreading the Word for over 100 years.

  21. Nicholas Anton says

    Thanks for the post Michael. It clarifies some questions I have had.

    The problem of underpay and lack of appreciation are not only inherent in Christian service and the pastorate, but also in a large sector of the working force, especially when applied to small business owners. Very often they are forced to work late into the night just to put bread on their own table, after not having earned enough during regular hours to pay their workers wages and the business expenses. To top it off, few fellow church members support the businesses of fellow Christians, because, as they claim, they are obligated to support the non believers as a witness to them. If that doesn’t ring true, they avoid Christian businesses because they are afraid of rifts between brothers because of controversies over guarantees and the likes. Then too, some business owners refuse to be dishonest both to and for their customers, and the general opinion of Christians is “Why don’t they do what the world does”. Yes, most Christian customers prefer to be lied to and lied for if it brings financial gain and false security.

    Last Sunday, Phm 1:5 caught my attention. “Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;” Note! The verse not only speaks of love, but also of faith towards other believers. How much faith do we in fact have and practice towards other believers? Do we trust them to do what is right. Actually, very seldom.

    Following is a short anecdotal story.
    In the mid eighties, just prior to the change over to unleaded fuel, I rebuilt a 350 Chev. van engine for a Christian, who had gone “charismatic”, customer. (While I am a musician by training, I am an engine rebuilder/automotive machinist by trade.) Everything was built to the then current specs. Six months later, because of new government regulations, leaded fuel was no longer available, and therefore only unleaded fuel could be used. That fact, combined with a faulty carburetor replaced at the local GM dealership, resulted in valve train failure at 37,000 miles, 13 months after the rebuild.
    The customer returned the vehicle to my shop for diagnoses and repair. I repaired the engine by replacing the guides and installing hardened exhaust seats. When the customer came for his vehicle, I handed him the bill. In a shocked tone he exclaimed, “You mean I have to pay for this?” I explained to him that the guarantee was over both in time and mileage. I also could not fault myself because of a government mandated change in the fuel that created abnormal wear problems. Furthermore, I could not afford to extend guarantee beyond the normal time and mileage. “It is hard enough to make a living without the additional expenses” I explained. He retorted, “If you would make things right with God, things would go better for you.” (I have no idea as to what he was referring) There was a brief gap of silence. Then a thought hit me. “By the way, It was not my truck that failed, but yours”, I responded. After an awkward silence, the customer paid his bill and continued to give me business with an improved attitude.

    Remember, the material world does not have a different standard for unbelievers than for believers.

  22. Art/Ken,

    You miss my point.

    And no, I won’t take the time to explain it to you. And yes, underpaid pastors and pastors treated like hirelines are crimes against the church.

  23. May God’s blessings be upon you, Michael.

  24. Brandon T Milan says

    Honestly, the only difference I see between a lot of the Southern Baptist megachurches (and those that aspire to be so) and Osteen’s church is that they do at least preach the gospel… at some point. The gated community lifestyle is still flaunted by the staff. The women adorn themselves with expensive jewelry and clothes. Many of the members are business owners or doctors who are there just to find clients.

    I work at a church that is a strange mesh between an innercity church and a backwoods country church (in Western North Carolina); its by no means a megachurch… but even still, the prosperity gospel has been interwoven throughout. Things like, “if you’ll give, God will bless you” and “you need to teach sunday school, if you do, you’ll be setting yourself up for a blessing.” There is always some more “blessing” to get.

    the point I’m trying to make is that the reason why people have not risen up against people like Osteen, is because when it comes down to it, they’re just like him. Christians all over the nation live lavish lifestyles, preach one form or another of the prosperity gospel, aspire to be famous, etc….

    If you call Osteen out, you’re calling most American Christians out. And most people don’t like that kinda thing. But it needs to be done.

  25. I WAS going to post a tongue-in-cheek of why you’re jealous but you beat me to it. Instead you included a great story of the dedication of low paid disciple-makers.

    I’m far more concerned about this nation who can’t say enough about Osteen. Of course, he sounds great at first but over a long haul? Don’t they get tired of reality not meshing to what he has preached? Is it possible God raised up Osteen intentionally to show us what Christians in this nation have come to?

    Aside from this. In the eternal realms there will be people grateful to you and your colleagues for their selfless contributions to the buildings of precious metals and stones that will be tested with fire that Paul spoke of. You didn’t build with straw and stubble nor did you give such to others to build with.

  26. Nicholas Anton says

    Michael;

    You are correct when you state in the previous post,
    “MEN abandoning their place in the church is one reason for the ascendancy of Osteen, so blame us”.

    However, one can not totally blame men for this dilemma. A major reason for men abandoning their place is the democratic process. Since all, whether male or female have an equal vote in contemporary society including the church, and since women are the majority in most churches, and since by nature they tend to shy from confrontation more than men, what is left for true men to do but to join in the emotionally oriented praise and worship, or abandon ship altogether. While I am not recommending physical warfare, when Truth is at stake, polemical warfare is necessary.
    Paul promotes discernment and confrontation;
    1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
    1Co 11:19 “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”
    Discernment requires confrontation, and confrontation may result in polemical battle in order to divide Truth from error.
    Allow men to be men, and they will again put on the whole armor of God, and in taking up their cross will also take up the sword of the Spirit, and do Spiritual battle for Christ and His church. Tether them and confuse their masculinity by majority vote, and they will become like Nero and the dying Roman empire.

  27. Thanks for sharing this Michael. It is a timely perspective as I am in seminary and need to begin “choosing” a church for residency and feel the creepy crawly claws of pride gripping me and coaxing me in a decision that would be unwise and un-kingdom like.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing a glimps of your world…it sounds fantastic!
    -jeremy

  28. Jason S. Kong says

    My girlfriend told me one day that whenever she listens to the Prosperity Gospel, she gets a growing fear that there is no life after death. Osteen, Meyers, Jakes, Hinn, et al.

    One side of her family preaches and practices Prosperity Gospel. Her statement makes me shiver with such coldness when I think upon them.

    I look at my pastor right now – one of his sons fathering a child out of wedlock, that woman perhaps never ending up together with him, his wife in perpetual depression, a face that even when smiling can only be reserved… his salary is not great, and neither is his life, but I do not think he would be jealous, either.

  29. Michael,

    You’ve encouraged me today. I’ve been ministering for over 16 years in a small church in central Virginia. I’ve got a number of friends who graduated from college about the same time I did that work in much bigger churches, pull down much bigger salaries, enjoy much bigger budgets, involved in much bigger programs, receiving much greater notoriety than I could ever dream of receiving. Sometimes I do get jealous. I know in my heart that they are no more gifted than I am and that I could be doing the same things they’re doing and more if given the opportunity. But then I look around at what God is doing in the lives of the people in the church community He has placed me in, and I realize that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Because in the end it’s not about me. It never was. It’s about what God wants to do though me, which is infinitely more than what I could do on my own. Thanks for helping me remember that today.

  30. My girlfriend told me one day that whenever she listens to the Prosperity Gospel, she gets a growing fear that there is no life after death. Osteen, Meyers, Jakes, Hinn, et al. — Jason Kong

    Going out-of-balance like that usually triggers others to go equally out-of-balance in the opposite direction. I would expect a reaction concentrating only on the afterlife to the point of asceticism or total indifference to the here-and-now. Or maybe we’ve already seen that in a lot of Evangelical Protestants (especially the Left Behinders) and Osteen et al is the reaction.

    I think C.S.Lewis said the Devil sends temptations/sins in opposite pairs, so that in fleeing from one we end up embracing the other.

  31. You know I’d tell you when your mainspring is popping out, Michael, but this is exactly right — this post is -exactly- why Joel Osteen is reprehensible. When you say this:

    [QUOTE]
    So I may be mean, judgmental and a troubler of evangelical Israel, but I’m not jealous of Osteen.

    I’m not jealous of his message, because there’s no treasure of Christ in it. It’s a message of good works and human efforts at manipulating God. You can have it.
    [/QUOTE]

    That’s it. And if anyone wants to count that as jealousy, nuts to them. God is jealous, and I stand with Him. Joel Osteen can’t stand where God stands, and when Joel takes God out of the middle of the picture — even if he doesn’t put anything in God’s place — he’s calling down God’s jealousy.

    If your stick breaks beating on this issue, I’ll hand you another one. Swing harder: this horse has been known to fake being dead and then claiming it has risen from the grave.

  32. Ken: yoga can help with that.

    How do you say it? j/n?