We’ve been checking out some different churches recently. Visited one this past Sunday and thought, “not bad, nice sermon, good music, people seem friendly.” On the way out, in the lobby, they had some books for sale and I can never resist browsing books.
I was a little disappointed in the offering – there was the usual fare; Rick Warren’s PDL (yawn), some Ryan Dobson and Josh Harris (Kiss Carbon Dating Goodbye), Donald Miller (have you noticed how he and his friends smoke a lot of ‘pipes’?….hmm). Pretty conservative for my tastes but at least there weren’t any TD Jakes or Tim LaHayes.
And then I saw IT! The familiar cover, the blue suit, the big gleaming smile, the spit curls:…..Joel Osteen’s” Live Your Best Life Now.!“ (uh-oh….what’s this? I think this book tells me more about this church than I need to know. Iicksnay on the urchay?)
But am I being fair? I mean, I’ve never even read the guy’s book. I only know him from TV, but that’s enough to turn me off. Like so many of these folks; big, big church, $1000 suits, lots of flash, new age message. (Although to be honest, his setup is much more tastefully done than any of that sybaritic junk on TBN –what’s with that stuff, anyway?) From what I’ve seen, his message smacks of the Prosperity Gospel that has been all the rage. Precursor to the “Secret”.
Plus it used to burn my butt that my local Christian bookstore wouldn’t carry books by McLaren, Willard, Manning and others because they weren’t ‘biblical’ enough. (What does that mean?!) But they had Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Jakes and….Joel Osteen?
Tell me; am I off base on Osteen? Do I have him pegged wrong? What do you guys think of him? (I did hear him interviewed on Larry King and he seemed pretty sensible but …..)
Also, am I wrong for judging a church by it’s book covers? I don’t want to be presumptuous but wouldn’t the literature that churches promote be indicative of where their theology is grounded? Especially if the book offering isn’t particularly ‘balanced’ – presenting just one perspective of God?
Sorry if I’ve knocked any of your favorite authors, but you’ll get over it.