God Without The Fuss

Joel Osteen, GOOD Magazine
I’m surprised that there hasn’t been much talk about this article in the blogosphere. What I’m referring to is an interesting piece of writing from GOOD Magazine (Dec Issue) on America’s favorite pastor with the pearly whites. [link: “God Without The Fuss“] It’s titled so appropriately. Isn’t that what people really want? God without the fuss? Well they’re getting plenty of it because America is in no short supply of Jesus junk. Osteen is American Christianity at its best. What I find interesting is how a non-faith-based magazine is able to point out what’s missing from America’s most mega megachurch.

“He’s so careful not to offend that he won’t…discuss whether or not his non-Christian followers – and there are many – will make it into Heaven. ’I feel like it can almost divide the audience I’m trying to reach,’ he says.”

“Missing from Osteen’s message, however, is Christianity’s darker side: Heaven and Hell, sin and salvation, suffering and sacrifice.” – Thomas Golianopoulos

For as long as I can remember pastors, leaders, and church folk in general around me have always wondered about this fellow without directly calling him out. They’ve watched his aired programs and some have gone all the way to Houston, Texas to observe him live. It’s not what he says as much as what he doesn’t say and this article calls him out on that.

He appears to do all the right things. He’s charismatic. He does appear to be having his “Best Life Now” with a picture perfect family and a successful church.

Enough about the smiling pastor and his megachurch. However we may judge we must also ask ourselves, what are the messages and values that we communicate from our pulpits? What do we teach our congregations through the songs that we sing? Are we really all that different from the Osteen way?

Quite often today it seems like we don’t deal quite adequately enough with Christianity’s “darker side”. More importantly we don’t talk enough or at all about the way of the cross – discipleship, sin, restoration, forgiveness and mercy. We don’t address the issues of sex, money, power in our lives honestly nor frequently enough.

Going to church ought to mean the place and people we exercise faith thinking and living through and with. Leaving a church does not involve unmet needs or desires but rather about calling and being missional. Jesus didn’t promise that we will be without troubles on this side of heaven. BTW, Jesus doesn’t just love you.

God without the fuss is just prozac.


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[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.

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