Positive Thoughts

The Prosperity Gospel, The Secret, the Prayer of Jabez, What the Bleep?... like many people who desire to orient my life around the love of God rather than my desires, I find many of the pop-culture "think positive and get what you want" movements to be troubling. I think they are primrose paths that distract people into a tar-baby-like relationship with their appetites, encouraging a focus on the stuff of ambition rather than cultivating a deep faith shaped by gratitude for blessings and … [Read more...]

The Prosperity Mongers

I spoke with an editor of a large faith-oriented website yesterday; I had pitched a couple of ideas to this site and hadn't had any luck getting a contract. We talked about how most of their readers were looking for breezy, self-help articles. He mentioned Joel Osteen more than once.When I think about folks like Joel Osteen or Rhonda Byrne (author of The Secret), I have deeply ambivalent feelings. On the one hand, no one can argue with the worldly success of such things as the Law of … [Read more...]

Your Best Theology Now?

Over the past few months two different friends, both of whom I respect dearly, both theologically informed, liberal-minded folks, suggested I read Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Osteen is kind of our generation's answer to Norman Vincent Peale, a wildly successful prosperity gospel preacher based in Texas. He's the pastor of what I understand is America's largest congregation, has his own TV show, etc. and this book has sold upwards of four million … [Read more...]