Joel Osteen and Pope Francis

Joel Osteen the prosperity preacher from Houston has just moved up from his $2m mansion to a $10m mansion. Here’s the news.

This is one of the things that tickle me about American Protestantism. These are the folks who have traditionally beat the Catholics with a big stick about the Pope living in a palace surrounded by rich art works.

The other thing is the way Protestants will beat up on Catholics for having a highly exalted infallible leader who is treated like a celebrity. Duh. The problem with them is not that they don’t have a Pope, but that they have 30,000 popes. Every pastor a pope, and Pope Osteen is just one among many.

So Pope Francis lives in a modest suite in a functional hostel while Pope Joel lives in a palace in Houston. Even when the popes lived in the apostolic palace they only lived in a comparatively modest apartment in the palace, and all that art? It’s history and heritage. He doesn’t own it. It belongs to the world–witness the crowds who come and go talking of Michelangelo.

But who am I to judge? They say Joel Osteen makes all his loot from sale of his books and calendars and self help T-shirts. He’s welcome to it I guess, and who knows, he might live like a prince of the Church on a fraction of his takings. He might give 90% of his wealth to the poor. So live and let live and let God be the judge.

But when it comes to appearances, when it comes to the one who seems to live the life of apostolic simplicity– Pope Francis wins.

For that matter, he wins with the gospel he’s preaching too. The American prosperity gospel is a false gospel. It’s no surprise that Osteen’s church doesn’t have a cross in it. Neither does the gospel he’s preaching.

Just thought…are there any photoshoppers out there who can send me a pic of Osteen being carried around in the sedia gestatoria?

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