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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

God helps those who help themselves

The Wire: Lakewood Church — the giant Houston headquarters of celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s evangelical empire — alerted its congregants that as much as $600,000 in cash and checks were taken from the building over the weekend. Even more concerning: The stolen goods include envelopes on which congregants wrote down their credit card information.

According to an email from Lakewood,  the theft “is limited only to those funds contributed in the church services on Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9, 2014,” and does not include donations made electronically. A church employee discovered the theft on Monday morning.

Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen are well-known proponents of a modern version of the prosperity gospel — a theology that believes God blesses people with material success. Among evangelicals, it’s a theologically controversial, yet obviously appealing approach to Christianity…
Osteen’s “prosperity gospel” scam is almost beautiful in it’s simplicity. The marks are told that God rewards the righteous with money, so they should send the church money and then God will reward them. Those God favors most are therefore the richest, so obviously the wealthiest Christians are the most righteous and the obvious leaders. Shut up and do what rich people tell you to and you’ll get rich too. Coincidentally, Osteen — having collected all this money from the marks — is the richest guy in his church. So he says send him more money and lather, rinse, repeat. And, of course, the flock has to go out and spread the Gospel, which means Osteen gets even more of everyone’s money as time goes on.

It’s a tremendous perversion of everything taught in the Sermon on the Mount, but since when have evangelists given a damn what Jesus actually said?

But seems that someone in Osteen’s congregation decided that God was getting a little slow in the rewarding department. That person is now more than a half-million dollars more blessed and Osteen’s church is now out that money — with the very real possibility of further loss. By the rules of his own con, Osteen’s righteousness and fitness to lead has take a pretty decent hit and some unknown prophet/thief is now a half-million dollars closer to the Almighty.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

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