Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Osteen article

This one is written in a strange voice (HT: JT). Those first-person sentences in the opening and closing paragraphs have to be sarcastic, right? But they're just . . . weird . . . and they don't fit with the rest of the profile, which has a more even tone. But it's worth reading the whole thing.

A couple pieces of punditry: The historical backdrop of Osteen's theology reads a little clumsily. If I were going to mention only two movements as the "leads-up-to" of Osteen, they wouldn't be Puritanism and evangelicalism. The holiness/Pentecostal movement and the faith cure movement seem more relevant.

The part of the article that describes (unflatteringly) how Osteen looks when crying turns me off. In the book Jim & Casper Go to Church (spoken of the last time we talked about Osteen), a couple of preachers get criticized for "choking up" (presumably for manipulative purposes) at the end of the sermon. As someone who is given to excessive lacrimosity* myself, I'd like to protest that some of us just can't help it. I preached a sermon a couple of weeks ago and ended up trying to keep the moisture in my eyes and nose from getting out of hand. I didn't plan on it; sometimes it happens that way. I don't know if Osteen's faking it, but since I'd like people to give me the benefit of the doubt, that's what I owe him.

*This phrase stolen from Jonah Goldberg, who attributed it to William F. Buckley.

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