Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

SiriusXM has announced that Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen and his wife and co-pastor Victoria Osteen will host an exclusive radio Town Hall broadcast from New York City this Sunday (10/5) at 5:00 PM (ET). The event will air on Joel Osteen Radio, the pastor’s exclusive SiriusXM channel which launched one year ago. The channel is available to SiriusXM subscribers nationwide.

The Osteens will be joined in the SiriusXM studios by an intimate audience who will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with their hosts. Joel Osteen’s newest book, The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today, is set to be released on Monday (10/6).

Today (10/3) is the 16th anniversary of Osteen’s installation as Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church. Since that day in 1999, he has grown the church his father founded into America’s largest Christian congregation and has written several bestselling books. He has also garnered criticism  for declining to become involved in political issues (which he views as outside his mission) and for supposedly preaching a “prosperity gospel” that suggests that God rewards Christian faith (and financial donations) with financial blessings. Regarding the allegation, Osteen notes that his sermons focus on blessings other money and that he never actually asks for monetary donations (though they do come).

IMHO: As some who has listened to and, frankly, been inspired by Osteen’s sermons over the years, I personally suspect that his critics don’t actually listen to what the man really says. While he does talk aspirationally about the power of a positive God-given dream, he also talks about the importance of fulfilling that dream in the service of God by using your gifts and talents to help others. His focus on the values of gratitude, cheerfulness, kindness, non-judgement and forgiveness is, in my view, a welcome alternative to messages of judgement against anyone who doesn’t look, think or act in a certain way.

So, congratulations to Mr. Osteen — and here are a couple of his sermons that particularly moved me.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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