Full disclosure: I have strong feelings about Joel Osteen. For years, I’ve kept pretty quiet, as I don’t want to discourage the countless people I know for whom the Osteen empire is their only source of spiritual food. It’s milk, not meat … but at least it’s something—or, that has been my thinking.
The other side of me, however—also known as “Susan, you’re turning into your mother”—feels the need to expose a recent trend I’ve noticed that should trouble anyone who calls themselves a “Christ follower” (a distinction that I’ve grown to love, as I care less and less these days about the various branches and denominations of Christianity).
Before I continue, and lest you call me a legalist … here’s my three-point Christ follower litmus test:
* Do you love Jesus and acknowledge you are nothing apart from His amazing grace? — Great.
* Do you desire to follow Him according to His word? — Awesome.
* Do you share Him with others? — Perfect.
… that’s really all I need. It’s just about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.
It occurred to me the other day that I’ve seldom heard Osteen really discuss Jesus. I know he has, but I (for my own amusement and occasional pep talk) follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and couldn’t recall ever seeing a Christ-centric post.
I had to investigate. I went back through every post for 12 months on both Facebook and Twitter—I know, ugh—and sure enough … no Jesus.
Now, in the interest of fairness, I searched the sites of other Christian leaders I follow. Perhaps this was just a fluke? Maybe I’m conjuring up a controversy where there should be none. Clearly I’m not objective on this matter, so I did my homework.
My findings? Pretty telling.
Below is a list of Facebook accounts, along with how far back I had to go in these folks’ timelines to find the name “Jesus.”
Tony Evans: 8 hours
Joyce Meyer: 11 hours
Alistair Begg: 1 day
Chuck Swindoll: 4 days
Kay Arthur: 4 days
Timothy Keller: 6 days
Rick Warren: 30 days
Joel Osteen: 369 days (*There is, however, a recent post about the Son of God movie.)
I must say Osteen’s timeline wasn’t void of references to God. There are plenty. There is also an alarming abundance of the word “you” (or variations such as “you’re, and “you’ll)—32 on his Twitter timeline in the past week. And, despite the suspicious absence of our Lord and Savior … my experience wasn’t completely for naught. I can honestly say that, having strolled through 369 days of Osteen posts, I feel happier, prettier, more successful—heck, I might just Breakout!
Do what you will with this, folks. I’m just reporting what I found. And, honestly? I would appreciate your feedback. Does this bother you like it does me? Am I splitting hairs?
Talk to me.
(Please don’t hold your breath for the Holy Spirit post; there aren’t enough hours in the day.)
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” — Acts 4:12