Joel Osteen is the Tim Tebow of television ministers.
He’s pleasant, upbeat, humble and filled with faith.
Which means some folks simply can’t stand him.
Now Utahns will have a chance to take the measure of the man themselves.
I already have my ticket.
Osteen is the 50-year-old pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston. Each week he fills the pews of his enormous building and reaches another 7 million people in 100 countries through television.
He’d never preached a sermon until he replaced his father in the pulpit in 1999 at the age of 36.
He’s enormously successful, so — as you can imagine — there is a whole legion of souls who love to complain about him.
Critics say he preaches too much about positive thinking and not enough about Jesus.
Critics say he’s immature, superficial, too clever for his own good.
They say he smiles too much.
(Once, in answer to that last complaint, he had his special effects people make his teeth sparkle for home viewers like white sapphires).
Osteen shrugs off the criticism and continues in his homespun, happy ways — which only makes the naysayers spit more nails.
But, history and style aside, the question must always be: Does he have a worthwhile message?
I think he does. In fact, I think Joel Osteen probably has more to say to today’s Christians than many megachurch pulpit pounders.
(Readers who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might also be interested to know that when Fox News asked him if he thought Mormons were Christians, he answered with a simple “Yes.”)
Here are some Osteen-isms that reflect the power of his positive thinking:
“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond don’t allow negative people to steal your joy.”
“When you anticipate something good, that allows God to show up and do amazing things. Sometimes you will see major improvements in your life if you just make a minor adjustment.”
“Someone around you is craving your blessing. Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone needs to be appreciated.”
“Handling difficult people with grace and good humor disarms them and builds your character.”
I can’t speak for Tim Tebow, but I have to think even the upbeat quarterback would say “amen” to such sentiments.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company