So is the smiling preacher Joel Osteen a fake? Tough call on what constitutes fakery.
- Does he have an "agenda" to convert everyone to Christianity?
- Does he want to impose his religious views on everyone else, a type of religious imperialism?
- Is it his goal to build a religious empire?
- Is he in it just for the money?
- Is his laid back approach some kind of front to appeal to the more secular audience?
- Does he preach one thing and act another way off camera?
To paraphrase a line from his interview with Larry King -- I really don't know what's in his heart. That's between him and his big "G" god. If Joel Osteen is a fake then that's his problem and he'll get the whammy at some point. Heh, now that's my non-Christian view.
In my opinion, I do believe he is sincere in what he preaches. At least that's the vibe I get from him. All the other religious TV screamers seem to be these thin-lipped, glossy-eyed, grinning mechanoid zealots who give me the jeebies. Joel is really laid back. That's cool.
I've been watching Joel on TV for about a year now and I wanted to see what he was like at one of his rolling preacher shows.
On July 7th a friend and I got to see Joel at the Pond in Southern California. Actually, it was more than just Joel -- the show included his wife Victoria Osteen, his son, his daughter, his surgeon brother Paul Osteen, as well as his mother. I guess the family that prays together stays together. *groan*
It wasn't an overly great show -- see my Pond review. However, I did get to watch Joel very carefully when he was on stage and he didn't seem to be putting on an act -- as strange as that sounds. He just seemed
to be out there trying to encourage people to be happy and motivated. He talked a bit and then stepped back to either let someone else in the family speak or to just bop to the music. Then he would speak a little
more and step back again.
I do think the persona that Joel exhibited during the Larry King interview is what he is really like. Sort of this reluctant, behind-the-scenes guy who is being thrust into a religious leader role. Actually, that lack of fire and brimstone attitude probably got him into some hot water during the Larry King interview since he wasn't
forceful enough to condemn other religions. And for that he gets slammed so he has to issue an apology.
I don't think Joel Osteen is a fake. I just think he's a nice guy.