I had a run-in with Osteen's church, back before it moved to downtown Houston, and maybe before Joel took over; I can't remember that detail now. The Houston UCC churches had set up a low-income housing facility many years before I got here, and every year the churches tried to round up Thanksgiving dinners for the residents. But our churches were getting smaller and more elderly and on more fixed incomes, so donations were not what they used to be, and Lakewood was near enough by it had brought Thanksgiving dinners for a few years.
But the year in question, they decided not to do that. They told the residents, few of whom had cars, to come to Lakewood to pick up the food. We found another way to provide Thanksgiving that year, as I recall.
So now comes this contretemps over Lakewood's downtown former basketball arena being open to Harvey victims. What I know about this I've read on in the internet, but this article seems the best summation of the story. It does seem Osteen had to be shamed into doing the right thing, and he took his own sweet time and offered up a bevy of excuses for not doing it (and the place still isn't a shelter; or it only will be if they are satisfied no other shelter space is available, so I'm not holding my breath).
And it's worth noting J.J. Watt has already donated $500 million of his own money toward relief for Houston, and is taking donations through his charity that's already established. Lakewood is collecting clothes, pillows, towels, etc., for distribution. But I don't think they're distributing the stuff themselves (that would be helpful) and no word on any donations from the Osteen's. All we've had from them is tweets.
I guess God will make the newly homeless rich, or something.
My daughter's comment on this was that Lakewood is not a church, it's a business. Spoken like a preacher's kid. Still, there are businesses, and then there are businesses.
When your megachurch is less welcoming to #Harvey victims than a furniture superstore, the IRS should terminate your tax exemption pic.twitter.com/77W6aWsZH7— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) August 29, 2017
Please note these two furniture stores opened on Sunday, and Lakewood finally opened as a "distribution center" today.