On Monday, millionaire pastor Joel Osteen taught more Americans via his actions than he’ll ever do in a sermon. At least initially, Osteen refused to open the doors of his Houston megachurch to people displaced by Tropical Storm Harvey. Even though he eventually reversed himself and defended his conduct in evasive media interviews, Osteen’s message was clear: Don’t count on religious leaders to do what’s right.But, here's the thing:
Houston Christians did more than pray from the dry refuge of their homes or evacuation spots. Clergymen were featured in a couple viral news reports from Sunday: a preacher who checked submerged cars for trapped drivers, and a priest who tried to paddle his way to Mass at Houston’s Catholic Charismatic Center.The 24/7 press coverage on local TV I'm watching obsessively (it's on practically 24/7 at Casa Adventus) runs a continual crawl of churches open as shelters for those displaced by flood waters. And mosques in Houston opened their doors almost immediately, and kept them open.
Several churches located on higher ground served as temporary shelters or meeting points for evacuees. Members with clear routes shuttled friends or dropped off supplies.
“Right now we are getting supplies together to take to a few area shelters. Baby stuff seems to be in short supply,” said Jason Crandall, pastor of CityView Church in Pearland, a southern suburb.
You see, the thing about "religious leaders" is they tend to be people anointed by the media as "leaders." Osteen leads his church, and nothing more. Robert Jeffress leads his church, and serves on the President's evangelical council, and nothing more. The true "religious leaders" are pastors and priests serving congregations and putting the concept of "pastoral care" into practice through their actions and the lives of their congregations.
As my wife pointed out today, Joel Osteen doesn't provide any kind of ministry at all. He just preaches about money.*
*I can't pass up the chance to republish Matt Taibbi's assessment of Osteen, from back when McCain was running against Obama:
Of all the vile, fake, lying-ass, money-grubbing shyster scumbags on the face of this planet, there is perhaps none more loathsome than Osteen, a human haircut with plastic baseball-size teeth who has made a fortune selling the appalling only-in-America idea that terrestrial greed is actually a form of Christian devotion. "God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us," Osteen once wrote. This is the revolting, snake-oil-selling dickhead that John McCain actually chose to pimp as number one on his list of inspirational authors. So much for "go, sell everything you have and give to the poor," and all that other hippie crap from the New Testament.
Yeah; I still pretty much see him that way. As Salon points out,
Generally speaking, he only mentions the name of his alleged savior around Easter, never around Christmas. In fact, within the past three years, he has mentioned “Jesus” or “Christ” only 14 times amid hundreds of tweets.
I pretty much don't have any use for him, and "religious leader"? It is to laugh. Honestly; before this, when was the last time you heard anything about Osteen?
Adding: This is what Christians and their leaders are doing.