let’s all take a deep breath

there is stuff flying all over the blogosphere about the legal problems swirling around joel osteen and his lovely wife, victoria.  some of it is hilarious, and some of is just sad.  one of my favorite writers, dave burchett, has written about the issue a couple of times and he has just been shredded.  now, i might be biased, but dave is one of the most humble and balanced guys out there and he is constantly asking how we as believers can better represent jesus to a world that is dying to know him (i highly recommend when bad christians happen to good people).  a few days ago in a thoughtful post entitled, “plane speaking about the osteen’s,” dave asked the question, “What is our accountability as followers of Christ (especially those with influence) when an incident occurs that could tarnish the name of Christ and His church?” 

sounds like a reasonable question to me.  well, apparently the osteen apologists went nuts. 

this morning, dave posted a response–again, his tone was very gentle and deliberate–but it still seems as though some people just refuse to hear.  how is it a bad thing when christian leaders embrace accountability?  and how is it a “personal attack” when a brother laments the hypocrisy that is rampant in the body of christ?  in case you don’t have time to go to dave’s blog, let me share a few of the comments he received along with dave’s responses:


This is a prime example of someone wanting free money. Hemerhoids? Lost my faith? Mental anguish? Over a little spat about a spill. Come on, It’s one more person wanting to ger free money and not work.

(dave) That may be the case but it was not the point. Don’t think I got into the hemorrhoid issue at all. If I had I would have used the joke about her troubles being behind her now. And by the way, take a moment to run your diatribes through a spell check. Proof reading would be good too. It is hard to take seriously someone who talks about a “fowl” spirit unless you are writing about a rooster’s attitude.

Why not check out the past of the flight attendant? Has she had mental problems or money problems before?

Sighhhhhhhh. Let he who is without sin run the first Google check.

Never did he (Jesus) apologize to the people who crusifed him. (SIC) He did not apologize for who he was. 

That seems a bit of a stretch to compare what Christ endured on the cross to a spill in first class. Are you kidding me?

So I say, I see another human being Chistian woman who has become a public figure being persecuted all for financial gain. Im sure she is not perfect but I also say why offer an apology if you feel you are not wrong. Should she offer an apology just because some one has accused her of something?

No. She should offer an apology because she did something wrong. Once you get out of your seat against the directives of the flight crew you have done something wrong and that merits a response. It is a zero tolerance law. Once those actions delayed and inconvenienced others you have done something wrong. That would be the reason. And the flight attendants (not stewardesses) are there to prepare the plane safely for departure and follow all government safety directives. Although you should expect some degree of improved service in first class it is not their primary purpose on any flight to serve you immediately.

We at Lake wood are well educated teachers, doctors, lawyers, moms, fathers………Cults try to woo you into a certain belief; we at Lakewood believe in love, Jesus Christ and God. I’m going to do what Joel tells us to do, come to church with me and you’ll never be the same.

That’s awesome. And not in any way related to my post.

Ya’ll are wasting a lot of negative time bashing the Osteens. Why not do good with your words. Complement someone. Do something for others and you wouldn’t have time to screed.

We’all didn’t even know we were screeding. I found out that screed is a noun meaning long harangue or discourse. Regular readers of the humble ramblings know I am entirely capable of a long discourse. I am not much of a screeder if you use the haranguing definition.


by the way, did i mention that dave is really funny?

from time-to-time, i have been accused of attacking joel osteen.  some perceive the title of my blog as an underhanded slap at his best-selling book, and i am dimissed as a jealous wannabe.  i honor joel osteen, and thank god that the gospel is being preached.  while i have some serious concerns about the effect of the “feel good gospel” that is so prevalent on television and in bookstores, my ultimate desire with this blog is to inject a little humility and authenticity into our discussion of the gospel.  it just seems to me that the gospel is a lot less about having a comfortable, successful life, and a lot more about abandonment.  when i “attack” greed and materialism, it is aimed at me–my sinful nature–and no one else.  i am disgusted by prurient motives that surface in my life from time to time, and i pray that by sharing them in this public forum, not only will i discover a measure of accountability, but that others will be challenged to submit to a merciful, gracious god. 

on wednesday evenings at my church, we are walking through the book of philippians.  it is so meaty and life-giving!  last week we read the section where paul described a group of church-goers as “enemies of the cross.”  he says “their destiny is destruction.”  that’s pretty strong language, and i obviously wanted to know who paul was talking about.  what is their crime?  and what are the symptoms of a destruction-bound life?  in philippians 3:19, paul lays it out quite clearly.  he says, “their mind is on earthly things.”  and for that their destiny is destruction?  i’m in trouble.

my daily prayer is that god will empower me to elevate my focus.  i want to fall less in love with this world and more in love with the kingdom.  to that end, the things that matter here (power, possessions, reputation) grow dim in the light of things that really matter (the gospel, people, the fruit of the spirit).  i want to be quick to apologize when (not if) i offend someone, and i want to be the one to ask forgiveness when there is a rift between me and someone i care about–whether i caused it or not.

i think that’s what dave burchett is trying to say.  because that is the life that jesus modeled.


2 thoughts on “let’s all take a deep breath

  1. We have sat under a many church leaders and it seems as though accountability is like kryptonite. My husband and I have been “let go”, “we just don’t do your kind of ministry here” for nothing short of expecting accountability not just for the “head” leadership but first and foremost ourselves. It makes us laugh now…but very confusing at the time. A great man once told me…”Andi, you will do far more ministry out in the world than you could in the church.” (wonder who that was?) And it’s true! Accountability stings sometimes….but man, I sure do need it!

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