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jerryking : christianity   41

A preacher for Trump’s America: Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel
APRIL 18, 2019 | Financial Times | Edward Luce in Houston.

Optimism, hope, destiny, harvest, bounty — these are Lakewood’s buzzwords. Prosperity too. Words that are rarely heard include guilt, shame, sin, penance and hell. Lakewood is not the kind of church that troubles your conscience.....the market share of US churches run by celebrity prosperity preachers such as Osteen, Creflo Dollar (sic), Kenneth Copeland and Paula White keeps growing. Three out of four of the largest megachurches in America subscribe to the prosperity gospel. Formal religion in the US has been waning for years. Almost a quarter of Americans now profess to having none. Among the Christian brands, only “non-denominational charismatics” — a scholarly term for the prosperity preachers — are expanding.......About the only book that Trump is known to have read from cover to cover is The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, the grandfather of the prosperity gospel. It has sold five million copies since it was published in 1952. His message is that the more you give to God, the more he will give back in return......The prosperity gospel is all about harvesting the seed. The more money you plant in God’s church, the greater your heavenly bounty. Wealth is a mark of God’s benevolence. Poverty is a sign of godlessness...........The more you consider Lakewood’s business model, the more it seems like a vehicle to redistribute money upwards — towards heaven, perhaps — rather than to those who most need it. Like all religious charities, Lakewood is exempt from taxes. All donations to it are tax deductible. It has never been audited by the IRS......On the left, the prosperity gospel is attacked for encouraging reckless spending by those who can least afford it. Among Lakewood’s night classes is Own Your Dream Home. Leaps of financial faith fit into Osteen’s view that God will always underwrite true believers.
.......Some of the home repossessions in the 2008 crash were blamed on irresponsible advice from the prosperity churches, which are concentrated in the Sun Belt. In her book Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, Kate Bowler says the churches have created a “deification and ritualisation” of the American dream.......people who are depressed should shun the company of other depressed people.... Addicts must steer clear of other addicts. The poor should avoid others who are poor.......“If you’re struggling in your finances, get around blessed people, generous people, people who are well off,” Osteen advises. Misery loves company, he says. Avoid miserable people.........Osteen’s idea of whether God would have hesitated before creating the universe. “He didn’t check with accounting and say, ‘I am about to create the stars, galaxies and planets,’” says Osteen. He just went ahead and did it. All that is holding the rest of us back is a lack of self-belief: “God spoke worlds into creation,”
........The more one listens to Osteen, the harder it is to shut out Trump. Their mutual guru, Norman Vincent Peale...Believe in yourself like others believe in their product, was Peale's message. “Stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding,” wrote Peale. “Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade.”
.........People often ask why so many blue-collar Americans still support Trump in spite of his failure to transform their economic prospects. They might need to widen their aperture. To many Americans, Trump’s wealth and power are proof of God’s favour. That alone is a reason to support him.
abundance  blue-collar  books  churches  Christianity  Donald_Trump  economic_downturn  Edward_Luce  Joel_Osteen  leaps_of_faith  mega-churches  pastors  positive_thinking  prosperity_gospel  religion  the_American_Dream  self-belief  tithing 
april 2019 by jerryking
Why John Paul suffers -
Oct. 18 2003 | The Globe and Mail | editorials.

John Paul doesn't want us to feel sorry for him. He wants us to learn.

After surgery to replace a hip joint in 1994, he gave thanks for his suffering, which he called "a necessary gift." A showman by nature, he has used his pain to make what he feels are essential points about faith and human nature.

The first is that everyone must suffer, even the Vicar of Christ. Rather than hide his infirmities, as most public figures do, he has let the whole world see what he is going through, pressing on with his crowded schedule of travels and duties with a determination and courage that are hard to fathom. This, he seems to say, is the way of all flesh. In a youth-obsessed world in which people are constantly urged to fight the ravages of time, he reminds us that aging and the suffering that inevitably comes with it are a natural part of being human.

The second point is that suffering can be redemptive. That is not just a Christian lesson, though Christian churches emphasize it. We all know people who have risen to unexpected heights of courage and nobility in a battle against cancer or some other illness. We have all felt the compassion and sense of human solidarity that the suffering of others can stir.
religion  aging  editorials  Vatican  Catholicism  Christianity  Roman_Catholic  Catholic_Church  Pope_John_Paul_II 
january 2014 by jerryking
Keep God in the calendar
Apr. 19 2003 | - The Globe and Mail | JOHN IBBITSON.

There could be no more perfect way for a political party to guarantee its defeat at the next election than to take God out of the calendar. The Ontario government won't even end public funding for Catholic schools, though they're an egregious example of religious discrimination. Christians are not a constituency to be messed with.

But there are other reasons, more deeply embedded (will it be possible to rescue that word?) in our collective political psyche for retaining Christian holidays, for beginning daily sessions of federal and provincial parliaments with Christian prayer, for keeping God in the national anthem.

They remind us that Canada is blessed to be a liberal democracy, and that liberal democracy is the product of Christian civilization, and specifically of Protestantism.

Why is that? Why didn't Islam achieve the separation of church and state necessary for democracy to evolve? Why did Buddhist or Hindu or Confucian or Shintoist Asia not generate responsible, constitutional government even once?

The reasons are many, conflicting, and disputed. But Christianity was a part of it. The root religion of Judaism stressed the importance of the individual, who alone could save himself from darkness by embracing God. Judaic tradition, infused by Greek philosophy, imbued Christianity with a tradition of rationalism, skepticism and inquiry. The resistance of northern Europeans to dictatorial Rome brought about Protestantism, with its emphasis on the absolute sovereignty of each individual in his relations with God. If with God, then why not with the state? And the citizen was born.

(And scientific inquiry, and free trade, and the Industrial Revolution. The price was centuries of drab and uncomfortable clothing. Protestants are the worst-dressed people on Earth.)

Democracy, it turns out, is an exportable product. It has taken root in Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist societies, although the further it gets from Protestantism, the more fragile it becomes. Southern Europe came late to democracy, Latin America even later; in Asia and Africa, democracy is still the exception more than the rule.

Which is why even a nation as culturally diverse as Canada does well to remember that our democracy is rooted in the Christian tradition, that our political freedoms and social tolerance flow from that tradition, that it is not an oxymoron to describe Canada as a secular Christian nation.
religion  Christianity  Canada  history  democracy  human_psyche  Protestant_Reformation  John_Ibbitson  constituencies 
december 2013 by jerryking
A Faith Unshaken but Unsettled -
February 14, 2013 | WSJ|

A Faith Unshaken but Unsettled
Catholics react to Pope Benedict's resignation.

Peggy_Noonan  Catholicism  succession  Christianity  Vatican  Catholic_Church 
february 2013 by jerryking
An 'Ordinary Radical' and His Call to Action -
February 7, 2006 | WSJ| By PAUL BESTON.

By Shane Claiborne
(Zondervan, 367 pages, $12.99)
book_reviews  Christianity  churches  poverty 
january 2013 by jerryking
Leaders: Christianity at bay | The Economist
Nov 21st 2012 | from The World In 2013 print edition
january 2013 by jerryking
A Shift in Black Christianity as Harvard Installs a Minister -
Published: November 11, 2012

“This pulpit can be an important bully pulpit, and Peter Gomes used it in that way,” Lawrence H. Mamiya, a professor at Vassar College and an author of “The Black Church in the African American Experience,” wrote in an e-mail. “Given the climate of academic freedom on campus, the Pusey minister also has a greater degree of independence than most clergy to speak out on controversial issues.” ... Black ministers and theologians of Mr. Walton’s generation have inherited an African-American church trying to serve both the entrenched poor and the upwardly mobile educated class. It is also pulled between the liberation theology most notably articulated by Dr. King and the so-called health-and-wealth gospel promoted by contemporary megachurch pastors like the Rev. T. D. Jakes.

Mr. Walton criticized that approach in his book about black televangelists, “Watch This!” His Harvard pulpit, he said, will also afford him a forum for registering such concerns.
African-Americans  Harvard  churches  Christianity  appointments 
november 2012 by jerryking
Tolerance must flow two ways
September 23, 2006 |Globe & Mail pg. A19 | Rex Murphy.

"These considerations are troubling. First, because the respect and privilege claimed by some Muslims is not afforded religions other than their own in their societies. There is a magnificent mosque in Rome close to the Vatican. Do I need to say there is no basilica in Mecca? One religion should not claim rights it will not afford to all others."
Rex_Murphy  Pope_Benedict_XIV  intolerance  Islam  Muslims  Christianity 
may 2012 by jerryking
Salvation on Horseback -
June 13, 2003 | WSJ |By ROY HATTERSLEY

Mr. Hattersley's book, "A Brand From the Burning: The Life of John Wesley,"
Christianity  Methodism  Church_of_England  book_reviews  books 
may 2012 by jerryking
Give Credit to Christianity -
December 11, 2002 | WSJ | Van B. Moeller.

The cause of this education and prosperity is the Protestant Reformation, who freed the Bible from its Roman prison. They translated it from Latin into the common tongues of Europe and taught it to anyone who wanted to learn. Mr. Henninger gives credit to our nation's Founding Fathers for our "progress, pluralism, tolerance and freedom." Certainly they are worthy of our gratitude, but they in turn were indebted to those who preceded them.
letters_to_the_editor  Christianity  Protestant_Reformation 
may 2012 by jerryking
Review & Outlook: Islam's Christians -
DECEMBER 14, 2010 | WSJ | Editorial. Persecution of Iraq's
Christian minorities...raises questions about contemporary Islam's
ability to coexist with non-Islamic peoples—in Iraq and elsewhere...A
spate of anti-Christian bombings and assassinations in Iraq culminated
recently in the siege of a church, Our Lady of Salvation, which resulted
in the death of 51 worshipers and two priests. Afterward, Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki spoke with force and eloquence about the
deaths: "The Christian is an Iraqi. He is the son of Iraq and from the
depths of a civilization that we are proud of."

This is an important and accurate description of the Iraqi past. Some of
these Christian minorities have coexisted with Islam in Iraq and
elsewhere in the Middle East since the time of Jesus. Some still speak
Aramaic, the ancient language of Christ....With the rise of radical
Islam, this tradition of peaceful and productive coexistence has been
displaced by a practice of religious cleansing.
christianity  persecution  intolerance  anti-Christian  Iraq  Egypt  coexistence  islam  religious_intolerance  religious_freedom  pluralism  editorials 
december 2010 by jerryking
Book Review - Christianity - The First Three Thousand Years - By Diarmaid MacCulloch - Review -
.April 1, 2010 | New York Times | By JON MEACHAM. Reviews CHRISTIANITY The First Three Thousand Years
By Diarmaid MacCulloch. Illustrated. 1,161 pp. Viking. $45
Jon_Meacham  christianity  religion 
april 2010 by jerryking
Book Review: Holy Warriors and The Crusades -
MARCH 13, 2010 | Wall street Journal | by Robert Louis Wilken who reviews Holy Warriors By Jonathan Phillips
Random House, 434 pages, $30 and The Crusades By Thomas Asbridge Ecco, 767 pages, $34.99
book_reviews  christianity  history  islam  Middle_East  religion 
march 2010 by jerryking
Earning Commissions on 'The Great Commission' -
NOV. 12, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by ROB MOLL. Missionary
activity is in decline because of the a growing number
of missionaries—many of them working outside traditional missionary
organizations—are taking their business skills and starting for-profit
companies in the mission fields. "The Business as Mission movement began
in the 1990s"..."much of the movement is still informal, led by
individual entrepreneurs. Because many business owners work outside of
traditional mission agencies, it can be hard to quantify their numbers."
So what does success mean for a business mission? "I measure success a
couple of ways," says Mr. Martin. "One is how much profit I have to give
toward ministry. How many pastors buy our flash drive [with digital
libraries] and how many people use our Web resources." While advanced
economies question capitalism, Christians who work in LDCs see how
essential business is to provide jobs, healthcare, build communities and
even minister to souls.
christianity  entrepreneurship  themes  inspiration  start_ups  churches  nonprofit  mission-driven 
february 2010 by jerryking
Top-Selling Pastor Goes Quarterly -
JANUARY 27, 2009 WSJ article by RUSSELL ADAMS on pastor Rick Warren's JV w. Readers Digest to launch Purpose Driven Connection.
christianity  evangelicalism  Rick_Warren  business_development  magazines  social_networking  churches 
january 2009 by jerryking
A Brief History of Christmas -
A John Steele Gordon op-ed piece on the origins of Christmas
religion  christianity  church_and_state  History  christmas 
january 2009 by jerryking

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