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jerryking : tithing   3

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
Graduates, Take Heed - WSJ.com
June 11, 2004 | WSJ | By DANIEL AKST.

if you are dreaming of making the world a better place...just go out and make the most money you can. Then, if you still want to do more, give it away....Economics, remember, is not a zero-sum game. Capital is the lifeblood of the economy, fueling the productivity gains that in turn fuel expanding affluence and social progress. As if none of this were sufficient, Alex's earnings required him to pay enough income taxes over the years for the government to employ a small army of social workers. He never shirked these obligations through dubious tax-shelter schemes, either. And don't forget the foundation!

The conclusion is unavoidable: If you have a good education, you shouldn't just consider getting rich. Creating and amassing wealth is an outright moral obligation. Do so and you can take comfort not just in financing public services but in knowing that you are giving people what they need or want, generating jobs and underwriting the affluence that makes art, justice, environmental protection and other social goods possible.

Of course, making yourself a pile of money is good for you too. You'll live in a better neighborhood, drive a safer car, get to be more selective in choosing a spouse and enjoy a longer, healthier life. Your kids will get a better education, which in turn will mean more of the same for them, too -- and will better equip them to improve the world still more.
commencement  advice  Wall_Street  capitalism  new_graduates  personal_enrichment  career_paths  finance  wealth_creation  philanthropy  tithing  geographic_sorting  compounded  self-perpetuation  super_ZIPs  zero-sum_games 
august 2012 by jerryking
Irrational Act
02.14.05 | Forbes | Rich Karlgaard.

Few can can explain why capitalism works. Economists, trapped in the closed loop of supply and demand, can only make a dismal pseudo-scientific hash of it. Out in the real world people are inspired by ideas. Some are even willing to suffer irrational odds in an effort to turn their ideas into innovations. Most fail, but even the failures add to our knowledge. The pursuit of innovation by entrepreneurs willing to give before they get creates discontinuities that shatter the predictable loop of supply and demand. Entropy and monopoly alike are defeated by innovation. That is how capitalism works. It starts with an irrational act of giving.

Why does tithing work? Nobody knows. Only that it does for many.
in_the_real_world  Rich_Karlgaard  capitalism  tithing  discontinuities  innovation  irrationality  leaps_of_faith  ideas  economic_dynamism  economists  ideaviruses 
august 2012 by jerryking

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