Fr. Joseph Huneycutt and I are disagreeing about Joel Osteen over at Orthodixie. You may care to traipse over there to see what's going on. I don't want to reiterate the arguments here, but I want to emphasize that I'm a fan of Fr. Joseph and his blog. I have disagreements with just about everyone about lots of things, and I don't take these things personally.
What do I like about Osteen?
He wants people to succeed in life.
He urges people to rely on God.
He urges the adoption of good habits including politeness, civility, patience, understanding, charity, and so on.
What don't I like about Osteen?
He's not Orthodox.
His sweet sermons begin to grate on me after ten minutes.
I'm uncertain about whether there's any systematic theological content.
I'm uncertain what role the New Testament plays in his ministry, other than mentioning Christ, utilizing an immersion baptismal rite, and so on. One year's Easter message talked about the "can-do" Resurrection, which I'm still puzzling over.
I've watched a few sermons, and I know a few people who like him. You know, one thing I've admired about Protestantism is its high standard of personal holiness. Osteen seems to inspire people to act well and to rely on God.
It reminds me of the old joke about would happen to an unattended umbrella in Methodist and RC churches on a rainy day--the owner would get back his umbrella in the Methodist church. I came across this joke again--at Arturo's blog I think--and I'm grateful for the reminder. At the risk of overstretching an analogy, let me say that Osteen leaves me with the impression that he would exhort his followers not to glom umbrellas. You can say what you want about the pedestrian nature of bourgeois virtues, but I'm all for them.
If my impression is correct, then I'm not interested in seeing Osteen unfairly dumped on.