When Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria made headlines for a controversial court appearance, the circus reminded me of a question I've had for sometime:
Is it wrong when pastors become uber-financially wealthy?
The Osteens, who minister at Houston's Lakewood Church, fit the bill and then some.
I've debated this question with friends. The two arguments I've always heard are:
* You can never out-give God. Thus, if you do a lot of good, God will reward you. Osteen's bank accounts, then, are a reflection of hard work and God's approval.
* The other argument is the poor shall inherit the Earth. Friends cite bible passages I can't remember for here, but this argument usually revolves around the theme that wealth should be given to those who need the money most.
I'm not sure how I feel. I enjoy listening to Joel Osteen, even though critics say his message often lacks scripture. His message resonates with me and his words and simple and applicable to every day life.
When I read he's made another million dollars from a book sale, something doesn't set right with me, though.
I'm curious to know what you think.
Thanks for your help,
Gabe Semenza/Advocate public service editor
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