The American "Gospel": Think, Pray, Speak, and Grow Rich
Our heroes were people who left everything behind to become missionaries. Self-absorption and seeking satisfaction in this life were condemned as sure signs of sagging spirituality.
Whenever I see Pastor Joel Osteen's church on television, my mind goes back to a beautiful spring day in Houston during my graduate studies at Rice University. The enormous building in which Lakewood Church now meets on the Southwest Freeway was once a basketball arena used for many purposes. That day, my wife and I took our four-year-old daughter there to enjoy the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.
I'm not suggesting that Osteen's church services are circus-like, but they do share something in common. In 1980, we went there to be entertained. If the ...