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Proposed Osteen reality show … sigh

December 2, 2011

Reality shows often have little to do with reality. They tend to be carefully staged and edited versions of people’s actual lives. And I suspect this Joel Osteen project will be no different. The concept, which the Houston gigantichurch pastor is working on with “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett, is brilliant marketing for the Osteen brand. He and his wife and church members will be doing their poverty tour, helping out folks in need, flashing their megawatt smiles for the camera, etc., etc. Did I just write megawatt smiles? See it just feels so contrived I can’t even come up with original language to describe it.

Guess I’m feeling particularly cynical today.

A more generous take on this from a media expert quoted in the Chronicle story:

“I can’t imagine a better way for someone like megachurch pastor Joel Osteen to reach beyond one’s audience than to do a reality TV show,” said Diane Winston, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California. “The genius of evangelicalism is to use whatever media is most popular at the time, and now they can exploit reality TV for their message.”

I suppose. But I would much rather see Christians who live their mission day to day in a way that more closely resembles Jesus. I can think of a whole bunch of folks here in Austin who have eschewed the comfortable big church lifestyle for a much more challenging one. Many of them have moved into poor neighborhoods, taken enormous pay cuts and given up their second cars. They are much more engaged with the world now than when they lived in the church bubble. And it would be really nice to see that model broadcast to television audiences. That, to me, just seems so much more real.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jack Wirtz permalink
    December 3, 2011 8:27 am

    Amen Eileen, Amen!

    The self serving Elmer Gantry’s of the world successfully
    hijacked the word “Christian”, to promote their own cause,
    themselves, so now “Christian”, meaning “everything”,
    means nothing.

    There are not any poor people preaching prosperity
    theology.They live well off of poor people seeking
    to be different than they are in this world;
    fame and fortune.

    “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound
    teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for
    themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn
    away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
    Warned Paul to Timothy.

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