Friday, August 15, 2008

God is faithful, rain or shine

Have you been following the news about the lawsuit brought against Victoria Osteen, wife of grinning pastor Joel Osteen? Seems a flight attendant for Continental Airlines, Sharon Brown, claimed Ms. Osteen pitched a fit in first class when a spill occurred on her armrest. The flight attendant claimed Osteen elbowed her in her boob and that she seemed poised to rush the cockpit.

Little problem for the flight attendant: none of the other first class passengers testified for her. To the contrary, Osteen’s fellow travelers testified nothing like Brown’s claim happened. And Thursday the jury unanimously decided that she did not assault Mrs. Brown.

I am no fan of Joel Osteen, the pastor of a mega-church in Texas. His toothy grin and marshmallow sermons do no favors for God or my intestine. But I’m no fan of frivolous lawsuits, either, so when I found myself on the side of Victoria Osteen I did a little heart check.

It didn’t take long for me to find a reason to dislike him again. Check out what Mr. Osteen said following the verdict: “It’s a great vindication and shows us the faithfulness of God.”

What? Is he’s saying God is faithful because things went his way? There’s a darn good chance, in our litigious society, Mrs. Osteen could have been found guilty and responsible for a judgment of over $400,000. If she had been, would Osteen have claimed God wasn’t faithful?

If you’re going to be the pastor of the largest church in America you need to watch your language. If he’d said, “God showed us kindness,” or “God was gracious” I could have worked with him on that, but to claim God is faithful because things go your way...

Maybe I’m blowing this out of proportion, but I don’t like to see God’s characteristics lauded only when something goes right. I much prefer to see God’s people (myself in particular) claim God is good when times are bad. God is faithful all the time; we are the ones who often refuse to see it when things don’t go our way.