In her new book, “Love Your Life,” Victoria Osteen tells the following story. When she and her husband, Joel, were courting, he came over to her house for dinner. She knew he was the son of a prominent Houston pastor and she, a nice Christian girl, was hoping they could talk about Scripture while she prepared the meal. “Joel began flipping through the pages, but before long, he put the Bible down,” she wrote. Victoria was disappointed and complained, “I thought you’d be a spiritual giant.”
“Joel said nothing and just grinned at me as we carried on with the evening.”
Victoria defines her Christian belief this way. Religion “is about appreciating what God’s given us. He’s given us this life, and he wants us to live it to the fullest.”
Victoria’s book betrays her interest in the kind of small gratifications that rarely extend to other people, let alone to the larger world. She recommends that women take “me time” every day, and indulge occasionally in a (fat-free!) ice cream. She writes repeatedly about her love for the gym. Her relationship advice is retrograde dross: submit to your man, or at least pretend you’re submitting, and then do what you want anyway. “I know if I just wait long enough,” she writes, “eventually my idea will become Joel’s idea, and it will come to pass.” When I asked her how she kept her two children interested in church, she answered that even though they were a broccoli and lean-meats household, she gave them doughnuts as a special treat on Sundays. All this is fine, in the pages of a women’s magazine or a self-help book. But what has God got to do with it?
Read the whole conversation in NEWSWEEK.
See the softball that is served to the Osteen’s by Glenn Beck on his CNN show: