July 24, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Prosperity Gospel thrives

Do you every come across televangelist Joel Osteen while changing channels on Sunday morning? I sure do, he's hard to avoid. "Crunchy Conservative" social critic Rod Dreher recently discussed the "Prosperity Gospel," a neo-Pentecostal offshoot that has faint theological origins in Calvinism. It takes the idea that material wealth is a sign of God's favor, and then perverts it beyond all recognition: "God wants to make your life easier"??? One might think that economic hard times would lead to a drop in attendance for such churches, as a reality check, but that does not seem to be the case. Is it any wonder that many of the feel-good TV "clergymen" look like used car salesmen than devout men of the cloth? To Dreher, "These preachers are pimps of false hope and salvation by materialism." Link via Andrew Sullivan. Rev. Donald Sensing referred to this materialistic syndrome exemplified by Osteen as "Comfortable Christianity." (See February 2007.)

Green acres is the place to be!

On my way out to help with Dave Rapp's garden last Saturday, I saw this spectacular view of the countryside and asked my friend Matthew, who was driving, to stop so I could take a picture. Is this God's country, or what?

Weyers Cave horse farm

An idyllic horse farm west of Weyers Cave, Virginia. Click on that image to see the full-size version.

Land spreadin' out so far and wide,
Keep Manhattan, just give me that country life! smile