Megachurches embody extent of American consumer culture


Joel Osteen, a Protestant pastor based in Houston, Texas, is one of the most popular amid these televangelist and authors.


We have all heard of religious consumerism and its horribly widespread popularity.

The possibility also stands that a large percent of past or current churchgoers have experienced religious consumerism first-hand.

In fact, it happens so often that it has become almost old news and quite expected for pastors to act in this manner.

There are even certain pastors who have the God-given gift of being talented televangelists or proficient authors of religious books– making them more capable of reaching wider publics and becoming more popular amongst the public.

Joel Osteen, a Protestant pastor based in Houston, Texas, is one of the most popular amid these televangelist and authors.

He is the head of Lakewood Church, recently renovated for an estimate of $105 million and “formerly the home of the NBA Houston Rockets,” according to Ivey DeJesus, a reporter from Penn Live.

DeJesus also had the great honor of handling an in depth interview with Osteen, wherein he confronted and provided answers for all the rumors that have become associated with his name.

During the interview Osteen shot down the ideas that resonate in people’s minds of him using his position as a popular pastor to his advantage when it comes to obtaining money:

“I put no emphasis on money… [However] I don’t believe God wants you to live defeated barely getting by,” Osteen said.

Indeed, God does not. Instead, God wants Osteen to make money by selling books in which he preaches about Him.

Osteen has published a handful of books, most of which have become national bestsellers.

In these books, Osteen tends to write in a manner that makes it seem as if he is a motivational speaker, which leads many to suspect him as a prosperity gospel preacher instead of a Protestant preacher.

“I think he has good intentions, but he is a prosperity gospel. He chooses a very uplifting and motivational style of preaching,” Protestant and Religious and Theological Studies major at St. Edward’s Wilson Whitener said.

“Well, I know he doesn’t have any training to be a pastor, his father was a pastor, but he never had any training as a pastor. I think sometimes he can interpret scripture wrong because he doesn’t have enough training,” Whitener said.

The Editor-in-Chief of news source Culture Map Houston, Clifford Pugh, explained Osteen’s claim that he no longer draws his salary from what comes into the church. Instead, his salary comes from the books he has published and other products that have his face stamped on them.

Pugh was also kind enough to inform the public about Osteen’s new home. The horrid $1.1 million house he previously lived in has luckily been replaced by a home allegedly worth $10.5 million. Thank God for those best-selling books.

Osteen’s love for living extravagantly has also made him want to extend his lifestyle to his followers.

As previously stated, Osteen’s Lakewood church was renovated for $105 million, but no need to fret, for all the renovations were necessary. Yes, this includes the giant Earth statue made of copper at the center of the stage and the artificial rocks on either side of it.

Now his church attendants can feel like superstars as well and can bask in the beauty that is religious consumerism.

We can only suspect Osteen’s next move as a millionaire pastor is to set up volunteer organizations, fly in and out of the country to help people in need and set up churches in more remote areas. Or, maybe he will even pay his tithe instead of adding on to his stadium. Maybe we should pray about it.

Twitter handle: @leydaeare