Like it or not the most trusted institution in America is not politics, education, the press, big banks, sports, Fortune 500 companies or religion. The only institution people trust today is the entertainment industry. The real shakers and movers are not named Bush or Obama. The cultural elites who inform our values and shape our spiritual imagination are named Oprah, Palin, Beck, Gaga and a guy named Phil (quack, quack).
When it comes to who has their hearts, people are rejecting traditional institutions and gravitating toward show business.
Here’s what I mean
When Oprah, Anderson, Piers or Ellen want to interview a Christian who’s most likely to get the call?
That would be Joel.
Joel Osteen currently reigns as the preacher-most-likely-to-be-called-upon for a cultural analysis of movies, music, pre/post marital sex, homosexuality, tragedy, Atheism and the legalization of marijuana.
For millions of people, Joel = Christianity
Which also means for millions of people, Joel = Jesus
And what kind of Jesus/ Christianity does Joel represent?
Take another look at the photo at the top.
If a picture is worth a thousand words then as a potential consumer of Christianity’s goods and services after looking at his photo, I would be hard pressed to not conclude the following:
If I trust Joel’s’ Jesus then I’ll be very successful (and probably rich)
I’m happy to give Joel’s marketing department the benefit of the doubt that my conclusion was not their original intention however based on the photo they chose to put on the front cover of his book a reasonable person might be forced to agree with me.
Ironically, if there’s one goal Jesus failed to achieve in his short thirty-three years of life it was worldly success. The bible says he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He started a movement but in the end his entourage abandoned him. Some of his very last words as he hung dying a very public and humiliating death took the form of a question directed at the very Deity he claimed was all powerful, personal and loving – My God My God why have you forsaken me?
However Jesus measured success, it’s clear that it is at odds with Joel’s well coiffed, well dressed version.
By the time he turned ten Paul Young had been sexually abused not only by the natives his missionary parents were trying to save but also by the fellow students at the missionary boarding school his parents sent him to. As a husband he barely escaped having his marriage fall apart and as man he had no career. Paul was not a success. Paul was a sufferer.
In his book The Shack, Paul fictionalizes the various forms of suffering he endured in his life and presents a very different picture of Jesus. Pauls’ Jesus is familiar with suffering not success. Pauls’ Jesus is an expert on loss. Paul’s Jesus draws near to those who suffer not those who succeed.
There’s a whole lot of suffering going on in the world today. Not only the world but in your world. Suffering naturally causes all of us to ask questions like If there is a God who’s powerful, personal and loving then Where is He when there’s no happy ending?
That’s why we’ve put together a show called Where’s God When… a live show about loss featuring Paul Young author of The Shack. This one-man theatrical event in three acts explores Paul’s journey through loss as a child, a husband and man.
The Shack was fiction. The Show is real.
Lets put a new face on Christianity.
People deserve better.