Picking up on the “Evangelicalism, Elites and Excellence” video discussion - I agree that Evangelicals generally do not promote excellence and ambition, but how do you account for Joel Osteen? His message seems designed to inspire Christians to achieve lofty goals in the world and he has a massive following. Could there be something to tap into there?

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I think I'd first question if that properly describes Osteen. But I'd also question whether culturally, Osteen is really a part of evangelicalism.

I'll avoid litigating the charge of "Prosperity Gospel", but it's tough to find anyone who approves of him in what we'd think of as mainstream evangelicalism -- either in elite outlets like The Gospel Coalition and Christianity or in the pews of most conservative Protestant churches.

At one point my wife (born and raised evangelical) and I (came to it 20 years ago) put our heads together and tried to think if we'd ever heard anyone to respond to the name "Osteen" with anything but either ignorance or disapproval, and neither of us could come up with anyone, either in real life or the Internet.. This is unlike names like "Doug Wilson" and "Beth Moore" that could properly be called "controversial" as they might draw scorn or approval depending on who you ask.

I do wish I knew what the profile of Osteen fans were, since clearly they must exist.

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Yeah, Osteen is very much outside the Evangelical establishment. I consider myself a fan - listen to him almost every day. I think Osteen is doing something very different and brilliant: he’s teaching Christian existentialism through stories.

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You should expand on that thought sometime: a proper apologia of Osteen would be an interesting read.

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Good question. I don't know enough about Osteen to say for sure.

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Meanwhile, on the Masculinist front: Matthew Schmitz's review of Erika Bachiochi's book seems to have been received about as well as might have been expected.




This is what happens when you try to be critical of women in the same way that one is commonly critical of men.

Note that these aren't 'crazy feminist types' angry at Schmitz, but Catholic academic women.

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Certainly we should all have been paying more attention to Neil Postman, but I could not help but hear Saruman speaking to Gandalf while reading the end of that Compact article.

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Oct 14, 2022Liked by Aaron M. Renn

I liked how the article started out. Agriculture is a pretty illustrative example of why we can't return to the past. But then the author turned to abstract generalities and kind of lost me.

I haven't read Postman -- is he worth reading nowadays? From summaries, I don't see much to disagree with in his work.

My take is that there's little value in trying to fight technologies that increase the productivity of our work. But, while it's hard, there's a lot of value in resisting, or at least moderating, the technologies that we use in our off time. And the more people around us are on the same page, the better this works. If your kids are the only ones in their school that aren't on social media, you're going to have quite a time.

It's also important to understand that most of the social changes we on the right bemoan are more a matter of technological disruption than some top-down scheme implemented by the left. Or, even if the precise symptoms of the disease were shaped by leftist thought, it was technology that rendered the old ways so vulnerable and unappealing.

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Amusing Ourselves to Death is very much worth reading. Consider the sociological implications of even technology like a clock…

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