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Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

21 December 2005
  No Secret, Victoria
Mrs. Osteen Displays Less Than Model Behavior on Runway

Victoria and Joel OsteenThe Houston Chronicle reported yesterday evening that Victoria Osteen, wife of Joel Osteen*, "was asked to leave a plane after she failed to comply with a flight attendant's instructions." The FBI refused to elaborate on the specifics of Mrs. Osteen's disagreement which led to her expulsion from the Continental Airlines flight to Vail, Colorado. Continental had no statement at all.

Meanwhile, Don Iloff, a spokesman for Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church**, tried to put a positive spin on things with this rather tortuous quote: "In semantics, they might have been asked to be removed. Really, it was more of a mutual thing." What does this mean?

The Monday "incident" seems not to have caused any lasting trauma for Victoria or the Osteen's two children. They found another flight and, by Tuesday, were skiing the Colorado slopes.

Joel Osteen may be currently America's most "successful" preacher and player in the "God game." I disagree with almost every part of his theology and regularly take him and his ilk to task in Bible classes. Normally, I won't assail the spouse of a public figure with whom I disagree. However, Victoria isn't just a bystander. She regularly participates on stage (and what's a stage doing in church?) with her husband and serves (against clear the clear word of Scripture) as a pastor of Lakewood. Therefore, she is first of all a public figure and secondly — not to mention much more importantly — abuses the Office of the Holy Ministry in general by her false teaching and specifically by attempting to inhabit a vocation God gave only to men.

*That's Osteen, not Ostein, Ostien, Olsteen, Olstein, Olstien, or any other permutation of the name that may have brought you to the Alley via a search engine. Like him or not, agree or disagree with his doctrine — it's just good manners to spell his name correctly. As someone once said, "I don't care what the papers say about me as long as they spell my name right."

**Not Lakeside, etc.

NB: Post updated on 23 December 2007
Great headline pun! Five stars!

Is it just me, or does Joel Osteen look like Tim Allen?
If Tim Allen ever gets a Botox® injection, they'll really look like twins.
Dear Earth Pig,
As always, this is a clever and nicely written post. You are an excellent blogger.

Might I make this piece of well-intended humble criticism? Let's not speak publicly against the wives of other clergy, no matter what they do. Can we have at least that much courtesy, even for a heretic?

I am no defender of Joel Olsteen and have blogged against him myself, but I disagree with making an issue of something like this with his wife.

The only exception I would personally make is if she were to write or teach falsehood publicly.

Sammy "the bull" Gravano wrote in his memoirs that is it a serious violation of the mafia code for one mobster to even speak disrespectfully of another mobster's wife, even that of an enemy.

I don't know. I just find it tacky. Forgive me if I have offended you needlessly.
The Burr in the Burgh makes a valid point. Christian bloggers, like their professional counterparts in the media, must balance their work in the Fourth Estate with the demands of the Eighth Commandment.

If Mrs. Osteen were not herself a visible and active participant in the public events held at Lakeside Church, I wouldn't have had much debate with myself. The post never would have seen daylight. And even though she is a public figure by virtue of more than just marriage, I actually wrestled for some time about whether to publish even after I'd already written, edited, and chosen the photo for this post.

But Victoria Osteen chooses to stand up herself at the front of Lakeside, in front of thousands in the seats and, perhaps, millions of home viewers. While she does this as "Mrs. Joel," she also does it as "Victoria."

She tells people how to live good lives and how to have the "good life." She tells her own story, makes her own claims to special blessings from God, and otherwise separates herself from the simil iustus et peccator (same time sinner and saint) theology of the Scriptures.

With this thought in mind, I tried to consider her as I would Joel Osteen, Billy Graham, Jerry Kieschnick, or any other public religious figure. Is the theological point I wanted to make about hypocritial behavior among religious leaders enough to justify using a real person for comparison?

I decided it was, although the internal vote wasn't a landslide. If Scott or other commenters lead me to a recount and I change my thinking, I'll make my apologies and delete the post.

Insofar as she is a public teacher of falsehood, I would not shy from criticizing her. But your post neither criticizes her teaching nor even her morals. We don't really even know the facts of what happened. "Not complying with the flight attendant's instructions," could mean a lot of different things. Since they apparently put her on another flight, how bad could it have been? Explain everything in the kindest way. Would the news have reported this if it had been Tom the plumber's wife?

What exactly is the purpose of your post? To criticize false doctrine? To expose godlessness? Or to embarrass someone?

I realize I probably blog about people without always thinking it through this way myself. I can't cast stones.

To be honest, when I first commented, I wasn't even thinking in terms of the 8th commandment. I just think men should not talk about other men's wives. You are right about her being a public figure and to that extent, she's fair game. But in this case, I just didn't see the point.
My initial thought was to Horn+Swoggle Mrs. Osteen, but I decided against it, after reading Pastor Stiegemeyer's response. I also thought about how we'd handle this in my "real" job, writing news for a wire service. I tend to shy away from "Famous Person's Relatives" stories. This one's complicated, though, by the fact that Mrs. Osteen is also a public figure. She just happens to be overshadowed by her husband.

Still, the story did inspire a tangential Horn+Swoggled post.
Has any further action been taken against her?
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