SOURCE: In political parlance there is often talk of someone playing the “race card” to shut down conversation. A person is convicted of some crime and there is discussion about what the penalty should be. Then the “race card” is played: the charge is made that the person is only being prosecuted because of their race. Immediately all discussion must be stopped, or it must revolve around whether or not racial bias is in play. Whether or not the person is guilty or should be charged is moot from that point on: when the “race card” is played, it’s all about race. Discussion is effectively over when the “race card” is on the table; it is the nuclear bomb of rational discussion.
I’m noticing the same thing in regards to the discussion on Joel Osteen, but in his case it’s the “jealousy card” that is being played by his supporters. Don’t know if you read the comments in regard to my IWJO post, but someone posted the charge that I’m just sadly, sinfully jealous. Ironically, I didn’t even question Joel or his teaching in that comment or in my previous comment. Yet, some Osteenista felt it necessary to come to my humble blog and condemn me for being sinfully jealous of the man.
If you read other blogs about Osteen, and now that his new book is out and he’s been on Larry King and 60 Minutes there is discussion aplenty, you will find a lot of lot of people questioning his message. Immediately his supporters will come on and accuse the criticizer of being “jealous”. Wham, the jealousy card is played and all discussion must end or the criticizer must defend against the charge that they are jealous. The “jealousy card” is intended to shut down converation and discussion on whether or not Joel’s teaching is biblical or not.
So, if we question the theology of one of the best known preachers in America we are automatically jealous? Give me a break. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be dissuaded from commenting on someone for fear of being called jealous, it’s a lame accusation and playing the “jealousy card” is nothing more than an attempt to shut down discussion. I’ve had it played on me before when discussing some of the questionable gimmicks of other megachurches. It’s a tactic meant to shift focus away from valid points and question the motive of the questioner. “He’s questioning mega-guy, he must just be a jealous small-church minister.”
Yes, I’m sure that there are times when preachers get jealous– if you want to call it that– of those ministers and churches that are doing well by worldly standards. But those pangs of envy are just momentary failings of the flesh which are quickly repented of in the light of reason. Any minister worth his salt is going to be less concerned about being successful in the world’s eyes and more concerned about being faithful to God.
Questioning the methods and motives of megachurches, especially those whose theology and preaching is so blatantly suspect, is not a matter of jealousy; it’s called discernment. To be honest, more of us ought to be exposing those who represent Christianity yet preach a gospel that is not biblical… which as Galatians says is no gospel at all.
So, go ahead, play the “jealousy card” all you want, but it’s not going to stop people from examining the preaching and teaching of those who claim to represent Christ… especially those in the public eye. Any tactic that is meant to stifle discussion is simply cowardly. If you can’t defend the teaching of your favorite preacher from the bible, at least refrain from playing the “jealousy card”.