Wednesday, May 25, 2005

General Joyce Myers

Michael Spencer, the internet monk, is my new best discovery online. His observations about faith and all that it can spew forth are truly wonderful. Today's comments on bookstores, marketing and evangelism are as refreshing as anything I have read. After swearing off Christian bookstores, he broke down and went into one anyway.

There is a large section called "Christian Living," and 98% of the books found there never needed to be written. The packaging is very nice. The titles are cute. But after that, things get desperately discouraging. Politics. Family Values. Sentimental devotionalism. Nonsense. Bad advice. Mumbling. Many books that seem to have no purpose for their existence. I mean, books that retread the same messages that evangelicals have been writing for a century.
[...]
I'm a capitalist, and Lifeway can sell whatever they want however they want to sell it. I'll just say this: Someone needs to wake-up and realize that Lifeway is pushing the teachers and the teaching that suit their purposes of making money FIRST, and not the purposes of your local church, its people or its leaders. This is what Christian publishers do. Yes, they are great people who want to help churches and Christians, etc., yada, etc. Just remember why that book was being pushed, and all kinds of great books will never be endorsed or even displayed at those stores.

So he leaves the Christian bookstore and goes to a Barnes & Noble. Lo and behold, here he is beset by General Joyce Myers. You need to go to the link to find out why he calls her by that title.

I started to look around. Joyce Meyer's books were everywhere in Barnes and Noble. Two shelves. Two tables. Displays. New books at the front. Even at the check out, looking at me from a display behind the desk. This is weird. Rick Warren has convinced these bookstores that there is money to be made, and General Joyce is cranking out all kinds of titles that look great in B&N. So we've gone from a generic evangelical Baptist to an intimidating female word-faith life coach who flashes the bling-bling at every opportunity, and she's looking at me from every aisle like she wants to hit me.

This is creepy. While Meyer is theologically light years ahead of Joel Osteen, she's also a classic televangelist multi-mazillionaire scamming tons of people while she purports to be using the money responsibly. (Read the articles. Don't bark at me.) And she's taken over Barnes and Noble. I kept looking for her jet in the parking lot.

Now that Rick Warren has revealed the buckets of money to be made, the larger publishing industry will be pushing the Osteens and the Meyers to the top of the pile. Why? They know how to play the game. The titles. The packaging. The rehashed content. The multiple tie-ins to some big event at a stadium. General Joyce has the added bonus of being a cross between Dr. Laura and Lou Gossett, Jr in An Officer And A Gentleman. She's the pastor most Southern Baptists wish they had, even though their version of God won't allow her in the ministry.

With so few pastors helping their people sort through this mess, and with Christian television pumping Joyce Meyer into our homes 24/7, it's no wonder she's a hit with the "practical Bible teaching" crowd. That success will translate into books, and as fast as she can crank them out, title them and smile for the cover photo, they will be at a Wal-Mart near you. If you love God and your kids, you'll buy them all.

If you haven't already, get this place bookmarked.

3 comments:

ilona said...

Interesting indeed. I agree with the assessment of what is offered on Christian bookshelves. However...

You just knew there was a however in here, didn't you?

I want to say something about Joyce Meyers. I haven't bought her books, but I have listened to her speak on radio. She is entertaining, relavent, and Biblical at the same time. In our society that means she appeals to people in a way that gets their listening ear, -not easy. She has all that bling image because she is Texan, and that is the way most Texan women -I've seen- dress. On Purpose.

But that isn't really important, the thing I really want to say is that I have a daughter who was really alienated from the Church, and was deeply into damaging lifestyle things... and Joyce Meyers really speaks to her. She buys some of the books and the devotionals and those things have helped heal her. And her experiences left her very wary of false front Christianity, so she's not the gullible type.

So I guess I want to say...sometimes there is good reason for popularity and it is isn't all a scam, just because it is marketed well.

oh. and each to his own taste, too;)

Hoots said...

I know. We have had her face on our TV since before the facelifts and she also speaks to our family. I met a plumber once who was a different person after I said something about Joyce Myers, so I know she reaches tons of people who would otherwise be way out of the fold.

The writeup was just too good to miss, so I had to blog it. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

I am glad Joyce Meyers calls a spade a spade. To me that is truth and not some phony trying to sugar coat me and not giving me the medicine I need, to get better. She is biblical and talks about not being perfect and people can relate to her. Besides prayer, Joyce was the only other thing that got me through my husbands deployment to Iraq. I had no relatives close by and she helped me through a terrible time in my life. I can not say enough good things about her. Even when my church was not supportive of me during this time, I could always call the Joyce Meyers prayer line and they would pray for my husband and myself without asking for even a dime. For that I will be eternally grateful.