Health, Wealth & Happiness-and the Wendy’s Lunch Rush
April 26, 2011
The God of the Prosperity Gospel
Now, I’m not normally one of those bloggers who will accept free books in exchange for writing a book review, even when I’m assured it’s my honest opinion the authors and publisher want. If I’d wanted to become a book reviewer, I’d have done that, and missed this incredibly lucrative path of becoming an English professor and writer. (Having worked as a waitress, journalist, sailing instructor, director of a food pantry for homeless families, a minister and now a writer/part-time professor, I often wonder how I seemed to have missed the whole portfolio-planning portion of professional life.)
But this book by David W. Jones and Russell Woodbridge intrigued me with its subtitle: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ?
And get this from the back cover:
46% of self-identifying Christians believe God will make them rich if they have enough faith
A frightening statistic if there ever was one.
So if you’re disturbed as I am, and as these authors are, that the God who promises to suffer with us, who cares for the poor and stands with the rejected, would be confused with a deity who dispenses sports cars at will, then you may well find this book helpful. Jones and Woodbridge walk through hundreds of biblical passages pertaining to wealth–and the lack thereof–and trace the rise of the Prosperity Gospel and its current spokespeople. There’s a study guide in the back for group use, as well.
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a challenging spring in my little world. No tsunamis or meltdowns or massacres here in my corner, so my share of troubles hardly moves the needle on any real meter of suffering. Still, the troubles have come in bunches and bundles and crates lately, as troubles so often do–to the extent that when a friend called recently to check on me, she listened to my litany of woes, punctuated with Wait, There’s More, and then she began to laugh. Yep. Just laugh. Which she could do and not be hung up on because she’s also the sort of friend who calls in the midst of disaster to see if she can drive six hours just to come do your laundry and dishes so you can pick up the pieces of life. She laughed because it was so odd, so ridiculous, all this coming at once–and I let her, because I so needed to laugh, right there in the middle of the Wendy’s lunch rush. Which cleared out quickly, I assure you, with the crazy blonde lady in the gray business suit, her clutching her cell phone and laughing till tears ran down her cheeks, mascara striping her chin.
All that to say, I’m grateful, so grateful for friends who come alongside when I struggle for air. And for hope.
And far more than that, I’m grateful, so grateful for the tender mercies of the God who is acquainted with grief, and walks with us through ours.
*I was provided a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was given.