Joel Osteen is still facing backlash, and some support, in the days following the controversy over whether or not his Lakewood Church was opened or closed to needy people in Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey wreaking havoc on the region. As reported by the Inquisitr, articles like "Joel Osteen's Flood: 9 Photos Of Closed Lakewood Church In Houston From Monday Cast Doubts On Flooding Claims" have been shared nearly 50,000 times on Facebook. Whereas Tyler Perry has come to the defense of Pastor Osteen, with Perry noting that some of the money he planned to donate to hurricane victims would go to Osteen's church, others still have harsh words for Osteen.
The overall presumption from Osteen's critics includes the thinking that the flashy pastor could have chosen to open Lakewood Church to people displaced from the storm as soon as possible. However, Osteen claimed that the doors of Lakewood Church were never closed, and if they were, Osteen blamed it on security personnel. The photos and videos posted to social media that showed Lakewood Church seemingly non-flooded, with locked doors, took over social media, and Osteen's critics ran with that story. Osteen called it a "false narrative," and the below photos of a flooded lower level of Lakewood Church eventually began making the rounds.
However, by the time photos like the below ones purported to be from a flooded Lakewood Church hit social media, it was almost too little, too late. If the first three photos had been posted to social media via the Lakewood Church page, or even Osteen's page, letting the public know that the church was flooded, a whole different narrative would have taken over.
If, for example, Osteen would have had the Lakewood Church social media director post at least the first three photos, with the top two showing substantial flooding at the church, and would have let the public know to pray for the church so that they could make Lakewood Church a safe place for people to ride out the storm and the storm's aftermath, a different story would have emerged from inside the church first, before photos and videos from outside the church, which showed little flooding, could have taken over.Blog posts, such as "Dear Joel Osteen," which was published on by Pastor John Pavlovitz, are taking over instead. As reported by Trendolizer, the article has received a whopping 259,500 Facebook likes and counting. John calls out Osteen's "opulence," but also admits he doesn't know Osteen. Pavlovitz advises Osteen to use the literal and proverbial flood as a reason to change his thinking to be more in line with the giving nature of Jesus.
As memes proliferate on Twitter about Osteen, like the one showing the pastor on a big, dry ark as people wade outside in floodwaters, waving their hands in desperation -- and folks like Tyler Perry get more than one million views on Facebook -- others are hoping and praying Osteen and his wife, Victoria, use the experience as a point of change for the better.
[Featured Image by Pat Sullivan/AP Images]