Some thoughts about Prosperity Gospel preachers within context of trends I’ve noticed of other Christians – primarily White ones – speaking against them:
- The theology of the Prosperity Gospel is one of mammon. So, there, I said it. It worships wealth and accumulations. The God of the Homeless Jesus is replaced by the God of materialistic consumption.
- But so is the typical Western, First World Church. The typical white church of means may not be so bold about it, but that’s because they already have the materials and consumption. They don’t talk about it because they’re good in stasis. Many of the loudest critics of the PG preachers themselves already live in abundance that many of the audience members of those same churches can only dream about.
- Poor people are allowed to have dreams, too. And here’s the gist: We live and breathe the air of capitalist consumerism. This is what we are taught from birth so why are we surprised when poor black and Latino people also find solace in this? Sometimes, hope is all we have, and a drive to bigger and better things energizes those who have felt trampled all our lives. So we blame materialistic rap for this – but we never blame the Capitalist Consumerist Christian Culture that stomps out the poor in the first place. Sometimes, hope is just a survival technique.
- We don’t interrogate the White Supremacy narrative that white people get to have the finer things, but get upset when black and brown people desire to have good things.
- I think I’d rather go to a church that values and speaks from a position of familiarity with the poor and oppressed than to go to a church that ignores them when it doesn’t look down with disdain on them. Even if that first church has the theology wrong – at least I know I’m where Christ is.
I’m a strong believer in Christian socialism as an end goal. Every person, being made in the image of God (ie, having a spark of the divine – we are all made out of stars and dust as it were) and being of infinite worth and value should be treated as such – having invaluable, immeasurable worth. I believe we should all prosper. But not in materialistic aspects. Not according to the disposable things and trinckets of Consumer Capitalist Culture. Things like flatter TVs and bigger houses and fancier cars of nicer clothes don’t add any value to our lives. They were made yesterday, worn today, tossed tomorrow. That is a waste of good resources and energy for something that will spend hundreds of years on a trash heap, eating up our scenery and poisoning our air and water for a few minutes of vapid pleasure.
But that a human race can prosper due to adequate housing, meaningful work, fresh food, and good health care coverage is, indeed, good news.