While many might disparage Joel Osteen for his light and fluffy messages of self-worth and consumer-friendly pop psychology masquerading as theology, he speaks the same language and shares the same codes with most people. Why? Because most people live in a world dominated by self-help and consumer-friendly pop psychology! You don’t feel like an outsider with his pearly whites staring at you as if to echo Stuart Smalley saying, “I’m good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit people like me!” To the growing population of religiously unaffiliated believers in God, most of the religion we offer is encased in codes that are hard to figure out with little help offered to help people understand them much less participate in using them. Neither fear of hell or a weekly coffee hour after a “nice” sermon are going to fit the bill. So people outside the church, and many people inside to be sure, will feel like that out of place dinner guest. Far better to go to the bar with some old friends and maybe meet a new friend or two where the only real codes are eat, drink, and be merry. Who knows, you might even get lucky at the end of the night without God anywhere near to threaten you with eternal torment. Drew Tatusko (via azspot)