The Big Mac Blog

Mac’s Mailbag: Readers react to Osteen and Rangers commentary

Joel Osteen was criticized for his slow response to helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey, but he has since opened his church for relief efforts.
Joel Osteen was criticized for his slow response to helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey, but he has since opened his church for relief efforts. AP

The first email read: “Mac blabs his nonsense like the true (very naughty word) he is.”

When I saw the first Twitter message from Houston Texas’ defensive end J.J. Watt saying he wanted to raise $200,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, I, like so many others, commended him for his efforts.

BTW: In less than one week, Watt has raised more than $10 million.

While Watt and Houston furniture businessman Mack McIngvale were actively trying to raise money, and/or provide shelter for flooded Houstonians, I wondered where was Joel Osteen.

So I wrote about it. Kaboom.

BTW: Osteen has since opened his Lakewood Church in Houston and has been actively trying to aid the city in its recovery process. Props to him for that.

Then I weighed on the Texas Rangers’ scheduling flap with the Houston Astros, and the disagreement between the two teams of where to play their remaining home-and-home three-game series. In my opinion, the only play for the Rangers was to yield to the Astros. The end. The offer of gate revenue and Hurricane Harvey relief were nice gestures, but on this you just be the bigger man and let the Astros do as desired, for they are the ones who are truly put out.

The readers reacted.

Osteen column

1. Very nice column. Shows the character of some and exposes the character of others. I hate to criticize religious leaders, but most are just windbags and hypocrites, all about the money. I thought you were very diplomatic in urging Osteen to do the right thing by the people who have made him very wealthy. The good ones like J.J. Watt are always the first to fight, last to leave. May want to add the TCU baseball player from the Houston area to the Good Guy list, Matt Carpenter.

— Tom

2. I just finished reading your article “If J.J. Watt can do it for Houston, so can Joel Osteen.” It was spot on … in fact I had just mentioned to my husband how all these huge churches never seem to open their doors to help those in need.

I used to watch Joel Osteen and even purchased one of his books. But reading your story has given me a totally different perspective on the Christian community. It is disappointing to know that the Christian community doesn’t rise to the occasion. It was a great scripture you quoted Hebrews 13:16. But if you read the Bible there is many many scriptures about doing good here on earth and including prayer in your good deeds. Thanks for writing such a great article.

— Frances L.

3. I began reading your article this morning with trepidation. As a Christian, it appalls me to see prosperity preachers such as Osteen sit back and do nothing. James 2:17 tells us that “faith without works is dead.” I am not big on calling people out — it’s just not my style. But you have a platform and your words are true. I had the good fortune to meet Jim McIngvale back in 1999, he is the real deal and a good man.

Blessings to you Mac, I enjoy your work.

— Clay

4. I’ve always been a big fan, but by God, after reading your column today, I think I love you! FINALLY someone has called it like it is re: Joel Osteen! Never did understand why people would fall for what he spews ...” The more money you send me, the richer you’ll be.”

There is nothing about him that represents religion to me!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

— Betty H.

5. I wanted to THANK YOU for your thought-provoking and spot-on article in today’s Star-Telegram. It is a great read and will hopefully find its way to Joel Osteen himself. I’m not normally a reader of the sports page, but this was too good to ignore. I’ve already read it twice! (That never happens, either).

Thank you for your perspective.

— Rhonda F.

6. In your article in today’s paper, I would call it Christian bashing — do you ever go to church? And what is it with denigrating prayer? Do you even know what his church might be doing? You mention two people but what about the Baptist Brotherhood, Convoy of Hope and countless other Christian organizations there? Please stick to sports, which sometimes you get right.

— Alice S.

7. Mac, you have good taste in preachers. Your article was harsh, but, true. The Osteens should have been the first to offer aid and open the church to those in need. Ministers today are too often consumed with building tributes to themselves and forget their main purpose is to serve others.

— Gary H.

8. Why the big column just to knock a minister? I hate it when you slip politics into sports. Sports is where we get away from life’s B.S. That is slowly changing to not be the case and it will damage sports in general. I don’t know Joel’s heart, finances, or what he has or hasn’t done. Don’t care. Not my business. I assume you do and decided a cheap shot was in order. You perfect Mac? Send your own check and write good sports stories. That’s why we read the sports section.

— Randy

9. You have hit the nail on the head. Hypocrites like Joel are hurting religion. More than prayer, Houston needs physical help now. His mega-church needs to pray for him!

— A.J. A.

10. Thank you so much for your wonderful article in this morning`s paper. I truly enjoyed it. I`m going to cut it out and save it. Yes, we can all do something and yes, everything helps. My husband of 48 years passed away four months ago after a 6  1/2 year battle with bladder cancer. The only way I`m able to deal with it is to follow the advice given in the verse from Hebrew that you printed. Thank you for that. And yes I made a donation to the Red Cross for Harvey victims. Appreciate what you do. Keep up the good writing.

— Sheila B.

11. WAY TO GO, MAC!!! Now if he would only read and heed your advice. Thank you for wonderful articles.

— Cassie F.

12. If you are going to be a social critic, in addition to your job as a dutiful TCU Horned Frogs Backer and a Baylor University Trasher, I suggest you provide equal time to what church groups are doing for Hurricane Harvey, including the Salvation Army and others who are not getting their names in the paper like J. J. Watt.

Not that what J.J. is doing is not great, but it appears to be for you an opportunity to trash churches, using Osteen’s Lakeside Church as a proxy. Most pastors are not Joel Osteen but do an outstanding job with too little resources.

Also, suggest doing a follow-up article on what Lakeside and its members are doing and have done in addition to their “thoughts and prayers” for hurricane victims. Also, you might do another one on what sports writers have contributed to the hurricane victims. All in the interest of providing social criticism from a somewhat more balanced, less sanctimonious, point of view. Also, keep in mind you have to have some standards. You are not living up to to qualify as a hypocrite. No standards, no problem.

— Rex C.

13. Mac, great article. It is fantastic to see frauds like Joel Osteen exposed for what they really are — greedy, self righteous, hypocritical scumbags.

— Sam

14. Wow, what a fantastic article. I know you will get some flack from Osteen people but you are right in calling him out. I continue to see requests for Red Cross and Salvation Army and Catholic Charities but very little of nothing about the Baptist, Methodist or Samaritan Purse groups.

We lost our condo in Rockport on Friday and it will be weeks or months before we can even get down to assess the damage. It will be years in rebuilding. We are happy that there was so few casualties as we can always replace wood and bricks but not people.

God Is Big Enough.

— Frank V.

15. Thank you so much for your editorial today. It is so right on! I am a less-than-enthusiastic female sports fan, but always enjoy reading your column. Keep reminding those “who can and do” about their responsibilities to others, especially in Houston right now.

— Karen A.

16. Your articles have been so good lately, I was surprised to see the stinker you dropped today. Why can’t you commend the generosity of J.J. Watt without the poorly disguised attack on Christianity and resentment of Osteen’s wealth?

I’m not a fan of Mr. Osteen, but prayer and faith based-organizations mobilizing to help will make the biggest contributions to help folks in this disaster, as they did in Katrina. You might as well huff and puff about Bill Gates and Warren Buffet too. Osteen does not represent all Christians any more than Watt representing all compassionate professional football players.

This article does not reflect your considerable writing talent.

— Jay T.

17. Man, what a cheap shot at Joel Osteen in Tuesday’s Star Telegram editorial. I don’t watch his programs very often, but when I do tune him in, there are some things I like and some things I don’t like but overall he does not seem like a fraud. You may or not like his message but to blame him for keeping his church doors closed and not out raising money during a record rain and flood event is pretty weak. The whole town is a mess, flooding is everywhere, residents are advised to stay indoors and more bad weather is predicted today. I guess that is his fault? While I doubt you are a regular churchgoer, your criticism of Osteen with the quoting of scripture (who gave you the verses to use?) and calling him a hypocrite is the pot calling the kettle black. Since you are fond of bible quotes you may want to start with John 8:7.

— Mike M.

18. I’m an avid reader and typically enjoy your articles but your article on Joel Osteen was wrong. You don’t know what he is or is not doing and to call him out like he is doing nothing just because he said a positive message on social media and didn’t say “look how much money I have given” I think is sorry. There are a lot of people that do great things but don’t advertise it because they don’t care if everyone knows about it since God knows and that’s all that matters. Maybe he has donated millions, maybe he’s sitting on a beach in the South of France without a care in the world. Or maybe he’s just not a glory-seeker who tells the world every time they do something generous. I don’t know and neither do you.

— Justin

Rangers column

1. Sorry, but you got this one 100 percent wrong. If Jon Daniels’ decision had disadvantaged any of the flood-displaced Houstonians, you would have a point. However, all that’s at stake here is the impact on the schedules of two baseball teams. Reid Ryan, Astros president, unilaterally decided what was best and expected the Rangers to acquiesce. When the Rangers balked, he got upset and threw the Rangers under the bus. What Ryan failed to acknowledge is that his plan would place the burden of rescheduling entirely on Rangers ticket-holders, who would have had exactly one day’s notice of newly scheduled home games, as opposed to a month for Astros fans.

Had the series been played in Arlington, the Rangers would have treated the Astros as the home team and given them all the revenue. Presumably, such a series would have been well-attended, generating much-needed funds for flood relief. However, Mr. Ryan chose to cut off his nose to spite his face by forcing the games to be played in St. Petersburg where on good nights, the fans outnumber the umpires.

The Rangers did what was right for themselves and their fans. It was a business decision that in no way affected treatment of flood victims.

— Doug

2. Thanks for your article today about what a selfish, self-centered, ego driven, insensitive person Jon Daniels is. Keep up the good work.

— Gary

3. Thanks for keeping us informed on what the Rangers’ management is doing. Unbelievable! A baseball team has to relate to the fans, and management has to understand that angle to build longevity in fan loyalty. Guess I am too old to relate to what they do here.

— Steve

4. You nailed it Mac.

— Dwight

5. Good article, Mac. Daniels exposes his soul. What a punk. Strange oppression with Ryan. No class. Started with the way he dumped Jackie Moore. Now this ... pathetic.

— Bill E.

6. Great reporting great article. Jon Daniels was described by Ian Kinsler as a “scumbag.” I agreed.

Anyone who would stick a knife in a quality hall-of-fame player and a class-act like Nolan Ryan is exactly that. Good job.

Remove a Nolan Ryan and what do you get? Your article sums it pretty nicely.

— Tom H.

7. Does JD truly believe his .496, fourth-place team, which has barely showed any playoff pulse this entire season, will REALLY be in the wild card hunt the last few days of September? I’m sure he gets paid to be the optimist for public consumption. But given these givens, putting on a brave face pales in comparison to doing right —the only thing that counts.


8. Good article on JD and the Rangers looking like total nimrods. An extra three days on a road trip at a five-star hotel playing a game that is two and a half hours long. Most people would call that a vacation. The Rangers suck this year and their management is delusional. Good job calling out those losers.

— Scott H.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof