The grinning face of Joel Osteen is a familiar face in the parachurch evangelical world these days, promising all of us our “best life now” via watching his affirming sermons and buying his even more affirming books, CDs, and mp3 downloads. But now his brand of prosperity gospel has reached a new level: the board game.
“Your Best Life Now: The Game,” according to its promotional material, “enables players to step beyond the one-on-one nature of the book and feel, touch, and live Joel’s 7 Steps To Living At Your Full Potential with your friends and family.” It is “an entertaining and educational way to take inventory of yourself and accountability of your actions.” The board game, with Osteen’s smiling face right there on the box, allows the player to “Enlarge Your Vision, Develop a Healthy Self Image, Discover the Power of your Thoughts and Words, Let Go of the Past, Find Strength Through Adversity, Live To Give, and Choose to Be Happy.”
That’s right. You too can be free of the past and happy. How much would you expect to pay for this inner peace and self-esteem? $34.99? No! On Amazon.com, you can buy this pathway to the good life for one easy installment of only $19.95!
The board game is for those sixteen and up, I suppose to keep small children from realizing the Power of their Thoughts and Words before they’re ready to be in touch with The Force.
According to a press release, the game, released last fall, was designed by game inventor Richard C. Levy “whose credits also include board games based upon the best-selling books Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus and Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
I wish I could say this is a parody.
It is difficult to imagine the call to crucifixion as a board game. Crypto-gnostic prosperity Christianity on the other hand? It can be packaged any way one wants.
As long as there’s a smile with which to sell it.