The Vanity Fair Lunch Interview
We thought we knew everything about Houston's Joel Osteen. But in the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Osteen lunches with writer John Heilpern and reveals several nuggets about himself that we haven't read anywhere else.
The story is not on the magazine's Web site, but here are the interesting parts:
1. When the waiter in a New York restaurant tells Osteen that his chicken comes with a bed of baby bok choy and sesame seeds, he looks dubious. "I don't know what bok choy is," he says. He gets unnamed vegetables instead.
2. There is no cross displayed in Lakewood Church. "When my dad founded our church, he used either a globe or a map of the world behind him. It was symbolic of what Christ said: To go forth and preach hope to the world. We believe in the cross, but we just continued with the globe."
3. He hasn't sinned very much. "I've never done anything you would call 'terrible.' I haven't done drugs. Victoria's the only girl I've dated," he said, referring to his wife of 22-years. "I'm probably squeaky clean — I don't have to say it."
4. Lakewood takes in $75 million a year in tithes and donations. But Osteen says he doesn't take a salary from church revenue. His income comes from his books. The reported advance for his previous best-seller, Become a Better You, was $13 million.
5. He doesn't see a conflict between his prosperity and God's teachings. "I think people in my congregation would say, 'Wow! God has blessed Joel and Victoria!' I think the people I'm talking to would say that if God did it for me, He can do it for them."