Nathan Rousseau, associate professor of sociology at Jacksonville University, was featured prominently in an article in the Wednesday, Nov. 28, issue of the Florida Times-Union, discussing the mass appeal of preacher Joel Osteen. Osteen is in Jacksonville this week for a book signing and for his “A Night Of Hope” event Friday, Nov. 30.
Rousseau offered insights into Osteen’s popularity derived from a message of optimism in hard times.
“During difficult economic times, a message of hope, especially from a youthful, nice looking man, it feels good to people,” Rousseau told reporter William Browning. “People want to hear that.”
Osteen is not “overtly Christian” in his messaging, Rousseau said, making few references to Jesus Christ and avoiding fire and brimstone in his talks.
“An upbeat message without the frequent and explicit references to a particular faith is an effective way to market religion to a wider audience,” Rousseau was quoted as saying. “By emphasizing a positive message, rather than sin, Osteen makes his audience feel better about themselves.”
Read the full article here.