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Thanks to televangelist, columnist sees the light

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wave Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

I'm not normally one for televangelists and what they have to say, but when I glanced at the TV on my way to study for finals one evening, there was something about Reverend Ole Josteen that kept me interested.

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The guy had been to a few Toastmasters meetings, a few Dale Carnegie courses -- I could tell that right away. But it wasn't Reverend Josteen's -- or Ole, as I'm sure he'd rather be called -- public speaking skills that drew me in. Nor was it his pretty face, conservative and clean-shaven and always grinning, the face of a man bound for those deluxe quarters in heaven reserved for the Beautiful People.

It was Ole's teachings that truly got me believing, convinced that I had finally seen the light, and the light is good. His spiritual basis is simple yet enticing and completely logical: copious amounts of personal wealth, and an active relationship in Christ, are totally compatible.

Not only that, but if one believes in Christ, and asks for his blessings, God is more than willing to hand them out, even if it means leaving a few Haitian refugees to fend for themselves.

A skeptic at first, I am now a full-blown convert to Oleism. When initially presented with Ole's radical teachings, I couldn't help thinking back to the story of Christ raiding the temple and throwing out the money changers, or the Bible verse about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.

I half expected Jesus Christ to show up at Denothieves Temple and tip over the 10-foot tall globe himself, rotating behind Ole's head like some kind of idol. But when the TV cameras zoomed out to include the whole Temple, filled to the brim with perhaps 20,000 cheering believers, the strange revelation came to me that all these people couldn't possibly be wrong.

They obviously knew something about the Good Book I didn't, which was kind of shameful considering I spent two years of my life in Confirmation.

I was wrong. The Bible does condemn materialism and personal wealth. The trick is looking beyond the Bible, realizing that it was a book by and for people living two thousand years ago. Back then, Jesus taught all about spreading the peace and living the simple life and loving your neighbor as yourself.

But as society has developed and our understanding has progressed, we've come to realize that it just can't be that simple anymore. New types of people have come about who simply can't be loved, new countries have sprung up which deserve nothing other than to be blown to Kingdom Come, and most of all, money is no longer in the short supply that it was two millennia ago. There's enough money in this world for every American to be rich.

Yes, the Bible is incompatible with the modern world. And that's why we have Ole Josteen: God's living voice-box on earth, sent to show us as Christians living in the 21st Century how to live -- and possibly save our souls while he's at it.

Someday, every tongue will confess that Ole Josteen is the vicar of God Himself, someday every knee will bow ... to the giant spinning globe. Someday, every one of Ole's sermons will be compiled into a Limited Edition DVD box set and christened The Holy Bible: Part Two.

And now, good friends and neighbors, I encourage you to see the light and follow Ole Josteen in the way of truth before it's too late, before Ole retires. It's as easy as realizing that there's nothing you can want that God doesn't want you to have, no amount of narcissism and self-serving that isn't OK by Him, no exploitation of the Good Lord's Name for personal wealth that isn't completely within His Will. Join the Good Faith, and thou shall want no more.

Ask, and it will be given to you, in canvas bags filled with coins; search, and you will find treasure troves of money -- that key to happiness that has eluded you for so long; knock, and the door will be opened to a lifestyle you would have felt guilty about in your old faith, the faith that taught you God wants you to be humble and giving.

God has new and exciting plans for you -- plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future, plans to make you bloody rich.

Nathan Kitzmann is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.

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