Joyce Meyer: From Power to Pragmatism

Evangelical Glitz

For those who have never heard of Joyce Meyer, a bit of an overview.  Joyce Meyer, born in 1943, is a Christian evangelical preacher whose half-hour TV programs are telecast on the Trinity Network and on other channels across the cable/satellite cosmos.  Like many successful evangelical endeavors today, Joyce Meyer Ministries has a global reach and that global extension is managed and made possible by a glitzy sales and marketing campaign.  The Joyce Meyer you will see today is an accomplished and polished personality, a well-promoted and well-turned out professional woman who is now living a comfortable upper class lifestyle upon the proceeds of a successful worldwide ministry.  And that, of course, draws harsh criticism from the anti-religious rakes who often equate evangelical preachers with snake oil salesmen and carnival hucksters.  But unlike those jealous anti-Christian hypocrites who point an accusing finger at any evangelical who dares to earn a thriving livelihood from thumping their Bible, I say, hats off to her!  Joyce Meyer has earned her daily crust and is entitled to the fruits of her labor.  Quite frankly, I’d rather cheer for a traditional religious entrepreneur then all those New Age Feel-Good-Frauds who hawk their for-profit wares over publicly funded PBS and NPR airwaves—those contemporary charlatans of shallow pop psychology preaching a vapid and godless gobble-de-gook to all those fervent white upwardly mobile middle class faces yearning for their nihilistic nirvana.  And these are the all-knowing elites who seek to sanction us!

But back to the topic at hand…I discovered Joyce Meyer about thirteen years ago while channel surfing one early morning.  Certainly the sight of a woman preacher caught my curiosity as did the sound of her raucous and, at times, ranting voice.  This Joyce Meyer of the 1990s was a very different model from the media manufactured doyenne of today.  The Joyce Meyer I first saw in 1997 didn’t soft-peddle her message nor did she soft-soap her audience.  Instead, this Joyce Meyer victoriously bore the scars of her hard won revelations and was hell bent on stuffing the truth of their wisdom into the minds and hearts of the mostly lower middle class women who made up her audience.

Although I am not a Christian, I was struck by this lady’s toughness, tenacity, and self-discipline.  Here was a working class woman from Missouri who had slugged away at life’s poor odds and had successfully pulled herself up by the biblical bootstraps through her faith, hard work, and true grit.  Her life struggle was her message.  Her personal hardships and victories poured meaning and substance into those ancient words of biblical wisdom from which she quoted.  This tough mid-west matron was a walking testament to the redeeming power of a living faith.

So what happened to that Missouri spitfire who preached with such feisty fearlessness? Where did all that energy and aggressiveness go?  Perhaps her ministry moguls felt the Joyce Meyer image needed to be made more palatable to a national and international audience.  Perhaps they thought to make her more appealing to a wider and more professional patron class, reaching beyond the lower middle class women who have always packed her seminars.  Whatever the rationale, the global marketing of Joyce Meyer has resulted in the stripping away of the very characteristics and personal foibles that made her so appealing and so powerful.  Gone, the Missouri mid-west twang; gone, the fierce and fiery rhetoric; gone, the zealous and uncompromising tenacity; gone, the unpolished, unpackaged housewife from Fenton, Missouri.  All replaced by the perfected vocalizations, the modulated messages, the trendy face lifts, and the homogenized homilies seemingly divorced from the PR personality standing at the pulpit.

But all things and all people must change and move on.  Time takes its toll on all of us and what impassioned us over a decade ago may not peak our emotions in the same way today.  But the folks at Joyce Meyer Ministries have messed with the very product that spiked their success.  Like the new and improved Coke, the new and improved Joyce Meyer has left many of her original fans feeling flat and disappointed.  Her current teaching CDs lack the sting and grit of the old cassette tapes that she produced back in the 1980s and 1990s when she was preaching to small groups in local bible classes.  These old cassette tapes are her most powerful work.  Although her communication style could be harsh and haranguing at times, her messages came across powerful and effective.  You laughed a lot as well as winced–many of the life stories that she shared were funny as well as sad.

No matter what your religious beliefs or lack there of, you will enjoy and benefit from the Joyce Meyer cassette tape collection.  As an eclectic seeker of work-a-day wisdom from any quarter, I have never felt the need to be in total harmony with any  philosopher, preacher, scholar, political pundit, or any other of the worldly wise in order to benefit from the nuggets of their knowledge.  The wisdom, after all, is already buried in our brains; the source only nudges it to the surface.

Here are some of Joyce Meyer’s tape collections that I’ve listened to and learned from: Wilderness Mentality; Grace, Grace, and More Grace; Making Right Choices; Mind, Mouth, Moods, and Attitudes; How to Succeed at Being Yourself; The Spirit of Fear; Integrity; Thoughts and Words; and The Power of Hope.  You can’t find these tapes at the Joyce Meyer website–they’re only selling her newer CDs, DVDs, and books.  But if you look around the internet you can find them here and there.  Amazon sells some of them through other vendors.  Worth the time seeking them out.  Not to say that her newer stuff isn’t worth listening to, but I just can’t get past the evangelical glitz.

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7 Responses to Joyce Meyer: From Power to Pragmatism

  1. Janey says:

    I believe in a higher power; I feel a welcome sense of well being in choosing to accept and reap the prospects of believing in a higher level of consciousness. I am, however, appalled at the televised evangelical movement. I believe that ALL tele-evangelists are monetary villains. They take advantage of vulnerable people, the elderly and those going through dark times in their lives. I’ve read plenty about Joyce Meyer to know that she’s no different than any of the other con artists on TV using the word of Jesus Christ as a cover for their villainous tactics.

    Joyce Meyer has been investigated by the Feds more than once for improper use of donations from her ministries, her lavish lifestyle of expensive homes, aircraft, cars, clothing and an abundance of rare exotic antiques, etc. That’s the norm for these evangelical hucksters who dare to call themselves Christians, reading from the bible and duping people out of millions of dollars annually. These people I classify as nothing more than criminals. Dark entities that inhabit the earth in physical bodies.

    Just remember at all the graft involved with these criminal TV evangelists: From Jim and Tammy Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell, Kearney Thomas, Creflow Dollar, Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn, Peter Popoff, Jan and Paul Crouch etc.

    I don’t mean to be mean spirited. I’m just extremely annoyed at ALL of those TV evangelists who’ve made a very wealthy life for themselves by stealing from people by using the sacred word of Jesus Christ as merely a front. That makes me want to cry. Really it does.

    I consider myself a very honest person. One of the biggest turnoffs for me is anyone who isn’t honest. I believe in giving anyone the benefit of the doubt, but when so many of the TV evangelists have been exposed for fraud, sex abuse, etc., I can’t be quiet about it. I’m saddened that there are so many people who give into these con artists. The world has much beauty and splendor, though through tough times that beauty can be difficult to access when we aren’t able to see clearly. People become vulnerable and that’s why it’s so important to have someone you can trust that’ll be faithful to you in times of need, and no TV evangelist can EVER offer that. They’ll just take your money and laugh all the way to the bank.

    • Hi Janey,

      I can understand where you’re coming from. Fraudulent flim-flam men and women are everywhere today and the evangelical side of Christianity has been no stranger to the Elmer Gantry approach to raking in the dough. I don’t know anything about Joyce Meyer’s finances but it appears that those investigations never resulted in any charges of wrongdoing, as far as I know.

      But none of that matters to me….I see nothing wrong with a preacher or pastor getting rich from their sermons, their teachings, and their charismatic skills. Their wealthy lifestyle is certainly transparent–they’re not hiding it. So people can make their own choice when it comes to donating/supporting those ministries. Obviously many people have benefited from Meyer’s messages and shared personal history, me included. Heck, there are many many lawyers, doctors, and other professionals who get pretty darn rich ministering in their own way to people’s miseries.

      Joyce Meyer is rabidly anti-homosexual but that has never stopped me from buying one of her tapes, a CD, a DVD, or one of her books. She may be a flim-flam female but I have gotten my money’s worth from her messages. No complaints here.

  2. Mejustme says:

    I am looking for a set of tapes I used to listen to all the time back in 1996 or so. I borrowed some from a friend and did not have all of them but definitely enjoyed the ones I heard. In this series she had a bunch of positive sayings that she said every day. Among these were Mark 11:23. Does ANYONE know the name of this series? I really want it! 🙂 Thanks for any help.

    • There are two sets of her tapes that I have that specifically address words and thoughts: The Power of Thoughts and Words and The Mouth: Out of the Heart the Mouth Speaks. The Mouth series is a 6-tape set and the 2nd tape is called Doing Warfare with Words.

      During her own spiritual development, she made lists of affirmations that she read aloud every day that addressed various struggles she had in her life. She is also, like many Christians, a strong believer in calling those things that are not as if they are.

      I don’t know if the above is helpful, but any of her old tapes are well worth listening to.

    • JCJohnson says:

      A posting from JoyceMyeyerMinistries’ FACEBOOK page mentions …
      “HEALING SCRIPTURES TO BE READ DAILY”
      and includes Mark 11:23…
      “20. What you say will make a difference. So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. (Mark 11:22-23 NKJV)”

      No mention of the cassette series you are looking for but maybe the list was taken from the series and is the same one you remember.

      Also if you want to post a reply (and ask there) maybe someone there can give you the name of the cassette series from the 90s that you are thinking of. … here is the web page link …

  3. Wow, what a nice surprise to find this post. I realize it’s several months old but still wanted to leave a comment.

    I discovered Joyce Meyer exactly as you did, channel surfing one morning. I’ve been watching her short programs regularly now for about a year and a half. She has been a true teacher for me, and a real help with lots of my own “stinkin’ thinkin.’ But I have to say, I wish I could have heard her back when you first did, because my impression of her now, fits exactly how you described her from the 80’s and 90’s!

    It was really interesting reading your take on her, which matches my own, except that she seems and sounds different to you now. I’ll have to look for some of those tapes you mentioned.

    I enjoyed this post, and am glad you found nuggets of wisdom in her words.

    • I’ve gotten a lot from her tapes over the years. And I’ve just downloaded her book, Power Thoughts, to my Kindle. I certainly liked her better before she became a global phenomenon, but she still has a lot to offer.

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