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  1. Hurricane Harvey dumped water, mud and debris over a large swath of land. The reaction from most was beautiful. Volunteer efforts to help, donations to crisis response charities swell, and prayers go up from most Americans, and people around the world. Then came a bizarre turn. A few decided to dump their water, mud and debris on one whom they judged to be not charitable enough. A fellow minister, Greg Locke, blamed Joel Osteen for his church’s slow response in opening up to shelter victims of Harvey. Similarly, Seattle commentators “Ron and Don” offered a biting comparison between Olsteen and Mr. Rogers. I get it. Olsteen’s rich, and it’s somehow soothing to our fragile souls to blame the rich, megachurch pastor for his failure to be loving and charitable enough. It’s also ugly. Olsteen explained his church’s response, and folk will either believe him or they won’t. Frankly, I’m troubled that he is having to defend himself in the court of public opinion. Perhaps LDS folk will get what I am saying better than many of my fellow traditionalists. You know what it is to have some pretty loathsome people condemn you, or your church, for seemingly minor offenses—insisting on the worst possible interpretations. Bottom line: I’d love to see how much Olsteen’s critics donated to Harvey relief efforts. Then I’d like to see how they respond the next time their good intentions are subjected to the most negative, cynical interpretations possible.