Joel’s back, the exorcist speaks, United Methodist giving down

Catching up with a few things:

tjndc5-5olhb0ef0dg4tug9as6_layout1. Televangelist/media sensation/inspirational speaker Joel Osteen returns to the area tomorrow (Friday, March 19), offering a “Night of Hope” at the Meadowlands arena. I just took a quick look for two tickets on Ticketmaster and there are some left — although the best available was the upper deck.

He’ll come closer to filling the place than the Nets.

2. If you are so inclined, the Times of London ran a story on the Vatican’s official exorcist.

FatherGabrieleAmorthFather Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has held the top devil-chasing post for 25 years, says he has dealt with some 70,000 cases.

He also blames sex-abuse scandals and other problems on the devil infiltrating the Vatican. He speaks of “cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon.”

And if, like me, you’ve watched “The Exorcist” too many times, you’ll be interested to know that Amorth gives a thumbs up to the famous, 1973 film. It’s “exaggerated,” he says, but offers a “substantially exact” picture of demonic possession.

3. Want a pretty good sense of how the recession is affecting the day-to-day operations of a major denomination?

United Methodist churches contributed 84 percent of what the denomination budgeted to support worldwide ministries in 2009.

But the New York Conference was one of only 14 regional conferences (out of 63) that paid 100 percent of its budgeted contribution.