May 26, 2006

Selfishness

"Do you often dream of living a more rewarding life? Do you aspire to obtain a better job, a stronger marriage, a happier home? Do you wish for more gratifying relationships with your family and friends? Perhaps you simply want to accomplish more and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

If you are like most people, you have written these goals and dreams on a list that's titled "Tomorrow's To Do." You can't pursue what's truly important to you because your day is crowded by the demands of mundane routines and other people's priorities.

How do you break out and experience the full potential that God intended you to have?

The answer lies in a simple, yet profound process to change the way you think about your life and help you accomplish what's truly important. In this straightforward guide, Joel Osteen gives you seven simple, insightful steps to improve your life for good, and help you experience victory, joy and satisfaction everyday! This inspiring #1 New York Times Bestseller will put you on a journey to a brighter future. Your new beginning starts with these seven steps:

1. Enlarge Your Vision
2. Develop a Healthy Self-Image
3. Discover the Power of Your Thoughts and Words
4. Let Go of the Past
5. Find Strength Through Adversity
6. Live to Give
7. Choose to be Happy

In this remarkable book, Joel Osteen offers you unique insights and encouragement that will help you overcome every obstacle you may encounter. Your life has a divine purpose and destiny. As you put the principles found in these pages to work, you will begin living "Your Best Life Now!"

I knew the minute I passed this book on a Walmart shelf that I was worried. The cover art reminded me of one of those infomericals that give you the wonder thingamajig that in only one short span of time can work miracles on your chosen problem. I got curious, mostly because I had this gut feeling about the guy.

Sure enough, he claims to be Christian. The thing that turns my stomach is the language that he uses: "you can have whatever you want and God will give it to you!" As if that's what God's there for. I do my share of praying for stuff; every one of us has wants and desires for mundane stuff and sooner or later will justify a prayer to God about it using the "God cares about every part of my life" defense.

Not that it's incorrect, of course God cares about every part of my life. It's just that I think He's more interested in transforming my life into something less "me"-oriented and more "others"-oriented, which is pretty much the exact opposite of the claim this book seems to make. The description I gave above actually comes right from Osteen's website, which is rather hillarious to peruse.

I know we're supposed to remove the log from our own eye before we remove the splinter from somebody else's, but as someone who's sort of in-process, I can't help but notice the issues I've been working on in other places. This book is like the perfect illustration for my struggles of late.

I'm not sure how we as Americans became so consumeristic. We focus on the stuff we want to get and assume that, as long as we have enough [money/power/sex/job-security/etc], it'll all be ok and we'll be happy. And yet, the very existence of this book shows how unhappy that mentality has left us (there's no need to have a self-help book if you're healthy).

As if the world and God turn just for us.

My findings as of late have been rather unsettling. God loves each person individually, but more important, he seems to love humanity as a whole. The question of whether the individual or the whole of humanity is more important seems irrelevant to God, because it's not an either/or question. But that also means that you can't exclude the rest of humanity and focus on yourself.

Thoughts are still in development, so please leave thoughts, comments, threats, scripture references that could help ... you know, the works, whatever might help.

1 comment:

Ruth Harrison said...

hey
I am reading Making Poverty Personal...you got to read it...I am again proud of your unsettledness...don't get comfortable Chris....make your life...your short life...count!!! Ruth.