Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Secret?

I don’t usually post rants but this is something I feel really strongly about.

I saw a commercial for Oprah the other day that proclaimed on Thursday I could hear ‘the secret.’ I wasn’t sure what that meant but it at least struck my curiosity. So I tuned in to see what was up on Thursday night (I can watch Oprah at 6pm because I get some Spokane channels.) I have to admit that the only things I know about The Secret I gleaned from the 20 minutes I could stand to watch on Oprah and through doing a little bit of research on the web to confirm my suspicions were right and I wasn’t just grumpy. I have not read the book or watched the DVD. I try not to say I will never to something because then I seem to feel stupid when I end up doing it. But suffice it to say I have no intention of watching the DVD never mind reading the book.

First of all the only thing new about this concept is that someone decided to package it as The Secret. Most people will have heard one variation of it or another. Basically the premise of The Secret is that we attract the things we want into our lives by what we think and feel. If you don’t believe me check Oprah’s website. Hmmm, I don’t know about you but this reminds me of just about every motivational speaker out there. It’s not new and certainly not a secret.

On some level there is some truth to the idea that we attract good or bad stuff into our lives. I know I am often the author of my own misery. I also know that sometimes my circumstances have nothing to do with choice and I can’t just ‘pull up my boots straps’ and change things. There is a balance to that. Life is not about attracting good stuff into our lives.

I guess one of the reasons this bugs me so much is that there is a Christian equivalent. Some people profess that becoming a Christian means that our lives will be filled with riches and nothing bad will ever happen. That is simply not true. The Bible doesn’t promise an easy life. In fact there are many places it says the opposite. My favorite illustration of this is in Hebrews 11 (which is often referred to as the faith chapter.)

But others trusted God and were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free. They placed their hope in the resurrection to a better life. 36 Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. 37 Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half; others were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, hungry and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world. They wandered over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All of these people we have mentioned received God’s approval because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can’t receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race.

The first thing I heard from one of the guests was that in order to know you truly forgive someone you have to be able to thank them for that experience. That’s just dumb. Yes forgiveness is important. Thankfulness is important too. I am thankful to God that he had carried me through some storms. I forgive people for some of the stuff that has been done to me. But I believe that there is evil in the world. If there is an evil one than sorry but I am not going to be thankful for the things he has caused. I am also not necessarily going to reconcile with someone who has hurt me. I mean really, “thank you ex-husband for beating the crap out of me. It made me a better person.” “Thank you for abusing me as a kid. It made me a better person.” SERIOUSLY!

I could go on but I guess I should tell you why I care so much. I have three (maybe four) reasons. The first is that people who try to subscribe to this type of philosophy tend to gloss over the pain in their lives. They don’t deal with stuff. They don’t allow God to care for them. They think they can live life on their own. So they push stuff down and never deal with it.

Second, people who engage a culture where the assumption is that they attract good things in their lives often don’t get real when shit happens. They live in bondage and hide things. They try to figure stuff out themselves. They go through things alone because they don’t believe the others around them will understand.

The third reason is related to the first. We need to have compassion for each other. If our assumption is that we need to attract good things into our lives we may have trouble with compassion. We will hesitate to walk with someone who is going through a hard time. Actually people who are going through a hard time won’t talk to us.

Singing cheerful songs to a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing someone’s jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in a wound. Proverbs 25:20, NLT

The forth (and maybe) reason is that I tried to live this way many different times. It didn’t work for more than a month or so. It distracted me from being the type of woman God wanted me to be.

That’s my rant.


Micha said...

Hi Misty,

I didn't watch Oprah but I did like the comments that you made in your blog. I REALLY think that you should copy all of the comments that you made and send them into Oprah. Your comments are always very well written and it would be interesting to see if someone in her 'empire' takes notice of them. Let me know if you do it.

Kyla said...

I agree with you Misty...I started watching that show and had to change the channel too

Tracey Craigon said...

testing if this comment will post

Tracey Craigon said...

Hi Misty,

Was having some trouble posting comments again. (><) As for your post, I agreed alot with what you said. As Christians, we of course are not called to "thank" our persecutors nor purposely go about seeking trouble because of our faith. We are simply called to be faithful and thankful to God in good times and in times of trial and suffering, for His glory. As for judgement of others, we're to leave that to God. (1 Peter 4:16) "But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for teh privilege of being called by his wonderful name! For the time has come for judgement, and it must begin first among God's own children. And if even we Christians must be judged, what terrible fate awaits those who have never believed God's Good News? "

Love and prayers,