As you know, I’ve been out of commission on my library couch for a good six weeks now with a broken ankle. In that time, I have “discovered” Oprah. Every day, at four’o’clock, my husband and I sit down with our martinis and microwaved popcorn and turn on the TV to channel 3 to see what Oprah has up her sleeve for the day. Two weeks ago, it was “Living Green on the Planet” so we switched to cloth napkins and canvas shopping bags. Last week it was the “Law of Attraction” as set forth in the popular bestseller “The Secret.”
Now for those of us who were involved in the Way International, “The Secret” is old news. Wierwille called it “the Law of Believing.” I don’t know what Jesus called it but he certainly placed a lot of stock in faith. The book, “The Secret,” is no secret to me, in fact, it’s a little annoying, with its parchment-like cover and fake waxed seal as if we’ve discovered a treasure map to success. The “life coaches” swear by it. I’m skeptical.
Having been a believer for so long with dubious results, I object to the formulaic approach to life. Input in, data out. “It’s a law” they say, as simple as gravity and those who don’t believe end up in the “wrong place at the wrong time” and may be subject to all sorts of untowards circumstances, such as the holocaust, tsunamis or involvement in a destructive cult. What about AIDS babies, I wonder. “Who did sin?”
The proof, they say, that you’re “plugged in” to the secret of the universe is prosperity, happiness, a million+ dollar home in Malibu and traveling all over the world. Bad feelings equal bad thinking, equals bad believing.
Now, as a clinical social worker/ therapist, I know the power of positive thinking, I have no objection to that. I teach it to inmates on a regular basis. But to say that their poverty, addictions and lack of education is based on their willpower alone is to oversimplify very complicated issues.
Even King Solomon recognized that the “race was not always to the swift or the battle to the strong, or bread to the wise or riches to men of understanding but time and chance happens to them all (Ecclesiates 9:11) So how do we account for time and chance? I think there is such a thing as “bad luck” no matter how much you believe. Humans have been known to defy the law of gravity. Why can’t God throw in a wild card every once in a while?
I don’t believe in God the Machine. I believe in God the Creator/Destroyer. He/She/It is in charge and no matter how hard we follow the “laws”, there’s always that element of grace and surprise. Remember the father whose son was “possessed with demons” and Jesus asked him if he believed? The father said, Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” I’m a chronic hopeless doubter by nature and that’s my prayer every day. “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” As Dr. John Juedes said in an enlightening interview on believing on the Greasespotcafe.com, the relationship with God is what’s key here, not just my feeble capacity to operate some law as if it were a computer.
Sorry this is so long. I know blogs are supposed to be short and to the point. But I feel strongly about this. Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments and tell me what you believe.