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Friday, November 4, 2016

Think Better, Live Better

Think Better, Live Better: Deleting Negative Thoughts, Labels, and AttitudesThink Better, Live Better: Deleting Negative Thoughts, Labels, and Attitudes by Joel Osteen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the latest book by Joel Osteen. For those who don't know him, he is the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He took over in 1999 when his father died. In 2003, the church moved into the former Compaq Center, where the Houston Rockets of the NBA used to play basketball. His sermons are broadcast every week on various cable channels.

This book, like his others, is a collection of his sermons. This concept by itself is not new. Priests and ministers of all religions have been publishing collections of their sermons for many years. I focused on the content of the sermons. To me, they felt like something I would read in The Secret, only with Bible references. The themes are eliminate negativity, you have possibilities, good things are coming your way, God wants you to have abundance, just believe. It's good to believe all these things. It's just not enough.

First, there are some things that will never happen, no matter how much you believe. I am 52 years old with major health problems, and have never been very athletic. I will never play professional sports. The Vikings will never call me to replace someone in their starting lineup. I can believe, I can tell myself it will happen, but it's not happening. It's not meant to be. That needs to be there.

Second, there's nothing in here about taking action. For many years, I wanted to write a novel. I could think about it, I could believe, but until I sat down at my laptop and actually started writing, it wasn't going to happen. It did happen, and I published my book, Operation Mermaid: The Project Kraken Incident, late last year. The inspiration helped, but not without action.

Third, he talks about abundance. I wonder what he thinks of this Bible story. I'm paraphrasing Mark 10:17-27. A rich man went to see Jesus, and asked, "What must I do to gain eternal life?" Jesus told him, "Keep the commandments. Don't lie, don't steal, honor your father and mother." The rich man said, "I've done all these things. What more must I do?" Jesus looked at him with love and said, "Sell everything and give to the poor. Then you can follow me." The rich man walked away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven." On the one hand, Joel Osteen is saying God wants you to have abundance and be rich. On the other hand, Jesus is saying it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. How do you reconcile those two?

The book is OK as far as it goes. It's just incomplete.

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