Thursday, September 20, 2007

book review, part 3--your best life now

Probably the most frustrating thing about this book is that there actually is some good stuff in it, some good thoughts, but in the end it all comes almost to nothing. This guy isn't stupid, but right when he seems to come on the verge of something serious, he backs off, and it becomes all about 'prosperity, blessing, and the good life'.

Here's an example of something that actually is pretty good...

"Don't focus on your weaknesses, focus on your God."

...very well, no problem with that. In fact, one could look at where Paul said "in my weakness, God is made strong" and see how Paul came to rejoice in his weaknesses, and that could have given us some serious things to consider.

Osteen then does some rather unexpected--he tells the story of the three trees. I've heard variations on it, but the core story is like this; there are three trees in a forest, each has a wish of how they want to be used, and in the end they get their wish, though not as they would have hoped. One wanted to become a treasure chest, but was made into a manger that eventually held the child Christ. One wanted to be a part of a large boat carrying important people, but was made into a fishing boat that carried Jesus around. The third wanted to stand and point people to God, but was made into the cross on which Christ died.

It's an interesting story, but it seems that it runs contrary to much of Osteen's points. Simply put, none of those trees received their wish as they wanted it to be, in fact they became something else entirely. Even the author makes that point, "Your dreams may not have turned out exactly as you'd hoped, but the Bible says that God's ways are better and higher than our ways".

This is the frustration. If he weren't so wrapped up in the Word of Faith nonsense, he could have seen deeper into things. He could have seen that the man who wrote God has "blessed us with every spiritual blessing" was doing so from prison, and was probably writing to people who were not rich, some may even have been slaves, and they may have been subject to persecutions. He may have seen that the Bible tells us much about being content with what we have and cautions against pursuing wealth.

But, no, it doesn't go there. I'm almost afraid to speculate why, because I may be unfair to him. If I say something like "Well, he knows what sells, and what people want to hear", am I correct? I know I think that, but I'm not sure if it's true. It's too easy to say that those you disagree with have the worst of motives, even when it

No comments: