Last night in community, our ekklesia joined together to watch a video that accompanies the best-selling book, The Secret. I had heard of the book because it has been on the best-seller’s list for quite some time. In addition, it has been repeatedly featured on my favorite candidate for the anti-christ, Oprah Winfrey’s television show. What prompted me to buy the video and ask our community to watch it and comment on it together was a situation that occurred at a local church where Christ-followers were quoting the book and telling others to read it. In a bible study my wife Vicky attends there were people encouraging each other to buy it and begin to apply "the secret" to their lives. So, because I love to be aware of cultural phenoms, I picked up the video. I am a realist when it comes to our community though…I knew that most of them wouldn’t read the book even if we challenged them to…so, the video presentation of the book’s thesis sufficed. As we began, I told our community about a few things: I gave them a few comments about the history of gnosticism, the Rosicrucians, the infiltration of platonic philosophy into the mainstream of Christian thought and I also reminded them of the importance of NOT demonizing anything in culture but to seek to understand it, see where Jesus is in the middle of it, and then use it as an entrance into relationship and conversation for the kingdom. We then viewed the 90 minute video.
I don’t want to take the time to get into it fully here…all I can say is that it is another incarnation of individualism, rapid narcissism, materialism, and complete worship of "me". There’s nothing new here…just more bold statements about how "you" can get what you want in life…riches, houses, cars, vacations, anything you want or you can "visualize". The real interesting part of the video was that as we were watching it in community, the news of what happened @ Virginia Tech was breaking news. I thought to myself, "I guess those students and professors who were killed were not visualizing or feeling positive, successful thoughts today…that’s the reason they were all killed…the universe was giving them what they deserved…the "law of attraction" (which is the big secret) worked…they simply attracted death. They got out of bed, stubbed their toe or something, maybe cussed under their breath, and the universe brought them more of what they were emoting.
I simply want to say right here and right now – "The Secret" is irrelevant in dealing with real life. It appeals to that which first attracted Adam/Eve to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…the god of "me". It has nothing to do with community, relationships, serving, suffering, self-denial, sacrifice, or any other ideal that is even close to being that which should be the praxis of anyone who claims Jesus, not as enlightened guide, but as Lord. I would say to each person who sees this blog…don’t read the book…buy or rent the video…take 90 min. of your life and see what this "phenomenon" is about. You need to know what this cultural phenomenon is all about. Not to proof text here but see 2 Cor. 10:5, "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ". We need not fear! We need not get defensive or claim this is an overblown attack and hide out in perceived religious bunkers. We can take any thought captive and see God leverage it for the sake of the kingdom. You can use it to enter into conversation with people about what reality and love is really all about.
One final comment – one of our community members rightly stated last night that there has been a strange "silence" from the Christian sub-culture on "The Secret". I have my suspicions why that is true…so many so-called Christian organizations and even churches are steeped in the theology of prosperity and success. Unfortunately in my sometimes jaded mind, when I hear things like "Your best life now", I think of what I heard and saw in "The Secret". Trust me, this stuff is much more insidious then Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, DaVinci Code, Gay rights, MTV or any other target that is demonized by the religious subculture. Let’s keep our eye on the ball, shall we?
Oh, one more thing – check out my friend, Mike Erre’s message on "The Secret". This guy is not only a stud but a wise stud at that! Here’s the link. Go to the podcast or sermon for 03/19/07. While your’s at it, subscribe to the podcast (and, because I wuv Mikey, buy his book, Jesus of Suburbia…I know it is shameless, but what can I say!). Secondly, study a bit about Rosicrucians and The Secret by checking out their websites. Here and here.
Over and out!