Want a Bestseller? Write About God…or Something…

Wanted: a book to figure out God

Taken with my smudgy phone camera on my way through our local big-chain bookstore. What a menagerie! Pictured:

  • A New Earth
    Eckhart Tolle’s popular Easternish mystic self-help catechism.
  • The Shack
    Written by William P. Young and recommended by everyone I know, and their cousin. ;) No less than Eugene Peterson, for crying out loud, compares this to Pilgrim’s Progress! All right, all right, it’s on my list. But I’ll be reading the reviews and watching the conversations carefully.
  • The Secret
    New-age magical optimism from Rhonda Byrne.
  • Eat, Pray, Love
    Warm, fuzzy, epicurean navel gazing from Elizabeth Gilbert.
  • Three Cups of Tea
    Fighting the Taliban with books–fantastic! Visit the home pages for the book and the authors, missionary kid Greg Mortenson and journalist David Oliver Relin.
  • Home
    A breather–charming celebrity gossip of dubious accuracy from Julie Andrews.
    Just to cleanse the pallate for:
  • The God Delusion
    The evangelical Atheist, Richard Dawkins, makes the case for demonizing religion and religious people in the interests of humanity.
  • Nineteen Minutes
    Jodi Picoult’s novel of relentless bullying, a school shooting, and what it all might mean for those of us that still need to live together.
  • 21: Bringing Down the House
    The guys from M.I.T. in Vegas, putting their math skills to good use. ‘Cause you need something fun right about now.
  • Eat This, Not That
    Most of us will never attempt to game the system in Vegas. Our diets, on the other hand…

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for stopping by, Thom. I remember looking over your books on Amazon. They seemed similar in approach to one of my favorite scientific psychology books on self esteem.

    I appreciate your cautions that The Secret could become “poison for people who are already desperate self-blamers,” and your call to think things through carefully and with humility. The Christian tradition I draw upon urges us to pursue wisdom (“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight.” Proverbs 4:7), to listen critically and test what we hear (1 John 4:1), and to make our plans with many advisers (Proverbs 15:22).

    I think what all these books have in common (except possibly for the one about Vegas), is that they try to answer the perennial questions of how we human beings fit into the universe and how we can get a handle on our own lives. Those are questions with very high stakes (hmmm…back to Vegas again?), calling for a high degree of courage in the presence of uncertainty. While they might indeed have right answers and wrong answers (in addition to plentiful partial answers), no book–bestselling or obscure, wise or otherwise–and no other person–however admired or credentialed–can answer them for us. We rely on all this advice, these good books and loving fellowships and wise teachings–but in the end, nothing gets us out of the responsibility of judging and answering those questions for ourselves.

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