Thursday, August 09, 2007

7 Steps to Making Your Best Life Now Even Better!

I guess all those folks who read Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now are, well, happily living their best lives, their best possible lives, at this very moment. In fact, right now. And right now. And . . . well . . . every now to come.

So none of these folks are going to buy Joel's Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day, right? I mean, they can't get any better, right? They're already "best"! So that's about 4 million people that won't need Joel's new book. Nor will they need the inevitable Become a Better You for Moms, Become a Better You for Teens, Become a Better You Journal, etc.

They won't need any of that, but I guess they'll buy the stuff anyway. You know why? It's because their best life now is really not so hot. Oh, they don't blame Joel for that. Joel couldn't possibly be at fault (I mean, doesn't the new book's "product description" from the publisher proclaim that "people love Joel Osteen--they love to be in his presence, to hear him speak, and to read what he's written--they just can't get enough of him"). No, it can't be Joel's fault, not at all, but it just seems that their best life now is, well, lacking something. Maybe "7 Steps" is all they really need!

As marketers know, the American consumer is eternally optimistic that the next celebrity-endorsed self-help project is the one that will finally bring home the grand prize of the golden life. And Christian's are not notably different in this respect. In fact, they're leading the pack!

It kind of reminds me of something Mark Lauterbach at Gospel Driven Life said recently: "self-help versions of Christianity are denials of the Gospel." Since that's a theme with me, I'm quoting him here with great thankfulness. I often read Mark's post and say, "Yes!" frequently and fervently. Mark says,
In the last year I have become increasingly convinced that the Gospel makes no sense to the natural man. Not only is it counter-intuitive to the unbeliever but it requires constant reminders to the Christian. I am so deeply self-help oriented that I quickly move on from the Gospel and God's work to save me -- to myself and my work to improve my life.
Read it all. It's called Living the Gospel in an age of self-help. It's right on the money. And because I can't resist, here's one more gem:
The Gospel comes to moderns with a massive, loud word of "CEASE" -- and it tells us that our efforts are in vain, that the problem is much deeper than we can even imagine. We do not need a better set of how to's, or a better teacher, or a better therapist. All of that is the equivalent to giving swimming lessons to people shipwrecked and floating in water 1000 miles from shore. It may give them a brief sense of power, but it is delaying the inevitable.
Mark goes on to explain that the old time legalism and the modern self-help are flip sides of the same worthless coin. Toss it away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

interesting thoughts about the direction self-help.