I had considered writing a Christian non-fiction book for some time, but the topic evaded me. A couple of issues were a possibility, but they had already been written about extensively, and I did not have anything particularly new or fresh to add to the conversation. So those were dead ends.
[If you are an author, how did you finally decide on a topic?]
I noticed that a group of related problems seemed connected to an underlying weakness in modern Christianity, but I was uncertain what it was exactly. I began doing a little research (okay – wasting time on the internet) and stumbled upon an independently published book about the problems of excessive optimism. This led me to other articles and books, and the rest is history. I had my connection.
I learned about the history of “positive thinking” in America. While positive thinking developed in the mid-twentieth century, it was birthed from the “mind-power” movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. The mind-power movement in its most popular form was known as New Thought. It developed in distinctly occultist and mystical subcultures. It was an eclectic movement that pulled a little of this and a little of that from multiple belief systems. The basic tenets of New Thought conflicted with core and critical Christian beliefs. Yet Christianity eventually came under the power of this movement. Read my book to learn more.
History is important. If we don’t properly understand the past, we can’t properly understand the present. What fascinated me, and still does, is how many things in our culture today can be traced back to mind-power and New Thought!
The self-help genre
The expression “think positive” or
“Sending positive thoughts your way”
Optimistic motivational philosophy
The self-esteem methodology
The prosperity gospel
The philosophy behind the book and movie “The Secret”
These things, which are so commonplace today, did not always exist. The idea of optimism as a key for success or the supposed need for high self-esteem to be a productive member of society – these would have been strange and unheard of ideas in earlier America. Yet today you may be reviled or misunderstood for merely suggesting otherwise…
This approach to life feeds upon the inherent human weakness of pride and self-centeredness. Christianity and New Thought, Christianity and optimistic motivational philosophy…stand at odds with each other. The blending of these philosophies was harmful to the faith. When the church catches the spirit of the age, it becomes spiritually weak and sick.
My book Positively Powerless reveals the deceptions of the positivity movement that engulfed our culture. Break free from its chains, and be reestablished in a God-centered life.