I am not about to join the lamentations about the media that are flowing from the highest positions downward, but I do have a nit or two to pick about some of the recent things I have read about “The Power of Positive Thinking” and its links to our political scene.
I will begin by stating a prejudice that stems from the fact that Norman Peale hired me for the position I currently have and I will be forever grateful to him for that. I work at the church associated with his name. I’ll begin there. But my beef comes from the very superficial way that some authors see Dr. Peale’s book which has influenced more lives than their articles have.
Several weeks ago a man came to my Sunday class, obviously a visitor. After class he came up, holding a well-worn copy of Dr. Peale’s book and introduced himself. He was from Denmark, had read the book years before and remembered that it said in the introduction that if the reader were ever in New York he should go to Marble Church. The man said simply, “So here I am.”
This very influential work is based on Peale’s own firmly rooted belief in the power of God and, more specifically, in the force of God’s word in the Bible. The positive outlook he outlines is not a Pollyanna view of life. It is nurtured by the conviction that to read and then grasp the message the Bible offers makes one see everything in a new light, including oneself.
This is easy to summarize. It is much harder to actually put into practice. Work is involved here, along with deep thought and prayer. The first step is admitting the power of faith in God on which one ultimately bases a new faith in self. There is no human egotism in this. Some of the reporters are missing this vital link between God and the person.
The best leaders of nations are humble, that is, are honest. They see themselves as entrusted with a gift from the One who has all authority, an authority for which they need continual divine help. Positive Thinking begins right there. Without God, who is the person?