The righteous shall inherit the LOA
Appearances are not reality, but they often can be a convincing alternative to it. You can control appearances most of the time, but facts are what they are. When the facts are too sharp, you can craft a cheerful version of the situation and cover the facts the way that you can cover a battered old four-slice toaster with a knitted cozy featuring images of kittens.
~American novelist Dean Koontz
from The Good Guy (2007)
The above quotation appears in the context of Dean Koontz's description of a psychopathic killer who always tries to put a positive spin on every situation, even when things aren't going so well for him. But it's also a perfect description of the way many New-Wage gurus ply their trade, don't you think? That's why this particular quotation stuck out for me when reading Koontz's novel (which I highly recommend, if you're a fan of suspense/thrillers). For some reason the kitten imagery really grabbed me too, maybe because I'm such a cat lover, as I'm sure many of you are. I didn't have time to hunt for a picture of a knitted toaster cozy with kittens on it, but fortunately I already had some kitty pics; they will just have to do. (Some of you, I think, will get the true significance of these pictures.)
But this post isn't about cute kittens. It is about another development in the career of David Schirmer, Aussie star of The Secret. An alert reader sent me a link to Schirmer's updated profile page on Marcy From Maui's Powerful Intentions web site. After going on about what a successful millionaire he is due to applying the Law Of Attraction, Schirmer adds:
I am a Christian and part of my goal is to help other Christians understand that God desires them to have abundance and prosperity in all areas of their life; and that sickness, lack and poverty are sin (falling short of the mark). God's promises are abundances and that "All things are possible for those who believe." Contrary to some of teachings linked to The Secret I do not believe all roads lead to eternal life with God - otherwise the Bible and God is a lie. So my other goal is to help people know the truth about Jesus, God and salvation.Regarding the first part of this statement, Schirmer is really not much different from the many advocates of "prosperity Christianity," such as Joel Osteen, the pastor of Houston's Lakewood mega-church. Nor is Schirmer all that different, in some respects, from New-Wage gurus who try to convince their followers that Buddha (for example) taught that desire is a virtue and that driving fancy cars and living in mansions is your divine right.
What really struck me, though, was the second part of this blurb, which seems to be a thinly veiled declaration that anyone who doesn't embrace Christianity lock, stock, and barrel is doomed to eternal damnation. This means that anyone who doesn't accept Jesus H. Christ as his or her personal savior will spend eternity in torment, presumably without BMWs, big houses, quarter-million-dollar dining room tables or any of the other good things that the Lord grants to the righteous.
This would mean that in reality, David Schirmer believes that most of his fellow Secret "teachers," and most of the New-Wage gurus he promotes in his magazine, Succeed, are going to burn in hell unless they decide to give their lives over to Jesus. Included on Schirmer's list of the damned would be Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, who is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Succeed, and who seems to be more enamored of Eastern philosophies, and some of those heathen indigenous teachings such as Ho'oponopono, than of Christianity. (He also, as you may recall, denies knowing Schirmer or having known anything about Schirmer's association with Succeed when he agreed to be interviewed for the magazine.)
So I guess if you can't join 'em, damn 'em, huh, David? I suppose you can't blame a guy for trying to establish a brand for himself. After all, the more famous Secret stars are dissociating themselves from Schirmer, and he hasn't been too successful so far at breaking into the US New-Wage market. So maybe he reckons that if he re-brands himself as some sort of an LOA (Law Of Attraction) Christian evangelist he will finally find acceptance on these shores.
Of course if he's not careful he could still end up in a bit of legal trouble, as has happened with quite a few of our famous evangelists. As Jimmy Swaggart learned, for example, sometimes the Lord can't keep a good man out of the arms of wicked women, and as Jim Bakker learned, sometimes even Jesus can't keep a guy out of jail. (If you follow the link to the Wiki article on Bakker, scroll down to the section labeled, "Philosophy," and see what Bakker has to say about "prosperity theology.")
Amazingly, some folks have apparently bought Schirmer's Christian shtick, leading me to believe that the most abundant resource in the universe, for New-Wage hucksters anyway, is the gullibility of Powerful Intentions community members. Indeed, the army of the deluded seems to be growing, as evidenced by some people's comments on Schirmer's Powerful Intentions page (apparently in response to his invitation to be their "friend"). For example, there's this one:
Dawn Nocera said…Dawn, Dawn, step away from that light!
Thanks for connecting! I love your magazine! Megan from Australia introduced it to me! Love those Aussie's! I also wanted to say thank you for letting the world know you are a CHRISTIAN! You are a light for me to follow. Thank you again!
By the way, anti-self-help-fraud activist John Curtis, who is on sort of a mission himself, sent a link to a good article on self-help from a Christian perspective. You might want to read this one, David...
Fame is a yobbo
I just had to use that word again; I learned it recently from one of my commenters. "Yobbo," for the benefit of those who don't know, is a Brit/Aussie slang word referring to a lout, a hooligan, a totally uncouth guy...well, you get the drift.
I thought of that word when I read a passage from another book I recently completed, the late Evan Hunter's 1974 novel, Streets of Gold. Hunter was a prolific author and screenwriter who also penned works under numerous other pseudonyms, of which the most widely known was Ed McBain. Streets of Gold is the story of Dwight Jamison, a blind jazz pianist born of Italian immigrants. Dwight was, for a spell, an American success story, rising to the giddy heights of a fame that was transitory, as fame often is. Fame, and the pursuit of fame, did some things to him that he really didn't like. Here's his take on success, American style:
Success is difficult to resist; it is exceedingly difficult to resist. It has been personified as female, the Bitch Goddess, but I firmly believe it is male in gender and exclusively American in origin. I have seen this hairy male beast...attack and devour the strongest men and women. He stinks of booze and fornication, his breath can knock you senseless for a week. He belches and farts in public, he uses obscene language, he is a braggart and a dullard, and he has but a single ear. Yet when he clutches you in his powerful arms and plants upon your lips a kiss that surely reeks of all things vile (it is the kiss of death, make no mistake), there is nothing to do but succumb. The Beast is too strong, he can break you in two, he can scatter your limbs to the four winds after he has picked them clean of flesh (he will do that, anyway), and it is better to suffer his crushing embrace (it's what you wanted all along, isn't it?) and let him take you where he will.But I bet you won't find that quotation in the pages of Succeed Magazine.
PS ~ I'm still working on a post about something I think is really important: the sad news of the end of Steve Salerno's SHAMblog. I hope to have that post up in the next couple of days. (But I'm not-so-secretly hoping that Steve changes his mind.)