February 26, 2003

Musings on Peale
The Thomas a Kempis quote reminded me of a time, years ago, when I was perusing Norman V. Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking. I was struck by how mechanistic it was; the mind a computer to be programmed with Pauline verses like, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me". At the time I thought: wouldn't it be better if we let God inspire us with those thoughts? Peale's approach, perversely, seemed to be taking God out of the picture - we shall simply program ourselves for love and confidence in God.

Now I see that what is needed is not "either/or" but "and/both". It's a microcosm of the endless mystery of cooperation between man and God - a symbiosis where one never quite can tell where man ends and God begins, where the natural is left behind and grace is added. This reprogramming might be a purely human activity, but the richness of the Word has within itself the seeds of divine activity. The successful Pealite might be successful partially due to the programming and partially due to the grace of the God, which does accomplish all things which strengthen us. One could say that it is merely programming reality into oneself, like constantly repeating, "the grass is green...the earth is round..."

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