The Purpose Driven Life for my Wife
Given all the talk on Pharyngula and elsewhere right now, I had to reflect on Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life. Unfortunately, my life, purposeful or not, is not immune to his dreck. My wife has recently started working through the book with her sister. Both of them are currently unemployed and feeling listless right now so I guess they figured it's a good time to do it.
I've tried to stay out of it as much as possible - a year later and I'm still burned out from attending the Alpha Course with my wife. Any more immersion into the loony Christoworld and I fear my brain will collapse (and with it, any bridges I'm currently designing). So any analysis I have on TPDL will be superficial by necessity.
Based on simply the book cover, the damn thing is almost certainly preying on the boring housewife demographic. Purple background, gold accents, elegant flowing scripts, definitely for the "feeling" crowd. Then again, I'm very surprised it doesn't have the typical "photo of the author smiling in a suit" cover that most self-help books have. So kudos to Warren for that.
Overhearing my wife and her sister talking about it, it is certainly very God focused. You can't go a paragraph in it without encountering a bible verse or a statement about how God wants humans to behave and think.
Last year, another one of my wife's sisters read TPDL and for some damn reason she was telling me about it. So I asked her, having just finished the book, what the purpose of her life was. She said "It's a great book, it explains how God has a purpose for everybody." So I asked again, what God's purpose for her was, and she said "God has different plans for everybody and has gifted us with different skills and abilities to serve that purpose." Great, I said, and asked again what skills and purposes she has. She said "all these skills are what God wants us to do." This went on for a minute or two until I gave up. So my conclusion is a) my sister-in-law has terrible reading comprehension, b) Rick Warrens book is mainly religious fluff that doesn't actually address its topic beyond "do what God wants you to do", or c) a little of column (a) and a little of column (b).
If I hear anything else from my wife, I'll let you know, but just a warning, I'm not going to torture myself over this.