13 December 2009

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.

Labels: , ,


At December 17, 2009 4:18 p.m., Blogger Carlo said...

I don't know why this stuff means so much to so many people! It goes back to platitudes, and how some people obviously just don't feel the need to think too hard about things - better to just 'enjoy the mysteries' or whatever. You should read the book and dissect every chapter!

At December 20, 2009 7:57 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Hell no. And I seriously mean, HELL NO. No fucking way.

Actually from what I'm hearing (read on a comment at PZ's and overhearing from my wife) it really does seem to be about trying to recruit volunteers for churches.

Today, my wife and her sister were talking about a chapter where the take-home message was that if you're searching for a perfect church, you're going to be searching for a long long time because nobody's perfect (except Jesus. It's your job to protect the unity of your church and try not to do all the little evil things like gossip and quarrel that ruin churches.

Seriously, that's a purpose for your life? Gimme a break. That's like saying my life's purpose is to not make fun of peoples' haircuts at the office.

At December 20, 2009 11:56 p.m., Blogger Theo Bromine said...

So, not everyone is "called" to sacrifice themselves to work with poor people or preach the gospel - most people just have the purpose of properly using the "gifts" with which they have been "blessed" by "God". This for the most part seems to mean just quietly going about their business until they shuffle off this mortal coil and go to heaven. Thus the necessity for keeping the peace in the church community (ie avoiding quarreling and gossip). And I guess if one reads the book, it might even explain how to avoid boredom (which is probably the cause of much of the quarreling and gossiping).


Post a Comment

<< Home