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Girl (and Boy), START Apologizing

The popular era of Christian self-help gurus is extraordinarily perplexing to me.  It didn’t start with Joel Osteen, though he typically is regarded as the modern godfather of the movement.  It’s perplexing because Biblical Christian teaching is fundamentally at odds with any notion of self-help.  Perhaps I should rephrase that.  Biblical Christian teaching is focused on establishing the enduring truth that the only “help” our “self” can get is by putting it to death.

Christ never tells us to esteem ourselves.  He tells us to “kill” ourselves and find new life in Him.  Only by putting to death our selfish ambitions, vain conceit, and our impassioned desires to make this life all about our own dreams and goals, can we find liberation and real, lasting, meaningful “help.”

It’s not that I oppose Osteen’s message to smile more and think positive thoughts.  It’s that I find such a message falls woefully short of the truth, and in fact imperils the faith of many who falsely come to believe that God is in the business of glorifying man.  True Christianity isn’t about living our best life now; it’s about sacrificing this life now so that we can enjoy our best life later. 

But if anything, Osteen’s success has spawned a multitude of others peddling the same message.  And it appears he has an emerging female version in Christian self-help author Rachel Hollis.  Hollis gained fame for her first New York Times bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face.  It was well-written, polished, and easy-to-read, which only made its glaring theological deficiencies all the more alarming.

And now, after building an impressive media company, a ridiculously large following, and a global reputation as a motivational, self-help guru, Hollis is back with a second book called Girl, Stop Apologizing.  Since I have not read the book, I will not attempt to cast judgment upon its message or the instruction it offers the fairer sex.

I will, however, admit that given Hollis’s track record, the title of the book should give all believers cause for concern.  After all, as Jen Oshman writes in her fantastic review of the book:

Contrary to the message of Girl, Stop Apologizing, becoming the women we were meant to be starts with apologizing. It starts with the humble acknowledgement that we were made by a beautiful and holy God, and that we rebel against him in countless ways every day. It starts with recognizing that Jesus died and rose to rescue us. And as once-hopeless sinners who have been mercifully forgiven, it starts—and continues, and ends—with treasuring Christ above all.

Becoming the women we were created to be means following Jesus, believing in Jesus, living for Jesus—not ourselves.

Ditto that for men.  It’s alarming how that simple message is becoming increasingly blurred by new age, self-help philosophy wrapped in Christian language.

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