Friday, June 10, 2011


From Whence Inspiration?

Ron Edmondson has been posting "motivational quotes" lately and this one caught my eye.:
Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them. Orison Sweet Marden
First thought that ran through my mind is, "Who is Marden?" Said Wikipedia (linked earlier):
Marden supported himself during his college years by working in a hotel and afterward by becoming the owner of several hotels and a resort. Financial reverses ended that career, and in 1893, he was again working as a hotel manager, in Chicago, during the time that the World's Columbian Exposition was attracting visitors to that city from all over the world. It was during this period that he began to write down his philosophical ideas, with the goal of inspiring others as he had been inspired by Samuel Smiles.

In addition to Smiles, Marden cited as influences on his thinking the works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Ralph Waldo Emerson, both of whom were influential forerunners of what, by the 1890s, was called the New Thought Movement.

Marden's first book, Pushing to the Front, was published in 1894. He followed this with several more volumes on the subjects of success, the cultivation of will-power, and positive thinking. He founded Success Magazine in 1897 and was also a regular contributor to Elizabeth Towne's New Thought magazine Nautilus during the first two decades of the 20th century.
So, he is your basic run of the mill self-promoting inspirational speaker type - and his influences are decidedly non-Christian. So then the question entered my mind, "Is this a good source of 'inspiration' for Christians?"

There is no straightforward answer to that question, it's going to be very circumstantial, but in this case I think not. Yes, we must go through obstacles, but we do not do so under our own power. We do so by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit - and that dear friends is a huge difference.

Sometimes as Christians, we grab stuff that sounds good without thinking about it. Atleast maybe when we blog, we need to think about it.

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