looking for significance in all the wrong places

Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert discuss Eat, Pray, Love, the subject of a new movie with Julia Robert.

Apparently it’s not just 20-somethings who are self obsessed. It’s everywhere, really, and with the same root cause. Christine Flowers, for instance, says Elizabeth Gilbert can “eat, pray, love” all she wants, but she shouldn’t be writing.

In a devastating critique of modern memoirs, Flowers puts Gilbert in the category of “Books by Unexceptional Women Who’ve Deluded Themselves into Thinking That Their Every Thought Is Transcendental.”

And she’s just getting started. She provides examples of “Books by Misfits Who Need to Tell Us How Pathetic They Used to Be but Aren’t Anymore” and “Books by Women Who Dare You to Call Them Sluts.”

It would be wonderfully funny if it weren’t so true. As Flowers puts it:

The shelves are filled with books that raise narcissism to an art form, with more navel-gazing than on the Florida Citrus Council. Today, with our short attention spans, they call them “memoirs” – and just about anybody with a keyboard and an inflated sense of his own self-importance can try to get into Oprah’s Book Club.

Ouch. And Amen.

Although her concern is mostly with the “paginated therapy sessions” of many women writers today, the same could be said about celebrities of every stripe, and all the people who worship them.

Take FOX news, the preferred network of conservative Christians today. Here are some of the headline ”features” on their website today:

    • Was Kate Gosselin’s red carpet dress a disaster or divine inspiration?

    • Former ‘Soprano’ actress takes home her fourth Emmy, this time for her role in ‘Nurse Jackie’

    • Which of your favorite old stars are still going strong, and who’s playing checkers with Elvis?

    • It took 30 years, but beer lover Mike Laur has successfully mapped out 126 places where you can get a good bottle of suds in Colorado.

    • Whether you’re built up top like Scarjo, or more of a Kate Moss type, check out handy tips for making the most of your upper half.

Seriously, who cares? Notice I didn’t provide any links, because tomorrow it will be the same thing only different.

But here’s a much different question, raised by our pastor this morning: Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?

And here is the answer, from Psalm 24:

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

These are not “Unexceptional Women Who’ve Deluded Themselves into Thinking That Their Every Thought Is Transcendental.” Or men either, for that matter.

It’s a good thing we can receive blessing and righteousness, since we struggle with the standards.

Thankfully we can “seek the face of the God of Jacob.” Jacob himself was pretty deceitful. But the story wasn’t about him.

It was about his God.

Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert discuss Eat, Pray, Love, the subject of a movie Julia Robert.

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About wally metts

Wally Metts is the daysman. He is director of graduate studies in communication at Spring Arbor University and is a pastor at Countryside Bible Church in Jonesville, MI. The father of four adult children, he and his wife Katie raise barn cats and Christmas trees in Michigan. His grandchildren call him Santa.

3 Responses to “looking for significance in all the wrong places”

  1. Sola Gratia!
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  2. Wally,

    The same is true of a vast number of indie films. Well, and studio films for that matter. A filmmaker sets out to tell a story they find profound but it only makes me wonder if they’ve ever really encountered anything profound. Some examples: anything by Wes Anderson or David Lynch.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. it’s all Greek to me | the daysman - January 5, 2011

    […] Shouldn’t be hard. Elizabeth Gilbert, for example, of Eat, Pray, Love fame, says she writes better “when the gods of writing shine upon her.” (Which apparently hasn’t happened yet, but that’s another essay.) […]

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