This is an independent review not a FIRST Wild Card Review.
Several weeks ago, I was approached to review a book called The Source of Miracles, 7 Steps to Transforming Your Life Through the Lord's Prayer by Kathleen McGowan. I was intrigued and responded immediately. When I read through the promotional material, I found that it sounded much like the set up for the book The Prayer of Jabez, only with a twist. Except, it wasn't readily apparent to me what that twist was. The book sounded exciting and transformational. Like I said, I was intrigued.
As I began reading, I realized that while this book is essentially being billed as Christian, it isn't really. The author claims to be a Christian (I am not taking issue with that) uses Scripture and is very knowledgeable about Christian principles, parables from the Bible and the words of Jesus. The reason I say that the book isn't truly Christian in nature is because the authors tries to blend Christianity and Esotericism and Gnosticism. It is my belief that if one adds anything or takes away anything from the Bible, then it is no longer Christian, but a watered down or a mixed up version of Truth.
At the end of the book, Kathleen McGowan acknowledges that shes been criticized for her use of Gnostic texts and puts her critics in the same category as a man she once encountered on the streets of LA who was "particularly virulent . . . preaching his political and social agenda . . . used hate speech, racist and violent rhetoric, all the while emphasizing that he was a Christian." Essentially, she was saying that we all have different versions of who Jesus is and we should all be more accepting of each other, finding things that unite us, not divide us. She asks,
"Who gets to define what the real Jesus looks like? Who determines what the real Jesus would do? Who decides what makes me or anyone else a bad Christian or a good Christian?
And there is only one answer: God. God is the only judge of hearts and minds . . ."
Yes, God is The Judge of hearts and minds. But we are given a very good picture of who Jesus is and how He would act in many different situations in the Bible. Our reading of the Bible and asking for The Holy Spirit to enlighten us are the two main tools given to us to really know Jesus. So, to imply that it's OK to have differing versions of who Jesus is, bothers me.
She also claims that these once secret and long-hidden ancient steps that she outlines to praying The Lord's Prayer can be used effectively by any person regardless of the religion they identify with and their ideas of a Higher Being. That anyone can manifest miracles in their own life "through an increase of faith; faith in God, faith in ourselves and faith in our fellow humans -- in that order" and "When spoken with faith and intention, these are literally magic words." (pg 3) When I read page three, so many red flags popped up that I considered not reading any further.
First, it is my belief that we do not manifest miracles. God does. Miracles are what God (and He alone) performs when human resources are depleted or ineffective. Secondly, 1 Corinthians 2:4 - 6 says that we are told to not put our faith in man, rather in God alone.
4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:and that Jesus is the "author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). I Peter 1:21 says nothing about putting our faith in man when we read:
5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
6Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
"Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God."Thirdly: Certainly, words are powerful. But to make the claim that the words of The Lord's Prayer are magic is a statement that I cannot stomach. Jesus was giving us an example of how to pray when he uttered the words of The Lord's Prayer. And I may even concede that it's probably a perfect prayer, but to claim that the words themselves are magic? Uh-uh. Can't get on board with that one.
And, I am wondering why God allowed this ancient practice to be hidden and held in secret for so long? There must be a reason. Could it be that He didn't want others to go along with this because it doesn't focus on Him? Seems to me that the Bible makes faith and Jesus Himself extremely accessible to the average man. Yes, God works in mysterious ways, that there are layers of meaning in the Bible that aren't always apparent at first blush, but to put such emphasis on the hidden and secret is not what Jesus is about. There was a reason this ancient prayer practice was hidden. Maybe it should remain so.
Besides all of the above, the most startling claim the author makes is that we have chosen to be on this earth (pg 51) and made a promise to God before we were born (pg 46) to work toward becoming a being of love in God's image while here on earth. We have chosen to be born? And we made promises before our birth? She gives no citation of proof that we have made the choice to be born or that we existed before being placed in our mother's womb.
Honestly, I did not read past page 63. I did not read through all the steps she outlines: The Petals of the ancient Secret of the Rose. There was too much New Age philosophy, Gnosticism and Esotericism. It's not that these subjects make me uncomfortable to explore. It's just that I know The Truth already and I do not need to add to that. Adding in these other philosophies and theories of thought creates confusion, not enlightenment.
Yes, there is power in prayer. Yes, our words and God's words (the Word) have power. Yes, The Lord's Prayer is a powerful, meaningful and effective prayer. But do I think The Lord's Prayer is magic? No. Do I think that praying it over and over again, even with sincerity and thoughtfulness will help me manifest miracles and abundant life for myself? No. Only God does that. Do I think I made a promise to God or even existed as a spiritual being before I was born? I find no Biblical substantiation for that.
Do I think this book is a worthwhile read? I'm afraid not.