In the early 2000s, Oprah featured what became one of the most popular books of the last twenty years, one that transformed a culture eager to abandon the old mores of hard work and bygone Judeo-Christian scruples in favor of an easier, technologically shaped personal fulfillment. The book was called The Secret, and in it the author, Rhonda Byrne, claimed to have discovered mysterious — though eminently practicable — knowledge from ancient, learned men.2 These sages knew how to harness the powerful vibrational “quantum” energy frequencies of the Universe to get what they needed, and, more importantly, what they wanted. In some version of gnostic prosperity-seeking faith, possessors of the secret, people as removed from each other as Jesus of Nazareth, da Vinci, and Goethe, nevertheless understood that their thought could draw forth what the Universe has to offer. Either for good or for ill — for the Universe is able only to hear the thoughts of people and not to discern or interpret them — the manifester in every time and place is able to master her thoughts by listening to her feelings. She then aligns herself with those frequencies. The oft appealed to word is “intentional.” Don’t let your thoughts and feelings get away from you. Intentionally drive your desires into the Universe through your positive thinking. Examine yourself and then alter your emotional and intellectual life to put yourself in the place to receive riches and blessing.

 This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Anne Kennedy about the practice of manifesting and her article, “Trusting Jesus in a Universe that Doesn’t Have Your Back: A Christian Looks at Manifesting” in the forthcoming new issue of the Christian Research Journal.

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