Book Review: Max Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life Promotes the Mystics & a “Divine Spark”

Cure for the Common Life, by author Max Lucado, is a book about “living in your sweet spot.” Lucado tells readers in chapter one to “[h]eed that inner music,” and quoting mystic Martin Buber from his book, The Way of Man (a book on Jewish mysticism), Lucado tells readers they each have a “divine spark.” Buber had panentheistic affinities as he embraced the teachings of Hasidism (Jewish mysticism) and believed that this divine spark that Lucado refers to is in every human being and every part of creation.

Throughout Lucado’s book, he quotes other mystics and contemplatives: Saint Thomas Aquinas,Thomas Merton, Eugene Peterson and Richard Foster. It is Thomas Merton who said:

It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race,… now I realize what we all are…. If only they [people]could all see themselves as they really are … I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other…. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth…. This little point … is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.

Merton and Buber shared this belief that everyone had a divine spark. When Max Lucado quotes men of these persuasions, telling readers they each have a “sweet spot” then referring to a divine spark in everyone, this is very confusing and will leave the unaware spiritual seeker believing him.

Cure for the Common Life has drawn endorsements from an assortment of Christian leaders, and their names sit on the front inside covers of Lucado’s book as well as on the back cover. New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard says of the book, “Max Lucado has done it again! He has taken simple truths and made them available to all of us (emphasis mine). Richard Foster says, “I’m so glad for Max Lucado’s insightful call for us to live and work as we are intrinsically designed by God.” Sheila Walsh said that the “message of this book could change your life forever.” Bob Coy (Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale) and Bob Buford ( of the emergent-advocating Leadership Network) also gave raving reviews of the book. On the back cover, New Age sympathizer Laurie Beth Jones says, “This book can cure whatever ‘blah’ that ails you!” Jones would fit more in with the New Spirituality than with evangelical Christianity even though she is considered by many to be an evangelical writer. In Jones book, Teach Your Team to Fish, she states: “I have been challenged by the concept of meditation … I decided recently to accept the invitation of a friend to experience the sheer silence of meditation-undirected prayer. … I had before only sensed intellectually … But by going deep into prayer I could almost feel it.” (p. 142.)

Lucado seems to have  come out of the contemplative closet with Cure For the Common Life. He was featured on the Be Still DVD, along with Richard Foster and Beth Moore. In that DVD, Lucado emphasized the importance of contemplative prayer, saying “It’s nothing mystical, necessarily. It’s nothing secretive. It’s just what we do with our body we do with our soul.” But Richard Foster would probably disagree – contemplative is mystical, and in many ways is very secretive.

Christian leaders with contemplative and New Age sympathies are not the only ones who love Cure for the Common Life. Barnes and Noble bookstores  have a New Age-promoting project called East West that is “a resource for conscious [New Age] living. It opens doors to self-discovery, higher awareness and true understanding.” Under East West’s best sellers list when Lucado’s book was released are five titles, one of them being Lucado’s book Cure For the Common Life. This is what East West said of Lucado’s book:

According to New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado, you were designed as a one-of-a-kind to achieve one God-given purpose. And embedded in your soul are the power and passion to fulfill it. As Dr. Phil McGraw writes, “Cure for the Common Life can help you find that uniqueness that puts it all in perspective, and show you how to live it every day so that you aren’t just existing in God’s creation but thriving in His plan.”

Apparently, those with New Age persuasions admire Lucado’s “divine spark” in everyone idea. And why not. That’s what the New Age is really all about.

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