Guideposts and The Upper Room

I would like to take a minute to tell you about how things were back in the day.  I know any post that starts with “Back in my day” should be immediately suspect and so I must also ask you to take this with a grain of salt.  I haven’t done any research on this post and perhaps I am misremembering.

But it seems like back in my day the religious materials in my house–Guideposts and The Upper Room–used to be a bit more exciting.

Now, The Upper Room is a daily devotional guide and the devotions are written by different people with the end goal of giving you a prayer and a little anecdote and a Bible verse to dwell upon.  But every once in a while, the anecdotes were awesome, like about how some kid lost his best friend in a terrible white water rafting accident and he could never go near the river again until he came home one day and found a mysterious white water rafting raft oar in his kitchen still wet and this was a sign from God that his friend was in Heaven.  Blessed are the pure in heart, etc., etc.,

And you could count on that every month from Guideposts.  They had a feature called “His Mysterious Ways,” that was every month chalk full of the creepiest-assed shit you can ever imagine all retold to prove that God really does exist and meddles in our lives in such a way as to cause little Methodist girls to not be able to sleep at night.

Well, I was flipping through my parents The Upper Room and that thing has gotten deathly dull.  It’s all full of “oh, here’s some small thing that got me thinking about God” or “here’s a time that I thought things were bad, but it all worked out just fine, thanks to God.”  Day after day, same thing.  No ghosts, no weird voices, nothing.

And Guideposts… don’t even get me started.  Have you seen an issue of Guideposts lately?  It’s all “Maria Menudos loves her dad very much” and “this woman loves her paralyzed brother and Superman very much.” and “This woman loves her dog and sheep very much.”  I didn’t see any mysterious ways.  It’s just this “We’re all good people who love each other very much and God loves us.” crap.

What happened?  Was there some big scandal where it was discovered that there was just one guy, perhaps a failed fiction writer who was submitting all these stories as all these different people, but the events never actually happened?  Has it just fallen out of fashion?

It’s kind of sad.  I feel like a scary bit of my childhood is gone.

7 thoughts on “Guideposts and The Upper Room

  1. I don’t read Guideposts, but I do read the Upper Room, and it does occasionally have interesting stories, but nothing like what you’re talking about. Dang, that would be awesome.

    The good stories now consist of usually people either who went on missions trips or else people who are living in developing countries talking about how people over there have it really, really shitty, but they still pray and are happy and all. This sounds more boring when I summarize, but those stories are pretty entertaining.

  2. I thought I was the only little kid who lost some sleep over “His Mysterious Ways”. Trust me – little Lutheran girls were fascinated and a little freaked out by that too!

  3. I remember reading Guideposts at my grandparents’ when I was a kid. I wasn’t scared by them, but then, I was reading a lot of science fiction/fantasy at the time. I probably wouldn’t have read them at all, but I was usually bored at Grandma’s house and being a voracious reader with nothing else to read, well, there ya go. I do remember being really skeptical about the stories saying that God had intervened and made all right with the world (gee, why couldn’t he have done that for me, gotten rid of my abusive mother or changed her or something, it wasn’t like I hadn’t prayed for that to happen).

  4. Well, vesta44, you may have just hit on why exactly they stopped doing that. When you run stories about God intervening it makes it more difficult on your readers for whom God has not intervened. Maybe those things weren’t as popular as I would have thought.

  5. You know I would say this, I’m sure. But I have to say it anyway.

    I blame the death of mysticism in the Christian church. When New Age stuff became all the rage, a lot of folks across the various facets of Christianity decided that any sort of mysticism AT ALL was the wrongbad redheaded offspring of New Age Cult Thinking and decided to get rid of any talk of anything mystical. That includes miracles, angels both aware and unaware, demons and mystical dreams.

    Funnily enough it’s caused the church to focus instead on black magic. Only we call it “Name it and Claim it.” If God can’t be a mystical spirit in our lives, then he can at least be an ATM.

    All that being said, I’ve always hated Guideposts. The print is too small.

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