A Cult of Positivity

Credit: © igor / Fotolia

Credit: © igor / Fotolia

"Don't let the noise of other people's opinions drown out your inner voice"  

"Stay away from negative people, they have a problem for every solution"

"Negative people need drama like oxygen, Stay positive, it will take their breath away"

(I just googled. . . "negative and positive people")

As Christians, we should have a broadly positive outlook, yes?  I mean. . . with our eternal, unshakeable promise of a lifetime of paradise with our wonderful Savior, we should be able to navigate our lives, and even grieve, with a positive hope for the future. 

But, as 21st Century Christians we struggle greatly with an "over-realized eschatology", . . . which is a $10 phrase that means, "wanting and accepting only good things in the here and now".  We view negative people, experiences, and environments as "threats" instead of possibilities.  We don't get why God would let us experience hard times and seasons.  We use this as yet another way to separate and disconnect from one another.  This is a new, modern phenomenon.  Our Mothers and Fathers in the faith knew that "through much tribulation, you will enter the Kingdom of God".  We just can't seem to get that.  

I really hope you'll take 5-10 minutes and read this article by Zach Barnhart.   He nails our cultural moment.   He shows how we disconnect from people that God has called us to, because they might be "messing up our groove".  Certainly, boundaries are appropriate at times, but this piece deserves a long look from most of us.  We're causing more difficulty for ourselves by trying to erect and maintain a cult of positivity.  Here's a taste.  


“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.”

There is a certain aurora of positivity that [these teachers] suggest we should stay occupied in, and further, that letting negativity penetrate that aurora is extremely damaging to your well-being, even, arguably, sinful. We all know that the message of self-improvement says, “Believe in yourself.” But popular prosperity teachers have taken it a step further. A critical step to finding our destiny, achieving our dreams, realizing our potential, is keeping people out who we consider a “threat” to such things.