The Dour Scot Leads the Way

28 October 2004
What’s the flavor of Bush’s much-touted optimism? Robert Wright, writing inĀ The New York Times, looks to Bush’s daily reading for some clues, and finds that Oswald Chambers, author ofMy Utmost for His Highest, teaches a particularly grim optimism that’s light on details and discourages reflection. Commit yourself to Jesus and surrender your will to God’s at all time. “But what exactly does God want? Chambers gives little substantive advice. There is no great stress on Jesus’ ethical teaching – not much about loving your neighbor or loving your enemy. (And Chambers doesn’t seem to share Isaiah’s hope of beating swords into plowshares. ‘Life without war is impossible in the natural or the supernatural realm.’) But the basic idea is that, once you surrender to God, divine guidance is palpable. …And you shouldn’t let your powers of reflection get in the way. …Chambers warns: ‘Beware when you want to ‘confer with flesh and blood’ or even your own thoughts, insights, or understandings – anything that is not based on your personal relationship with God. These are all things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.'”