I went to a business seminar yesterday held at the Pepsi Center in Denver that was supposed to get people motivated. The arena holds about 15,000 people and it was nearly full. Apparently the motivation business is good.
Laura Bush, Colin Powell, and Rudy Giuliani were some of the speakers. Tamara Lowe is one of the organizers and wrote a book on motivation. During her talk, she told how she was a drug user and dealer as a teenager. At the end of her presentation she explained how the change in her life was the result of finding Jesus. The “sinner’s prayer” she offered was typical of the altar call prayers I have heard growing up in evangelical churches.
Her invitation did get a mixed reception which did not surprise me. I heard some grumbling around me but there were also quite a few cheers. The seminar was billed as a business event but I did like how Tamara Lowe and Zig Ziglar did not shy away from the issue of faith even though I no longer subscribe to their specific beliefs.
A friend of mine asked me if I felt motivated after the seminar. I tend to go into these things with low expectations. I found their methods to be very similar to churches I’ve been in with the way they try to create an emotional response. I know that they do it to get people to act to buy the programs they were selling but I learned a long time ago that acting on emotion is generally a bad reason to do something. That is why I see the majority of altar call conversions as being the seeds sown on the stony ground (Matthew 4:16-17). It was interesting to see the altar call style invitation during the same event that was trying to sell me other programs. The methods for each were strikingly similar and the implicit connection between faith and financial wealth left me cold.
They told us “this seminar will change your life” at the beginning of the day. I thought the presentations by Bush, Powell, Giuliani, and Ziglar were the best though they were the least emotional – probably because they were not trying to hawk something to get me to sign up right then.
“Motivated?” No. But some of the speakers did provide some food for thought and reviewing priorities in life is never a bad thing. I’ve known for a while that my life’s goal is not financial wealth. A couple of the presentations confirmed that for me even though that was the opposite message they were promoting.