Change, Reflections on Personal Growth & Social Transformation, Book Review

A Message of Hope

Inside this small, powerful book, a message of hope rings clear. The author has sprinkled the pages with read-between-the-lines messages made clear through multiple examples of famous people and celebrities.

Mr. Armstrong, former President of the National Council of Churches, lays the groundwork on the method of bringing happiness and joy into our lives. With his newest release, he shines a ray of hope that things can and will get better. But there are individual things each of us must do to make these changes possible.

"In life, things are always in flux," says Professor Armstrong, author of Change - Reflections on Personal Growth and Social Transformation. We experience change everyday in our work, our lives, in industry, in world leaders, even changes in the values that we were taught as children. Things change. That is the only constant.

As a former Methodist Bishop and minister, he captivated audiences with his non traditional and at times controversial revelations from the pulpit. His frank, compelling manner drew in audiences to capacity in the churches were he ministered. During his tenure at Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis,during a time of radical social change, church membership grew beyond two thousand members.

He never led the traditional sheltered life of the cloistered minister operating from the sterile confines of a parsonage. He went about the world making things change. He is a proponent of the slogan popular during the past presidential campaign, "Be The Change."

Since those days of his ministry, his highly developed range of associations with world leaders, political figures and multiple leadership roles have afforded him an uncanny view of the world. His current position at Rollins College as Professor of Ethics continues to provide a platform to share wisdom gained through nearly nine decades in this world.

"Change is written into the very fabric of life. Be open to it. Seek it."

— James Armstrong

Be the Change

"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do."

Mahatma Gandhi

This hundred page novel, published by Ridergreen Book Publishers, points to the ever changing values that have affected the lives of many influential people, shown both as examples and warnings in the book.

Mr. Armstrong mentions Oprah Winfrey, whose well known story demonstrates an ability to surpass our childhood difficulties. He states that although she positively affected the lives of millions in her daily broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Show, that she fell short of her ideals in embracing a self-help program called The Secret. He believes that philosophy promotes a "quick fix culture".

He says, "We will not find the answers in quick-fix solutions."

James Armstrong is a professor of Ethics and Philosophy at Rollins College in Florida. He is a retired Christian minister with a graduate studies background in psychotherapy and decades as a professional counselor.
James Armstrong is a professor of Ethics and Philosophy at Rollins College in Florida. He is a retired Christian minister with a graduate studies background in psychotherapy and decades as a professional counselor. | Source

Messages

So where do the answers lie?

Mr. Armstrong discounts the writings of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale whose program "insisted that we don't have to depend on ourselves, we can embrace prayer-power," according to the author of the New York Times best-seller, The Power of Positive Thinking. To this, Mr. Armstrong disagrees and calls it a "shallow, far too simple approach to the complexities of human nature."

He believes that "positive thinking is fine as long as it is realistic." He speaks of our former President's fierce determination to turn his life around and asks if this is enough to inspire change in others. To some, yes, but to others, change is influenced by any number of things.

"We must first recognize there is no single, cheap and easy cure-all in the shallows of self-improvement." In Chapter 3, he writes that to move beyond our shallow self-improvement schemes we need to "turn our gaze inward."

Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida

Knowles Memorial Chapel by Ebyabe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Knowles Memorial Chapel by Ebyabe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

The message comes out clear and true. We must become an active participant in the process.

He quotes the words of Gandhi. "Be the change you wish to see."

He speaks of Jesus as one who wanted authenticity; as one who spoke out even in old times, against the politicians (scribes and Pharisees, priests and reverends) who were phonies. It was Jesus who told us to "Seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened unto you."

Dr. Armstrong, who is currently a professor of Ethics and Philosophy at Rollins College, says we must be open to change to affect a positive change in our own lives; we must be honest with ourselves.

James Armstrong, 1969

Source

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Examples and Warnings

In this brief volume about change, we are given examples of people whose lives have changed dramatically when faced with stark reality. He mentions the duplicity of those in public view like John Edwards with his public betrayal of his wife accompanied by an out-of-wedlock child. The pages of history are peppered with the remains of public figures whose notorious misbehavior has become public.

He writes that we must shine the spotlight on ourselves and examine our own authenticity.

He instructs us to make our own list of what we really want and gives us clues as to what we might put on that list; a list that will include different things for each of us.

Through Dr. Armstrong's rich examples of lives which have undergone major upheaval and change, he quietly instructs us about what we must do to affect a quality of change within ourselves. He admonishes us to become "introspective; reflective; and really honest with ourselves about our attitudes and loyalties" that could use a good review.

He asks an important question, "Are you resigned to growing old and feeble, or are you older and growing, determined to drain the cup of life dry before moving into the mysteries of whatever tomorrow holds?"

The answer lies in reshaping our lives to embrace change, to evolve into the "fully-functioning, creative, ever-growing human being you are meant to be."

Turn Turn Turn - The Byrds

© 2013 Peg Cole

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Comments 32 comments

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

You are an A+ book reviewer, no doubt about it. This sounds like another interesting title by Dr. Armstrong. Though likely 40years to late. (lol)

I brought this over to Facebook.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

excellent review of what promises to be a very enlightening book. I know the power of positive thinking is an easy solution..but it is not easy to always follow. I believe in the power of our thoughts as they often determine our lives.. I could site many personal stories. However, we have to do a little work, plan and stick with the program even when the going gets rough. Voting this up and sharing...


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you Mckbirdbks! I'm always delighted to see you visit and honored by your quick response to publishing this review. Wow. Thanks for the share on Facebook, too. I seriously doubt that you are 40 years in arrears in the process of change. My, haven't we seen our share of it in our lives? You serve as a fine example to so many others.

Again, thanks for being first and for the much appreciated compliments. Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Carol7777. I also believe in the power of our thoughts. They guide our choices and our happiness and as you said, determine our lives. I would love to hear some of your personal stories and learn of your experiences. Thank you for the fine comment, for the votes and for sharing this with your friends. Peg


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Another awesome review Peg. You do these so well. This sounds like a very interesting book by Dr Armstrong. Change begins within ourselves so true.

You did a great job


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

Nice review and I got new motivation after reading this hub. Thanks for share with us. I should read the entire of the book. Voted up!

Prasetio


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 3 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Great review, Peg, and I especially liked your last paragraph, I guess the "clincher."

Tonight I tried a "change"...somewhat. About a month ago I decided to take a stand on gun control; that is, which side I was on. I made that announcement by "sharing" something that someone else had posted. Now, because the Liberals are pressing ahead so vehemently, I feel that along with other gun owners I need to keep taking my stand.

So tonight I wrote about a 300-word status on Facebook, but I don't have that many "friends," and I feel most have probably blocked me, so I don't expect a lot of people to even see it, let alone agree, or "Like." So then appears an article from Huffington Post, which I sometimes read. And those articles accept comments but they have to be approved. So, I copied and pasted my status into their comment section...had to edit down to 250 words. Wasn't too hard.

Here's why I'm telling you this, Peg, someone I consider a friend who maybe understands me a little bit. When I did that my heart and head both clicked and I felt a bit weak, because I had really put myself out there. In other words doing that kind of scared me.

But, what the heck? If Huffington is liberal they will probably reject my comment.

Thanks for your ear, Peg,

James


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 3 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Peg, I wanted to add that I don't expect you to "Like" my status just to make me feel better. I know you wouldn't unless you really did. Just wanted you to know that I don't expect it. I told you because I needed to talk to somebody right then, and there was a fresh hub from you where I could comment.

I just noticed they have demoted me down to a level 4 commenter. Oh well, I don't have time to be everywhere.

Thanks,

James


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for your interesting review if this book.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Rosemay. Thanks for your kind words and for your readership and loyalty. I really appreciate your taking the time to stop in. I agree that change begins within ourselves. Again, thank you! Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Prasetio30. I'm thrilled that you mentioned getting a new motivation through this read. He is definitely one who inspires change. Thanks so much for the visit and for the votes.

Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello James,

I believe that we are on the edge of major change and upheaval within our country; within the population these issues have divided us even further. On this topic, revolutions have been fought. It is a very volatile subject which I believe should be put to a vote "by the people".

Bravo to you for expressing your feelings and taking a stand.

Thanks for stopping in to read this review and for your uplifting comments about the message. I wish you all the best on your posting at Huffington Post. I read some of their their articles and will take a look at your comments. It is very scary when we push that publish button. Way to go and I am blessed that you consider me as a friend. Thank you.

Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Mhatter99, Thanks for your visit and for the kind words about this review. Cheers.

Peg


jandee 3 years ago

Hello Peg, you really kept me (an Atheist) reading with your review. Interesting and to the point. You have caused me to want to know more about this Man who sounds so lovely. Being so nosey I will try to find your friends comment on Huffington Post,

best from jandee


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

I really like what he says here, "Are you resigned to growing old and feeble, or are you older and growing, determined to drain the cup of life dry before moving into the mysteries of whatever tomorrow holds?"

This definitely is my mantra for 2013! To get the most of who we are , we must find out what we really want out of life and throw ourselves into it 100%. This is what true living is all about.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Jandee! I have been wondering about you. Long time no see. Hope all is well. Thanks for letting me know that this review inspired your interest in Dr. Armstrong, especially, considering your religious point of view. And I'm sure James would love to hear your take on his facebook commentary. Thank you for the kind words and the visit today. Cheers.

Peg


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Dr. Armstrong was right on target when he pointed out the fallacy of 'The Secret.' He should feel very honored by your positive review of his new book, 'Change ... ' Not only a review, Peg, but a tribute as well. Your efforts merit a large Up.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Peggy,

You have done such justice to this truly memorable read from Dr Armstrong. I am so grateful to have learned about him and to have gotten a heads up about both of his amazing books from you.

I really wish I could meet him. His words feel so compatable and right to me...I actually have both books on my nightstand and I refer to them frequently.

Voted UP and UABI. You write fabulous reviews. Hugs, Maria


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Cygnet, I liked that quote as well and it really speaks to the aging process. He lives the example of not letting our age get in the way of our learning process. I like your mantra for 2013. So true that we must get from the day rather than just get through the day. Thank you for your great comment and for the visit. Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Maria,

Thanks for the ongoing support of these reviews and for taking the time from your hectic schedule to read the books as well. I've had this one on the nightstand for a while trying to grasp at its depth of meaning. It will take me a bit more to absorb it. He packs such a deeper meaning in these small volumes. I'm so glad you like them too.

Thank you for the kind words, the votes and the hugs, my dear friend.

Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Drbj. Though I agree that change requires taking action on our part, I still enjoy watching my copy of "The Secret" and always find something uplifting from the experience. Same with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, he gets really "out there" sometimes, but I can still find some value in his words. I appreciate your thought provoking comments and your kind compliments about the review. They mean so much to me. Thank you so very much.

Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

SubRon7, James. You will always be a level 10 commenter in my book. With your responsibilities and work load I'm grateful that you made the time to visit over here. Thank you. Chin up. Shoulders back. See you soon. Peg


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

A brilliant review Peg and I vote up and share.

Have a great weekend.

Eddy.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Eddy. Thanks for dropping in to read, vote and comment. I really do appreciate the share, too!

Hope your weekend is full and fun.

Peg


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Much of change is really mind over matter. In order to be a success, live every more as a successful person. Yes, there will be pitfalls, and one will fall from time to time, BUT the secret is to pick yourself up and keep on going. Change your ways if success does not come, but never stoop to failure for any reason. Seek help when necessary, but never give up.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Aviannovice. Thank you for dropping in and sharing these words of experience. Yes, I agree. The key is to keep on going and let failure be a good teacher. So nice to see you here tonight.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for this excellent book review. I enjoyed it. I believe I mentioned to you before that my baby sister has her Masters in Fine Arts from Rollins College. I have been there many times. A beautiful place and a top-notch school.

Great Hub!

James :-)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello James. I do remember that you used to live in or near Orlando. Right? I used to visit relatives during the summer and we drove past Rollins College frequently. So glad to see you drop in here to read this review. Thank you for the visit and the thoughtful comment.

Peg


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Up, Useful, and Interesting. I'm glad to learn about Armstrong and have added him to my to read list.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you again, for stopping in to read this review. Mr. Armstrong is a great writer with a valuable message.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

It is true that the one dependably stable thing about life is that it is always changing.

Also true that the way to change the world is to change oneself.

The best sermon is the one you live, not the one you preach. People will notice if you live the way you say other people should.

All changes begin with self because we have no control over other people, and our control over our own lives is somewhat limited also. Not everything that happens to us is our own fault, but we still have a lot of area that we do control or determine by our decisions and actions.

Sounds like a very interesting book.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Au fait, Your observations are keen and full of insight. It's so true about practicing what we preach. Our actions speak loudly.

Thanks for coming by to read this review and for your thoughtful comments. I'm always glad to see you.

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