Bishop T.D. Jakes has just finished his 20th book and will be here today at the African American Historical and Cultural Museum for a book- signing at 7 p.m.
No one has ever accused Jakes of being shy with words, but after 20 books, one does wonder if there is anything left to say about spirituality and the human condition.
According to Jakes, not only is there plenty left to say, but some of it bears repeating -loudly and often.
The book, "Reposition Yourself: Living Life Without Limits," (Atria Books, May 2007), deals with how people can jump-start their lives not only through their religious beliefs, but just as importantly, through faith in themselves.
"All of us get stuck in places," said Jakes during a recent phone interview from Dallas, Texas. "There are many, many ways that you can be stuck in different places in your life. Divorce. When your children are gone. People get committed to an unhappy life and unhappy situation. I let people know they have the power to make the choice to reposition your life."
Jakes' book takes its readers by the hand and leads them through what for many can be a dangerous journey fraught with introspection and the fear of honestly seeing themselves for the first time.
"I'm encouraging people to go back to that first moment, the first time they did something they felt passionate about and knew it was what they wanted to do the rest of their life," said Jakes, who uses that same approach when counseling movie stars, world athletes and politicians."We must surround ourselves with people who give us conscious and unconscious examples that where we want to go does, in fact, exist," he writes in the book, which consists of a series of personal vignettes that serve as examples of how an environment is as important as family in affecting change - both positive and negative.
That, he said, is one of the reasons there is so much violence in Philadelphia.
"Kids are like arrows," he said."Wherever you aim them, that's where they'll go." Once they are released from the bow, he explained, "if their life situation is such that those around them have not created a goal or target for them to direct their lives, then it's no telling where they will land, and without direction, it's usually the wrong place and time."
Still, he says, it's never too late to "reposition" yourself to make a life change.
"What is your moment of release?" asks Jakes. "You do not have to be Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa, but do not die until you vindicate your pain and retraction with the power of your release."
This "release" is, however, often unrecognizable and overlooked, he says, because so little time is spent on introspection thanks to lives that are busy with little purpose and overwhelmed with no direction.
"I think people are so busy we don't invest the time we need to build strong relationships," said the gravely-voiced Jakes. "We communicate through e-mails, text messages and do everything on the fly. On the run.
"Expending more energy doesn't necessarily mean we're more effective, and increasing business doesn't mean we're increasing effectiveness.
"Sometimes we're so inundated by all the things that are going on around us that we aren't positioning our own life," he said. "You can't write the script if you are stuck as a voyeur watching the news makers. I believe you have a God-given destiny and you need to discover what that destiny is. Many, many times people define us by what we do. Don't let people put a period where God has put a comma."
A businessman himself, Jakes also brings to bear his own humble beginnings growing up poor in West Virginia, having his car repossessed and failing at several businesses before he also "repositioned" himself and moved forward to success.
"It's not only about money," said Jakes. "I talk to plenty of people who have money and things in their lives, but they continue to be unhappy," and will stay that way, he says, until they also find their moment of "release" and reposition themselves to take on the rest of their lives. *