The Need For Chi

  Nerissa Rosete thought she'd found the house of her dreams in Orange County, California. So she put down a $20,000 deposit. A few days later, after a consultant looked at the property, Rosete voided the contract and forfeited half the deposit. Why? Because the spiritual energy wasn't right. As bizarre as it may sound, this kind of spiritual nonsense is increasingly common in our culture. Rosete's house, we're told, had feng shui problems. Feng shui, in case you haven't heard, is a 3,000 year-old Chinese practice. Adherents believe that decorations, furniture arrangement, and direction of rooms can affect vital energy called "chi." And, they're quick to add, "good chi" makes the difference between success and failure in life. Feng shui practitioners will tell you, "the northern area of a room governs an occupant's career, the south fame and fortune, the east health and the west creativity and children." Likewise, couples seeking to have a baby should place red or yellow candles in the southwest corner of the bedroom. Well, I can't imagine why, but a house with good feng shui, followers believe, would have its bathrooms in the north side of the house. Just as important is avoiding bad feng shui, and that's why Rosete forfeited $10,000 rather than complete the purchase. Her feng shui consultant saw the steeply receding backyard and warned her that the decline would cause all the positive energy to rush out of the house. Eventually, she bought another house and spent an additional $1.3 million to bring its chi up to snuff. That's right. I said "feng shui consultant." According to the Los Angeles Times, an increasing number of prospective buyers hire feng shui consultants to look at homes they're considering purchasing. Some buyers even demand certificates attesting to the home's worthiness. And sales contracts are sometimes contingent on a feng shui inspection. Sellers hire consultants to help their home have more feng shui appeal. They will do everything, from re- decorate to re-model, so the home can say "Good chi here!" to prospective buyers. In addition, builders are incorporating the ideas into new homes -- and not just those in Asian neighborhoods. Well, you don't have to be in the market to buy a new house to feel the need for chi. People who want the benefits of feng shui are redecorating and remodeling, even if they don't find the results particularly comfortable. While it's tempting to dismiss feng shui as just another West Coast fad, that attitude misses the larger point, which is that despite the absurdity, this is fairly representative of America's belief system these days. New Age fads like feng shui make demands of people that, if we were talking about Christianity, would be ridiculed as absurd. Yet, they ask us to believe things that requires a lot more credulity than biblical faith. And such beliefs have nothing to say about how we ought to live, or about our eternal destiny. Which makes them poor substitutes for biblical faith -- both in terms of eternal salvation, and in terms of creating an ordered society. And the price that society pays for rejecting faith in Christ and buying into superstition is enormous -- a price that makes even the most expensive real estate seem cheap by comparison. For further reference: Oldham, Jennifer. "Of Ba-Guas and Lou Pans: A Western Feng Shui Primer." Los Angeles Times, 18 April 2000; p. A14.


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary