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Dr. Peale's granddaughter Katie Allen Berlandi was interviewed about his positive thinking legacy and her work with Guideposts.
BS: What do you think is the biggest impact that your grandparents have had?
KAB: That's a powerful question. You know my grandfather was a remarkable speaker. He spoke without notes, he was quick witted and was filled with humility and emotion. So I'm asking him to channel through me right now as these questions are asked with no notes.
But I would say that their greatest influence would be letting people know that they are loved, they are loved by God and they must love themselves, and through that a full, full life can be had.
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BS: What's amazing is that before your grandfather started saying that, not very many people were saying that in the church in the forties, fifties and even sixties. He's really the one that brought, in many ways, the church back to what is such a fundamental thing in the bible which is God's love for people; for sinners. And not in a way that God barely loves you, but that God loves you as you are. I think there are so many pastors today that if you traced their doctrinal heritage, it goes back to your grandfather.
KAB: Without a doubt. And I think grandpa would never consider himself an academic, though I think he was more so than he ever deemed himself to be. He talked of inspirational thinking or positive thinking being a spiritual act. In the way that your book, Bobby, you speak about gratitude being a spiritual act. That, too, is a gift from God.
BS: How did you get involved with Guideposts? Of course that is your grandfather's legacy that carries on today. It's still an active ministry that you are involved with.
KAB: Absolutely. I'm a clinical social worker by training, so without a doubt, I was influenced that direction by the work of grandma and grandpa, and the care for people. I've always wanted to somehow be able to circle back and have some involvement or perhaps some impact on grandma and grandpa's ministry.
So I've been working with Guideposts, Guideposts magazine, and also Guideposts Foundation, which is a wonderful foundation that's supported by Guideposts friends, supporters and donors, and we have three outreach divisions. One is in pediatrics, and one is with the military where we provide military personnel with inspirational material all over the world, and for their families, as well. And then we have OurPrayer, which is a twenty-four/seven prayer opportunity. So I help with that, and I write a blog on their website, so I'm really honored and it has opened my eyes even more to the impact of their legacy.
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BS: Obviously, Dr. Peale's message is very important to you. What do you hope to see happen with his legacy?
KAB: I feel, as so many people perhaps do, that his message, and grandma's message, too, because they were a team, there was no doubt about that, is a timeless one. It's one of inspiration and positive thinking.
So there's no time like now to be innovative in the way grandma and grandpa were with starting Guideposts, and what they did with Marble Collegiate Church and with The Institutes of Religion and Health, and all of these things. They were innovative, visionary people, and I think now is the time to use all of grandpa's works, his writings, his speeches and his sermons, and use our world of technology to get his message out there to more and more people to enhance lives.
Our world has gotten smaller with technology, which means we can get the word out even more. There is already an app on both the Droid and the I-phone, the NVP app where you can listen to grandpa's sermons. So I encourage everyone to please access those messages.
BS: That's awesome! I'll have to check that out. Katie, we feel connected to you and value you and we're so glad that you have come today. Thank you for sharing your grandfather's legacy.
KAB: Thank you. And I have a gift for Bobby this morning. When my grandfather spoke at the Crystal Cathedral in 1990, it was the last time he spoke there, and Dr. Schuller sent him a beautiful picture of the two of them with their hands clasped and arms raised.