Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Vertical Self: How Biblical faith can help us discover who we are in an age of self-obsession by Mark Sayers

Mark Sayers is a new voice in Christianity who is confronting what is wrong with our culture with the truth of Jesus Christ. In his new book, The Vertical Self, Sayers illustrates the difference between the “horizontal self” (personal identity defined by culture) and the “vertical self” (personal identity as defined by God).

Sayers’ intentions are good and his underlying premise is correct: the culture of today, especially among young people, is too media-influenced. Too many young people are only trying to emulate celebrities or trying to be “cool”. However, I still feel that Sayers’ solution is missing the mark. His remedy is still to focus on ourselves, but to work on dealing with our desires and sins, using various techniques in order to make right what is wrong with you. I feel that is introducing these concepts (some even from other religions) as roads to holiness that Sayers has skirted around the idea that Jesus alone makes us righteous, not our own efforts.

I appreciate Sayers’ good start with this book, however, I would not recommend it to someone who did not understand the idea of God’s grace and how we find our true identity: by focusing on the Father and not on ourselves, by understanding we are sons and daughters and not servants trying to work to be holy.

Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

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