Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers

In his non-fiction title, The Vertical Self, Sayers explains how culture has moved us away from who God wants us to be and turned us towards a self-absorbed lifestyle. He calls this way of life “horizontal” and claims we need to be “vertical.” A horizontal self looks to those on the same level as him/her for self-image. A vertical self looks to a higher being, God, for identity. Sayers states his case for how far society has moved away from looking to God for our purpose and identity.

This book is not light reading and some sections are difficult to wade through. I felt like Sayers had numerous examples, stories and situations to defend his theory of society being horizontal to the point that it was doom and gloom. There was not enough teaching, encouraging and support for the vertical self theory to balance the book. Chapter after chapter explained what we are doing wrong and why it’s wrong but, there were few pages leading me to the better alternative or convincing me I need the better way. The majority of the book told me I need fixing rather than telling me how to fix myself.
The Vertical Self has a somewhat narrow target audience. First, the audience must be Christian otherwise it could be quite offensive. Second, the reader must open him/herself to the negative description of Christians today who live a horizontally. That said, The Vertical Self would be a good resource for youth and young adult leaders. It would, also, make a useful tool for new and young Christians as they discern how being a Christian looks and feels in everyday life.

Sayers is convicted and passionate about people needing to alter their thinking in order to live vertically. I commend Sayers for his enthusiasm and zeal regarding the subject and I believe his theories are worth consideration.

I received a complimentary copy of The Vertical Self from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a participant in their BookSneeze.com book review blogger program.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Reading Through the Bible

In my last post I shared that I'm reading a chronological Bible. I have given myself a timeline in order to help me reach my broad goal of reading through the Bible.

My particular Bible is narrated so that makes for additional reading. The Old Testemant section of my Bible is a whopping 1336 pages! My goal is to read the entire Old Testement by the time our baby comes, sometime around mid-September. I'm currently on page 432. That leaves 904 pages to read in approximately 100 days. I'm not sure it's realistic to expect myself to read nine pages every day until my baby arrives. And if my baby arrives early? I'm doomed. I realize that nine pages doesn't seem like much but, the pages are large, the print is small and, quite honestly, some of the reading is a little dry. On top of that, I'm the mother of a toddler, 26 weeks pregnant and I'm exhausted when I prop myself up with pillows to do my daily reading. Suddenly, nine pages might as well be 90.

I must say I'm thoroughly enjoying reading the Bible this way. I retain much more because it makes sense and all fits together. Obviously, when you tell a story in the order it took place it makes much more sense then when you mix up all the details and side plots. I'm beginning to wonder why all Bibles aren't written chronologically. Reading the Bible in order has been one aha moment after another. Picture me sitting in bed with a permanent lightbulb above my head that is constantly be clicked on.

If you've struggled with understanding the Old Testement I recommend you try reading it from a chronological Bible. It's like reading a book. I realize that sounds dumb; the Bible is a book. I guess what I mean is it reads more like a novel except it's history, exciting and worthwile history.

So, I'm reading towards page 1336. I'll let you know when I get there whether it's pre-baby or post-baby.

Back to my Bible--

J Renee