Shining the Gospel on Everyday American Myths
A Review of This Is Our Time
by Trevin Wax
“We are in the midst of a moral revolution, and the world is changing around us.” (page 10) The statement is not new nor earth-shattering. Trevin Wax forces us to challenge that revolution by considering the myths that it propagates.
Myths distort the truth by the longings they create and by the lies they tell. The Gospel shines a light on man’s real longings and tells the truth about man’s real needs. With that premise, Wax exposes several of the myths that control America.
Being a list kind of guy, I would have liked each myth to be stated as Myth Number 1, 2, 3, etc. Nevertheless, I got the points.
“Confusing ‘knowledge about’ and ‘knowledge of’ is one of the most common mistakes we make in a connected world.” (p 21) This confusion is perpetuated many times each day by our smartphone which mythologizes that ‘you are the center of the universe.’ The phone tells us we have the knowledge we need and that we are right. This was by far the most important chapter in the book, in my opinion. Because of the commonality of all sorts of social media, it has the broadest application. The book is worth reading for this section alone.
Hollywood is after your heart. Because of its visual and audio force, we need to equip ourselves to recognize the longings and lies of entertainment by cultivating a new imagination. A Scripture-soaked mind will enable the creation of better stories.
The author says the enjoyment of life as one’s greatest purpose is the biggest myth exposed. Believers greatest desire must be to meet our greatest Delight.
‘More stuff makes you happy’ is another myth dispelled. Wax does a good job of showing how advertising uses the myth that ‘salvation comes through accumulation.’ (p. 95) It is hard to be “The Church” in a consumer society.
Christianity is private follows in the myth-busting process. Many have chosen to save America as the best way to save Christianity and keep it public. But the “Church is God’s shining city on the hill, not the United States.” (p. 122) There follows a most biblical approach to how believers should respond to society.
Great care and gracious words are used in dispelling the marriage myths that redound in America. There are three powerful suggestions for the church if it is to reclaim the ‘ancient vision of marriage.’
Finally, the church must be careful to recognize the “prevailing myth(s) in our society about where the world is going.” Is it declining or progressing?
The illustrations in the book are engaging and apropos. Especially the Lesslie Newbiggin story in the final chapter.
“This Is Our Time doesn’t offer the cheap grace of putting politics first. Instead, it recognizes that public policy is downstream from culture and culture is downstream from religion.” Marvin Olasky (from the Foreword.)