By Jon Tyson (Multnomah)
Our culture drives us to do more, achieve more and accumulate more. In this world, our worth depends on it.
Culture appeals to our natural instincts, like the Manhattan mother Jon Tyson and his wife encountered who informed them their son would be left behind forever if they didn’t put him into the right kindergarten. Who wants their child left behind—forever? The pressure’s on.
And so, we give in, thinking we are being prudent, not thinking we are chaining ourselves to the demands of a remorseless culture.
Tyson examines our cultural drives against eight opposite biblical qualities. The result is like an elaborated version of Galatians 5:19-26, which contrasts “acts of the flesh” with “fruit of the Spirit,” though Tyson’s list includes compassion, surrender, mercy, humility, being present and remembering one’s calling.
One reason Tyson gives for placing trust in God’s ways over our culture’s is that God predetermined the timing and course of our lives (p. 75). A Calvinist interpretation of God’s sovereignty is not necessary for a Christian to trust in God’s benevolence, however.
Tyson’s personal stories of failure are some of the gold in the book, creating a direct connection between the Christian ideal and the struggle to combat the cultural pressure to anchor worth and identity in comparison, competition, striving for control, judgment, pride and busyness.
In place of simply doing more, achieving more and accumulating more, Tyson encourages us to be more—more connected to Christ. In that connection is true freedom and rest.
Eric Black, executive director, publisher and editor