Review: I reviewed Rod Dreher’s new book Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents this week.
Dreher believes we’re careening toward a totalitarian future in which “nothing can be permitted to exist that contradicts a society’s ruling ideology.” Already, the totalitarian spirit (expressed in the idea that “the personal is political”) seeks “to infuse all aspects of life with political consciousness. Indeed, the Left pushes its ideology ever deeper into the personal realm, leaving fewer and fewer areas of daily life uncontested.”
Live Not By Lies is Dreher’s attempt to show us the similarities between communist totalitarianism and our current situation. At times, he succeeds. At other times, he overplays his hand. For rhetorical purposes, his warnings depend on a situation in which contemporary life in the West bears startling resemblances to communism in the Soviet era. But in his exploration of these cultures, he’s forced to acknowledge the glaring differences.
Read the full review.
Video: I’m honored to have taken part in this brief video documentary, Boasting Only in the Cross 20 Years Later, about one of the greatest sermons of the past fifty years: John Piper at One Day in 2000 (the famous seashells sermon!).
Podcast Pick: This American Life – “Audience of One.” An episode full of movie reflections, including someone who grew up watching only the first half of The Sound of Music, and what it’s like to rewatch The Poseidon Adventure decades after its release.
Kindle Deal: Preaching and Preachers: 40th Anniversary Edition by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. $4.99.
Seven of the best articles I came across this week:
1. Tim Chester – Give Yourself to Find Yourself: John Stott on the Gospel and Freedom. The gospel frees us to be true to our true selves, and defines what our true self is, and that is defined by the life and achievements of Christ.
2. Alan Jacobs – Hate the Sin, Not the Book. “The idealization and demonization of the past are equally easy, and immensely tempting in our tense and frantic moment. What Frederick Douglass offers instead is a model…”
3. Jeff Reimer – Going Viral: A post-mortem of the effects of a Twitter post on my soul. “If my own very small experience had such a powerful social and psychological pull, how does anybody who’s even a very minor social media celebrity have anything approaching a normal life?”
4. Kate Shellnut – Train Up a Teen: Young Evangelicals Mostly Keep Their Parents’ Faith. Evangelical teens, like their parents, stand out as the most confident and active in their faith when compared to their peers, according to a new Pew Research Center report on the religious practices of 13-to-17-year-olds.
5. Aaron Earls – Americans’ Confidence in Churches Increases for First Time in Seven Years. While people couldn’t physically visit churches for much of 2020, their opinion of the church or organized religion grew. The six-point jump is the largest one-time increase for the church since Gallup began conducting the survey in 1973.
6. Russell Moore – Why Unhealthy People Crave Controversy. I have seen those I thought were “zealous for the truth” who, in time, proved to just be zealous for the feeling of zeal.
7. Joseph S. Laughon – The History of American Evangelicals’ Opposition to Abortion Is Long. What pro-choice advocates say about the history of Evangelical involvement in the pro-life cause simply isn’t true. It ignores over two centuries of Evangelical pro-life politics, and nearly two millennia of Christian doctrine and history.
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