In The Vertical Self, Mark Sayers sets out to discuss “how biblical faith can help us discover who we are in an age of self obsession”. After an overview of the historical context that he believes has shaped our current culture, the book launches into a rather lengthy section detailing the aspects of our society that have drawn the individual into a “horizontal” rather than “vertical” lifestyle — one that focuses the individual’s attention onto the world’s perception rather than identifying oneself vertically with God. A final, small section of the book attempts to show the reader how to apply their new perception to living a biblical faith.
I had very high hopes for this book…through the first chapter. Learning to live a life focused on God rather than on the perceptions of the world around me is a topic that I love to discuss. I looked forward to reading Mark Sayer’s thoughts on the subject and being challenged by his words.
I was vastly disappointed.
Although I applaud Mark Sayers for addressing this difficult subject, his presentation lacked authentic concern and genuineness. The examples scattered throughout the book felt contrived, as if they were created simply to match what the author wanted to say. Biblical examples were scarce, despite the premise of the book being “how biblical faith can help us…”
Honestly, I felt the book was more about what the author had observed in people he only watched from a distance.
The last three chapters of the book finally begin to delve into solutions to the horizontal dilemma, though the thoughts here were vague and superficial. I closed the book feeling as though little had been said, other than that our current culture faces a crisis of identity; and I should be sure to share all the wonderful information I had learned from this book with as many others as possible.
In short, the cover and first chapter of this book promise a great discussion, but the actual content lacks so much that I do not recommend reading it.
The Vertical Self retails in paperback for $14.99. Purchase links are below.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”