What if the problem is us? Sixty years ago a goatee beard would have gotten you beat up in a lot of places. Chin fuzz was the symbol of the Beats or Beatniks, a mid-century, marginal group who pioneered a new kind of lifestyle. Their approach to life was hedonistic, experiential, fluid, and individualistic. Their contradictory approach to spirituality combined a search for God with a search for ‘kicks’.
In 1947, these Beatnik heroes set out on a road trip across America re-writing the “life-script”; of all future generations. Theirs was a new kind of lifestyle for a secular age. Their lives then (like so many of our lives now) were built upon experience, pleasure, mobility and self-discovery. They would also model a new approach to faith: desiring Christ, while still pursuing a laundry list of vices. Yet this dream would turn into a nightmare and the open road would lead back to an ancient half-forgotten path.
This was a path trodden by millions of feet over thousands of years. It was a path that began with a single step of faith as a pilgrim named Abraham stepped away from a cynical culture. A path of devotion that would lead to a cross on a hill named Golgotha.
Anyone who is familiar with his writing or speaking will know his signature mix of meta-cultural reading meets prophetic voice and solution. I repeatedly found myself thinking “how does he know that’s what I think?” his poignancy is like a punch to the stomach at times. At other moments in the book I found myself wanting to cry as he paints his stunning pictures of the redemption of the church and the self… Funny, gentle, shocking and nourishing. I’ll be buying it for all of my friends.
Mark Sayers has a talent. He is able to create enough contrast between us and our worldviews for us to be able to take our glasses off. As a cultural critic, Mr Sayers draws on a very wide variety of writing and history and gives us a meta-narrative of a generation lost. He makes the convincing argument that we can’t see the problem because the problem is everywhere.
He speaks in beautifully written analysis and universal examples and I was deeply moved.