The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are in an Age of Self Obsession
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Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2010
|Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.44 (inches)|
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.
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Welcome to the 21st century where you can now purchase and exchange personalities, depending on mood and circumstance; where you are told that you can be anyone you want to be, and identity is no longer based in a sense of self but rather in the imagery you choose at that moment.
The Bible contains a radically different way of understanding our identity. The path that God has chosen for us to discover who we really are is the path of holiness. The most exciting thing is that this path is not for otherworldy saints, rather it is a path of earthy, gutsy holiness. It's a path that is not about basing your life on this world or of shunning your desires. Instead, it is about bringing your hopes, your dreams, your brokenness, your desires, your humanness under the Lordship of Christ. By doing this we dont just discover a new way of living out our faith, we discover a liberating, revolutionary, life-embracing way of being truly human.
ebarronTulsa, OKAge: 45-54Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5This book will challenge you to think...February 9, 2011ebarronTulsa, OKAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5I will begin by confessing that I struggled through this book. But then again, I am not an academic, nor do I teach or do research. The longer I read, however, the more the concept of the text took root, and the better I could grasp the direction the author was taking us. It took a while, but I eventually got it.
Pastor Mark Sayers teaches us by challenging us to look at our lives as fundamentally "horizontal" or "vertical". As a worship pastor, those concepts were immediately familiar and comprehendible. His points make sense, logically and Biblically. Early on, the author makes comparisons for us- for example:
Vertical vs. Horizontal
Instant Gratification vs. Delayed Gratification
Work Ethic vs. Play Ethic
Facts vs. Feelings
One thing that really stood out for me is the recognition that people- especially Christians- can live what the author refers to as a "fragmented life", meaning that belief systems and world views may overlap, or even be in conflict with one another. As that idea began to sink in, I realized that many of the people with whom I serve on church staff are living that fragmented life. By that, I mean evangelical Christian, a social liberal, financially conservative, and almost no filter for humor or entertainment. I recognize some of those traits in myself, and that makes it all the more disconcerting.
I challenge you to get and read this book. Stay with it- don't give up. It will offer insights into your behaviors, your belief systems, and how you want to live your life. I recommend this book.
JumpStart ConsultingDallas, GAAge: 35-44Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5A new perspective on your own reality.October 14, 2010JumpStart ConsultingDallas, GAAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers is a very intuitive look inside the process that we all go through in life of understanding our own personal identity. More than that, however, it is a road map that will take you back to the proper path for this process if you have gone astray in your endeavor or guide you forward if you are already heading in the right direction.
I appreciated the journey that Sayers takes the reader on in understanding how culture can shape perspective and identity. It was refreshing to take a vantage point of cultural influence from a broader outlook than the small box of our own comfort zone. Throughout this journey Sayers has the reader asking very introspective questions about their influences, their ideas, their possibilities and even the reality in which they live and breath.
The book helps to support a Biblical perspective for the proper foundation for our own identity structure. It will challenge you to ask some hard questions about why you do the things you do and why you perceive the world and the approval of others the way you do. Sayers was able to peel back the curtain on some very impactful identity issue propagated by today's "norms" that could be, and are, very easily missed in our everyday lives.
The information the book provides is very enlightening, very freeing, very inspiring and most importantly very Biblically sound.
The book had a great impact on me and my perception of conformity, uniqueness and individuality. I have confidently referred the book to others to share it's candid insights. This is a book that you don't want to miss. It does much more than many on the market that provide a "step" process or a "how to" live approach. It approaches the deeper issue of our motivations for living, loving and serving the world around us.
Good Job Mark Sayers! You have brought much Glory to God through this work and the redirecting words of encouragement that turned myself, and I am sure many others, more toward living the life of The Vertical Self.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Clark D. Goble4 Stars Out Of 5Book Review of The Vertical SelfOctober 7, 2010Clark D. GobleQuality: 4Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3The Vertical Self is perhaps the most aptly titled book I have come across in quite awhile. Sayers does a remarkable job of contrasting the "vertical life" with the "horizontal" one. A horizontal life is one that is focused on "self" and draws its identity from the world while the vertical life is one that finds its identity entirely on one's relationship with God.
Sayers exposes how Christians live according to various combinations of their "vertical" and "horizontal" selves. Depending on our circumstances, we may attempt to tap into our vertical identities (say, on Sunday mornings) while at other times we are more than happy to live according to our "horizontal" identity. As a result, our lives become fragmented and our faith is built on nothing more than sand.
It is impossible to absorb Sayers' message within these pages without conducting a self-inventory. There are times when the reader may get stung a little as they flip through the pages; however, it is all for the cause of discipleship and spiritual growth. For this reason I believe Sayers' book is a wonderful addition to my book shelf.
Although The Vertical Self does a wonderful job of exposing the blemished way in which many of us lead our lives and will lead to conviction in many of its readers; I believe it misses the mark somewhat in actual application.
I believe the reader who truly desires the vertical life may walk away Sayers' work confused about how to achieve it. Sayers would have done well to explore Biblical text in more detail and to include a detailed discipleship & spiritual growth program. As it stands, he identifies the problem while offering a shallow attempt at a solution.
The book would be a good first step in a Christian's walk towards a Godly life, but only if it inspires the reader to engage more deeply in Biblical text along with some of the deeper contemporary authors such as Dallas Willard or John MacArthur.
Note: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Chelsey3 Stars Out Of 5September 8, 2010ChelseyI wasn't sure what to expect when I began The Vertical Self, by Mark Sayers. I was pleasantly surprised at the fresh new ways he presented simple Truths. Because of his experience with youth and young adult discipleship, he has a broad understanding of contemporary pop culture and the areas and challenges that affect the twenty something generation.The Vertical Self delves head on into topics such as the intersection of identity, Western culture and faith. The basic premise of the book is that we have two potential selves. The first is our horizontal self which can be defined by media, culture, peer pressure and everyday life around us. In direct contrast, is our vertical self. This identity is molded and shaped by our relationship with our Heavenly Father and our grasp of how HE sees us.Sayers explains that those who follow Christ should strive to live a vertical life; finding their identities in Christ. However he urges us to not shy away from the world, rather engage in it and show your true self to those as you pursue radical holiness.The Vertical Self has wonderful insights; especially for the young adult crowd. The only drawback is that he takes you to a certain place and rather continue to delve deeper, he leave the reader hanging a bit and grasping for more.
Trish4 Stars Out Of 5August 20, 2010TrishThe Vertical Self by Mark Sayers is all about learning the difference between Western Culture and Biblical Culture. Living in the United States of America, I have grown up with a lot of material possessions. I am used to having television, video games, air conditioning, a lot of books, clothes, cds, movies, etc. Living for the material possessions is living horizontally. That is the way most people live. Often times people, myself included, let these material possessions get in our way of living for God. God wants us to be holy. God wants us to live vertically. Many Christians live vertically in some places (like church) and horizontally other places (like with friends). This is not how God intended for us to live our lives. We should be consistently vertical! In this book, Mark Sayers gives advice backed up by the Holy Bible to help us learn to live vertically all of the time. We need to stop caring about how others judge us and only care about how the Lord judges us and how we live. This book does a great job of explaining that concept! This book challenged the way I live my life and I would recommend it to others!
Located in: Australia
Submitted: October 02, 2009
Tell us a little about yourself. I am a writer who tries to report on what's really going on in the borderlands between faith and popular culture. I am passionate about helping people understand the fluid culture in which we are living. I love mining the ancient and mysterious depths of the Bible to find remedies to our contemporary cultural maladies. I am also the founder of Uber ministries, as well as being the pastor of a fantastic church called Red. I live in Melbourne, Australia.
What was your motivation behind this project? More and more as a culture we are being encouraged to find meaning in projecting an image to the rest of the world. In the past people derived a sense of self by referring back to the truth found in Genesis that we are all made in the image of God. But now people seek to find an identity by wearing all kinds of disposable personalities such as cool, sexy or glamorous. People all over the world are spending literally billions of dollars a year in order to keep up appearances. The problem is that the more that you project a false image or personality to the world that is not rooted in your God give identity, the more you lose a sense of self. So I wanted to help people see how we were being sucked into this game of masks and to point people back to the freedom of being defined not by our culture but rather our God given identity.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? I hope that people gain an awareness of how we have all been influenced by what I call the horizontal self. That is trying to gain a sense of identity from our peers and our culture, and instead I am encouraging people to embrace what I call the vertical self, that is being defined by the reality that we are created in the image of God. That is does not matter what our culture says about us, God made us in his image. I also make a strong case in the book that the way to escape this obsession with image is to pursue a path of holiness. I also wanted to breathe new life into our concept of holiness, which in an image driven culture is seen sometimes by even people of faith as something akin to social suicide. I wanted to help people see that holiness of the bible is not a Ned Flanders kind of holiness but rather a gutsy, earthy and sometimes messy journey to becoming who God wants us to be.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? I was really impacted writing this book and had to ask myself a lot of hard questions about how I was putting out an image to the world. Ironically even in promoting this book, as an author I always find it is a tightrope walk, as often authors are encouraged to see themselves as part of their brand. In an age of twitter and facebook etc it is a real challenge to remain honest and humble and to not fall into the trap of self promotion for self promotions sake.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I have some pretty diverse sources of inspiration and favourite authors. I am inspired by Neal Gabler, John Leland, A.N Wilson, Haruki Murakami, G.K Chesterton, Harold Kushner, Raymond Chandler, Jack Keroauc,John Kennedy O'Toole. Plus I think reading the NME in the late 80's and 90's taught me how to write.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: I hope that this book helps people to look at the culture and their own lives in a whole new way, and that it opens their eyes to the way that God is shaping them everyday.
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