Saving A Sick America: A Prescription For Moral And Cultural Transformation, by Michael Brown
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
There are times when authors go for the route of least resistance and this book is one of those cases. The author seems to think that there is any shortage of books that are hard on lukewarm Christians who don’t live up to their ideals in an age of cultural malaise and decadence . This book is a case where the author isn’t nearly as groundbreaking or original as he thinks he is, with a combination of triumphant idealism and a great deal of grim reality about the state of culture, with a look at the media, abortion, sexuality, pornography, and various other social evils. I have read more than half a dozen books that convey the same basic point with the same kind of historical appeal and the same sort of length and are aimed at an audience of at least nominal Christians, because while the author talks about the need to reach out to those who are broken by sin and have a short attention span, the author is certainly not trying to reach out to them here, because he’s making this book a self-righteous attempt to shock contemporary Christians out of his complacency.
In terms of its contents, this book doesn’t break any new ground. The book begins with a discussion of what is wrong with today’s society and how good the good old days were. The second part of the book explores America’s biblical roots and seeks to defend biblical values as being something other than sharia law and shows how the Bible is still relevant in America. The author then talks about how to rebuild America by pointing out how we are created in the image of God, how we need to build a culture of life, how we having a multi-generational approach is essential to rebuilding America, how we need to rebuild the educational system, how ministers need to restore thunder to their messages, how to reverse the spread of pornography, how to live in self-control and avoid gluttony, how to say goodbye to the entitlement mentality, and overcome selfishness. Does any of that sound unusual or groundbreaking to you? I hear this sort of message all the time, and I read this sort of message frequently. It is merely self-righteousness masquerading as tough love, and this book is full of it.
This book is not aimed at those who this society would view as sinners. Yet it also is not really aimed at Christians, because it insults believers for not being very good at living out their faith. How many people have the patience to read books that are hundreds of pages and contain information that is going to insult people for being overweight, being single, having unfulfilled romantic/sexual longings, and so on. I felt insulted in nearly every chapter of this book, and didn’t feel that the author was trying to encourage believers, even though the author could clearly diagnose the fairly transparently obvious problems of our society. It is one thing to be good at diagnosing what is wrong, but this author spends very little time talking about how things will get better. He wags his finger a great deal but doesn’t really provide a blueprint for how Christians are to live better, sounding like a Pharisee who wants to view himself as some kind of great voice for moral improvement while looking down at other people. This is a book that could have been a lot better than it was, but it is a serious book that is worth taking seriously. Let us not fool ourselves that this author is good at encouragement or is even remotely original, though.
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