“What if we are living according to the myths of our culture without even questioning them?”
In order to answer this question and expose the myths of our culture by shining the light of the Gospel on them, Trevin Wax has written an excellent new book — This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel. Trevin is the Bible and Reference publisher for LifeWay, a former missionary to Romania, and a regular blogger and writer. In his newest book, Trevin Wax helps Christians in 21st-centruy America understand the times in which they live in order to help them better apply the Gospel to their particular culture and time.
Building upon the true story of his Romanian father-in-law (Florin) who grew up in an era where Communism was prevailing and its opponents were marginalized, Wax calls us, in our current topsy-turvy American context, to be ready to stand up for truth and remain faithful in the midst of the prevailing myths that surround us (Side note: I was deeply moved, to the point of tears, in the afterword where Trevin recounts the death of Florin. I pray that I would die well, with Gospel-centered brothers and sisters surrounding me as he did, as I depart this earth to be with the Lord).
As Wax says, “We are in the midst of a moral revolution, and the world is changing around us.” Some of us have seen the revolution unfold before us. Others have grown up in it and know nothing different. How are we to see through the myths that our society is selling us, to see them for what they are, and be prepared to respond with the truth of God’s Word and the hope of the Gospel?
In order to see through the myths of the society to the hope of the Gospel, Wax helps train us to look for three things
(1) The Longing
There is usually something good and right in the stories that our society sells. As Wax says, “The question we must ask is Why? Why do people want this story to be true?” (10). They are trying to satisfy some longing that is in their souls. The myth that they are believing may be bad, but the longing is good. We must be willing to look beneath the surface for the longing underlying the myth.
(2) The Lie
What, then, is bad about the myth? If Christianity offers truth (which it does), what is the false truth, or lie, that the society is trying to sell as the answer and fulfillment of that good longing. Wax says, “If we do not expose the lies at the heart of the stories in our society, we imply that the Christian view of the world is just one option among many, just one way of finding fulfillment” (11). We must not only understand the good longing, but also expose the damning lie that people are being sold.
(3) The Light
Then we must shine the light of the Gospel on that myth, showing how the Gospel truly satisfies the good longing. “Evangelism is not just convincing people the gospel is true, but also that it is better” (12).
What follows in the rest of the book are 8 myths that we are sold in our society. The first half of the book looks at myths and habits that impact us day to day — things like smartphones and entertainment. The second half of the book then turns to the larger myths that animate our society — what should our political involvement be? What myths are society selling us about marriage and sexuality? In each chapter, Wax looks at what our society is pushing on us as truth and uses the 3 categories above to help the reader pick through and identify the longing, the lie(s), and the light of the Gospel of that myth.
So what are those 8 myths?
Your Phone Is A Myth-Teller. In this chapter, we see the myths that we are taught by our phones, social media, and beyond — the primary myth being that you are the center of the universe.
Hollywood Is After Your Heart. We see in this chapter that the entertainment we consume is explicitly and implicitly aiming to teach us something and mold us to a particular view of reality and truth.
The North Pole and the Pursuit of Happiness. This chapter exposes the myth of the pursuit of happiness and the search for self and significance.
Shopping for Happiness. Exposing the myth of “The American Dream,” this chapter looks at materialism, consumerism, and the myth that happiness is found in having more.
Never “At Home” in the City of Man. Shifting from the day-to-day myths now to the larger prevailing myths in society, this chapter looks at the competing myths of “taking back” America or “pulling back” into a posture of passivity. Just what role should political involvement play in the life of Christians?
Marriage Matters. This chapter exposes the myths surrounding marriage in our culture — including the myth of soul mates, personal expression, and ease in marriage.
Sex Rebels. Intimately connected to the myths surrounding marriage, this chapter looks at two troubling myths about sex that are strongly pushed in our society — Sex is Nothing, and Sex is Everything.
As The World Wobbles. Is the world progressing or declining, and how should our answer impact our daily lives? This chapter looks at the myths on both sides and helps the reader see the balanced view that the Gospel brings.
In each of these chapters you will find yourself stretched, challenged, convicted, encouraged, and most of all, equipped. Read this book slowly, thoughtfully, and prayerfully. Our society is selling us a bill of good that is diametrically opposed to the Gospel, and often, we as Christians have bought in wholeheartedly — sometimes without even being aware.
This is the best book that I have read so far in 2017. I know that is high praise, but it is true. I found myself encouraged, edified, and equipped in each and every chapter, and I think you will find the same thing. Each and every one of us needs to be better equipped to face the everyday myths of the world and respond with the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This book will be an excellent resource to equip you to do just that.
In accordance with FTC Regulations, I would like to thank B&H Books for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.