- R. Albert Mohler Jr. Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth. Multnoma, 2008. 160 pgs.
As promised, I am reviewing for you the summer reading that I am doing on my vacation. The first book I read is Culture Shift (CS). I have respected Dr. Mohler and his work for quite some time and especially like his radio program. He is consistently biblical while being fair and gentile in his conversation with all people, believers or not. In this work Dr. Mohler takes on the major issues of the day and seeks to offer a biblical perspective on those issues. In doing so he offers a fair analysis of the issues often citing the proponents of the issues speak for themselves. Each chapter in the book resembles one of Dr. Mohler’s essays published on his blog, these having been selected presumably because Dr. Mohler views them as essential ingredients to the shifts that we see. Certainly the analysis Dr. Mohler offers gives the reader a definite view of the social and spiritual aftershocks we all experience when our culture is changing.
I must say this book is not what I thought it would be. Though I would recommend its content to any reader, I would caution all not to come to CS as I did expecting an overarching theme that drives each chapter of the work forward. Perhaps the closest semblance of this is Dr. Mohler’s assessment of Augustine’s City of God. The first chapter is devoted to exploring the way Christians should engage in politics, a topic which Mohler aptly cedes to Augustine’s genius. In many places Dr. Mohler comes back and references portions of the City of God that related to the topic at hand.
Instead of a work devoted to a particular theme, this work is like a running editorial on the issues of the day. I found myself enjoying the chapters that had a definite connectivity about a certain topic more so than those that only had one brief essay. For instance the first four chapters concerning a Christian’s approach to politics formed the strongest unit in the book. After reasoning over the secular thrust of society and providing Five Theses for Christian engagement Dr. Mohler offers this paragraph:
A Christian’s motivation for entering the public square and advocating public policy is love of neighbor. Our concern in political, moral, social, and cultural engagement is not to impose Christianity – as if the mere imposition of a Christian moral code would be sufficient. Rather, our concern is love for our neighbor. We are motivated by love for other human beings, believing that health and welfare and happiness and commonweal are dependent on society’s being ordered in such a way that the Creator’s intentions for human relationships are honored and upheld – and that will inevitably require restrictions on human conduct. Only when the Creator’s intentions for human society are upheld will His desire for human happiness also be realized among us. (pg. 26)
The following chapter about the “Culture of Offendedness” enlightened me to what I would think is the key to the tremors we see in culture. Instead of our society valuing freedom of speech, we instead have a value the “right” to not be offended. On the sum of the book, I would recommend that the interested party simply read it. All the chapters are well written and worthwhile. Furthermore, this book is a good launchpoint into thinking about the spiritual aftershocks of society’s social tremmors.