Brett McCracken

Our Secular Age edited by Collin Hansen

Our Secular Age edited by Collin Hansen

The premise of Our Secular Age doesn’t have strong curb appeal: evangelical Christians grappling with the contribution of a contemporary philosopher’s nearly 900 page tome. Despite the fact that one of my favorite authors, James KA Smith has been significantly influenced by Charles Taylor, I still have yet to pick up Taylor’s A Secular Age.

Despite the less-than-enticing premise, Our Secular Age is a book that should be broadly read by Christian leaders. Even for the reader (like myself) who has no first-hand experience with Taylor, his theses are laid out clearly and the wide-ranging impact of his thought is explored and at times critiqued.

Taylor’s central thesis is that the secular world is a world that has turned its focus on the self and lost its sense of the transcendent. Collin Hansen says that Taylor traces the beginnings of this age to Martin Luther: “Taylor faults the Protestant Reformation and modern evangelical Christianity for disenchanting the world and turning the focus on the self rather than on God through and turning the focus on the self rather than on God through shared religious rituals.”

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.   The Attack of Social Media on Your Free Will: James Williams, the winner of Google's highest honor on why the impact of social media is particularly insidious, " I don’t think personal responsibility is unimportant. I think it’s untenable as a solution to this problem. Even people who write about these issues day to day, even me—and I worked at Google for 10 years—need to remember the sheer volume and scale of resources that are going into getting us to look at one thing over another, click on one thing over another. This industry employs some of the smartest people, thousands of Ph.D. designers, statisticians, engineers. They go to work every day to get us to do this one thing, to undermine our willpower. It’s not realistic to say you need to have more willpower. That’s the very thing being undermined!"

2.    What if We Took Our Commitment to the Church Seriously: Brett McCracken with a strong, but needed rebuke: "three-in-ten say the main reason they aren’t married is that they 'have not found someone who has what they are looking for in a spouse.' This desire for perfect compatibility is a problem. And that makes sense for a generation that’s grown up in a consumerist society where there are limitless options of brands and apps and genres and communities that can be tailored and curated in a perfect-for-me sort of way. We approach the church with the same mentality."

3.    A Father's Farewell Letter: Raymond Ortlund Jr. shares his father's beautiful farewell letter that he penned to his family before he died, "I urge you to remain true to your Savior. I have no doubt that you will. Love each other deeply in your marriages. Keep your family ties strong. Lay up treasure in heaven, because the stuff of earth is empty. Bank accounts, houses and furniture mean nothing to me now. Actually they never did. Beware of sin, and confess it as soon as you discover it in your life. And let the Spirit’s gift of joy color all your life. As you mature, remain a happy person in Christ. Get even sweeter as you get older. Sour old people are a pain."

4.       7 Things for Husbands and 7 Things for Wives to Remember About Sex: A snippet of Bob Lepine's wisdom for husbands: " Your wife needs a safe and secure relationship. In order for her to engage in sex with heart and mind and body, she needs to know that you will be there for her, that you are committed to her, and that she is your one and only." And for wives: " Sex is God’s idea. He created it and gave it as a good gift to husbands and wives in marriage. It is a key part of His plan for how we become one in marriage."

5.    Why Kellen Erskine is Disappointed with High School Mascots: I love Erskine’s dry humor, “The Syrup Makers? Of course, I love the syrup from Georgia.”