Are we wiser because of the massive amount of information we have available to us in seconds? Are we better off as a society with everyone seeking and living out “their own truth?” The short answer? No, we aren’t. In his new book, Brett McCracken shows us how the Information Age has actually made us mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually sick. Like a person who has consumed too much unhealthy food we have consumed far too much (and too fast) information and we are suffering for it. Add to this the fact that we typically only consume information that reinforces what we already think and believe, never allowing ourselves to be stretched or confronted by different ways of thinking, it’s no wonder our society is in the shape it is.
In the first section of his book, Brett does a fantastic job of showing us the problems that we are facing in the Information Age. It is one of the most succinct and well-researched critiques of what we are facing as a society that I have read. (This section almost made me want to live off the grid.) But what I do appreciate about this book is he doesn’t simply say “it’s all bad, let’s head for the hills.” For believers, this is never the option. He walks us through how to navigate our current climate in a redemptive and healthy way. Because “everyone has a megaphone, and no one has a filter”, we no longer know what or who to believe. As a result, the concept of objective truth has fallen on hard times. We can seemingly find a set of “facts” that back up whatever we want to believe. He warns us of the danger of the “look within” autonomy we all feel a pull towards and shows us how God is the objective standard of truth.
In the second section of the book, we are guided through Brett’s “wisdom pyramid.” At the foundation of the pyramid is God’s Word, the Bible. This chapter will make your heart explode with love and appreciation over the miracle that is our Bible. God, the Creator of all that is, wrote us a book! With everyone pointing to themselves as their source of wisdom (you do you) the Bible shines through as a freeing and infinitely more reliable source of wisdom than our own deceitful heart. (Jeremiah 17:9) You will cherish your Bible more after you read this book.
Next, Brett points us to the church as a source of wisdom. While Western Culture pushes us towards individuality and the burden of being our source of wisdom, the church serves as a communal, liberating reminder that wisdom is not found within ourselves, but in God. He says “Showing up weekly and immersing yourself in a church’s ‘not-about-me’ orientation can do wonders for your spiritual sanity in an unwise age.” After the Church, we are directed towards nature as a way to feed our soul in a “post-truth” age. Comically Brett points out how the weather doesn’t abide by “alternative facts.” It’s either raining or it isn’t. It doesn’t ask us for our opinion, it just does. It reminds us that the world is much bigger and enduring than what we have made out of it. It shows us the power and glory of God. (Psalm 95:4-5) It also shows us the loving nature of God. He made this for us to enjoy. Wow.
From nature, the book moves on to the wisdom to be found in books. I could write so much here, but this book review is almost as long as the book, so I will leave you with this. Go read. Read books. Read books you love and enjoy, read books that challenge you (ones you might even disagree with), read books. Read old books, because they have stood the test of time and are found increasingly relevant. I’m stopping now because I’ve almost written an entire paragraph after saying I wouldn’t say much. After books, Brett talks about beauty as a source to feed our souls. One of the interesting points he brings up in this chapter is the connection between beauty and silence. Beauty is meant to leave us in awe and wonder, yet often our first reaction is to Instagram it. This is something that I want to grow in. Letting the beauty of something point me back to the beauty of my Creator and Redeemer and finding myself dumbstruck and in awe. Lastly, Brett points us to Social Media and the Internet. What I appreciate about this book is Brett does not tell us to get off of it, but use it wisely and redeem what is often foolish for the glory of God. There is great potential to share the praise-worthiness of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ with more people than ever before. We have so many good, theologically rich, resources right at our fingertips. Let’s use and leverage them for the glory of God!
This book was so encouraging on so many levels. It’s a quick and easy read, but it will make you think and challenge you as well. Wisdom is calling, let’s answer.
I received a free digital version of this book in exchange for an honest review.