Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers

*Special Thursday Book Review*

When trying to discern who you are, do you look around you or do you look to the One who holds the answer? In The Vertical Self, Sayers plunges the depths of how easy it is to manipulate image in today’s culture. As though pulling from a deck of cards you can select a “cool” image, a “glamorous” one or perhaps something “sexy.”

He writes, “Welcome to the world in which we are told we can be anyone we want to be, where identity is no longer based in sense of self but rather in the imagery we choose at any particular moment.”

Sayers examines what it means to be defined by horizontal impressions, what the world thinks of you versus understanding who you are in an all-loving, holy, vertical relationship with God.

I appreciated the refreshingly honest perspective throughout The Vertical Self. In this age of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and profuse access to reinventing self and playing with image as though it’s a puzzle, Sayers holds Christians to account, reminding us where our foundation is and who we can trust.

I love this next paragraph so much I have to quote it for you. It has special meaning to me because two weeks ago I said good-bye to my father. Walking through the hospital door seeing my father in his brain-dead condition was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I pulled a small white rock from my purse and placed it in his unresponsive hand. Between sobs, I reminded him that he’d be getting a new name soon.

The next day we took him off the ventilator. Thankfully he passed quickly, clutching Jesus as he left this world…perhaps reading or hearing his beautiful new name for the first time.

Sayers writes, “I think I now understand in some small way how God feels as he sees us. Probably we initially appear to him like a newborn baby—messy and covered in goo and muck. But he looks beyond all that. He lifts our faces; he looks deep into our eyes and sees the image of God, the potential for shalom. He sees us fully redeemed, exactly as he designed us when he knitted us in our mother’s wombs. This is why he calls out to you. He is beckoning you from the future to become your true self. He holds in his hand a white rock with your true name on it.”

*little did I know when I wrote this post for Exemplify weeks ago I'd be going through my own grief when it posted


  1. I enjoyed this book as well sister...Happy Easter! God bless you greatly!

  2. I must get this book. I'm still praying for you.

  3. *hugs* Wendy.

    This sounds like a wonderful book! One of the things that gets me through life is knowing that He is there, watching over and loving us.

  4. Beautiful. My thoughts are with you.

  5. I appreciate your honesty about this, and I'm so sorry you're having to deal with the crushing grief.

    The book seems to have arrived in your life at just the right time.

  6. Wendy, I'm still praying for you, too. Thanks for this post.

    I know it seems silly in light of the present circumstances, but I gave you a blog award over at my blog. I love reading your blog and gaining from your insights. Thanks so much for all you think about and share with us!


  7. Wendy, I've read about the white rock in Revelations, but what you did with your father, is so touching. I love that, and I know God, our Father, did too. Blessings

  8. Oh Wendy. How good God is. He knew, before you did, that you'd need this. I love you and pray for you, dear sister.

  9. Thanks for sharing. So touching.

    Mark Sayers shared about your post in his blog post :)


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