Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: The Trouble With Paris

(Caveat Lector: If you are troubled by Christian Books than this post is not for you.  So sorry! But I am excited for my review here and think it is worthy to share.  I originally published this review on Polycarp 55 my non-secular blog.) 
Mark Sayer’s book The Trouble with Paris examines the way Modern Consumerism has been exalted to the “New Religion”.  Sayers shows that corporate America has erected plastic Idols that manipulate consumers to always want more, and more, and even more of that plastic stuff.  But just like that song by the Rolling Stones, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction"  the believer is left empty.    “Human beings are used and discarded like Styrofoam boxes that held junk food.”1 

When we worship made things instead of our LORD we are left with a hyper-reality.   This hyper-reality is a vacuum that leaves worshipers empty.    “Reality is not considered an impediment to desire.”2 Corporate America has a vested interest in keeping us unhappy so they can cure this pain by supplying us with endless happy meals with a toy included inside.  
Sayer also states that our kill joys happen when we compare ourselves with the Joneses.   When Mr. Jones buys a new Corvette, or moves to the better part of town; he leaves us with our broken down car, and our adequate house we feel a sense of shame that we are not making enough.  
The American Debt traders say, “Don’t worry be happy, and buy this new Chevrolet; if you don’t you’ll regret your life forever!”  The market also attempts to terrorize us with too many choices, just look down the aisle for Spaghetti sauce.   What is the best one?  There are way too many to compare, how do we make a decision without that feeling of guilt?  We could stand there for thirty minutes, in order to make a good decision. 
Death is the spotlight that the creed of hyper-reality is fraudulent and a heretical religion.  More money cannot conquer the effects of gravity and the ultimate end from this world.   But we can control our expectations.

The good

Mark Sayers brings an important thesis to the Mass Market Christian.

The bad

The book stumbles in some of its Theological Presuppositions.   I am not sure that Sayers has a firm grasp on the triune god; it seemed that he made Jesus a separate entity from God.   This is a classical heretical misstep. 

The Conclusion

“Christian Lite” book that will sharpen our focus on our relationship to and in Consumer America.

1Hedges, Chris. "American Psychosis." Adbusters (2010). Print.
2 Ibid.  


  1. Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century (Cultural Exegesis) by Craig Detweiler
  2. How Should We Then Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture by Francis A. Schaeffer
  3. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity by Nancy R. Pearcey
  4. Christ Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr
  5. How Now Shall We Live? by Charles W. Colson
  1. Sabbath: The Ancient Practices by Dan Allender
  2. Christ and Culture Revisited by D. A. Carson
  3. A Christian Manifesto by Francis A. Schaeffer
  4. Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell

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