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The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are in an Age of Self Obsession

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  91 ratings  ·  25 reviews
It's time for a return to Radical Holiness.
Welcome to the 21st century where you can now purchase and exchange personalities, depending on mood and circumstance; where you are told that you can be anyone you want to be, and identity is no longer based in a sense of self but rather in the imagery you choose at that moment.
The Bible contains a radically different way of un
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Paperback, 197 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
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Katie
(Free selection from the Amazon Vine program.)

This book was interesting for me in that Sayers at times seemed to read my mind--from things that worry me about contemporary society, to my own weaknesses--but then took off with that idea and expanded upon it in ways that never would have occurred to me. There are so many good insights in this book, I read the whole thing with pencil in hand and will have to revisit it several times to remind myself of each of his well-stated and eloquent, spot-on
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Pastoralmusings
Mark Sayers has written an interesting book, to say the least. I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine Reviewer program and did not think it would be an easy read. It was an easy and enjoyable read.
Sayers looks at how people live, relate, and function today. He states that most people are trying to relate and live on a horizontal level, that is from person to person. We should, however, seek to live our lives on a vertical plane, person to God.
Sayers states that we have labels such as “
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Melissa Stebbins
I was very excited to get this book in the mail as part of Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program. In the Vertical Self Mark Sayers looks at how in modern western culture instead of defining ourselves vertically in relationship to God we now attempt to gain a sense of identity horizontally by what the people around us think. The first section looks at various influences in our culture that combine to shape the way we see ourselves. The second part looks at how we might seek to find our true identity ...more
Jared Totten
The Vertical Self is half sociological study, half spiritual discipline guide. Unfortunately, Mark Sayers shines as a sociologist and merely passes as a spiritual guru. However, this is not to say I did not enjoy this book or would not recommend it (I did and would respectively). This book is worth the price of admission for the first half alone.

The former half of this book reads a little like David Brooks. However, instead of writing about the blending of the bourgeois and bohemian classes, Mar
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Adam B.R. Clarke
Note:
Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was received free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.

A Review by Adam B.R. Clarke

The title is a mouthful...

“The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are In An Age Of Self Obsession”

...but if you can look past the length, the title gives away some great insight. First, Mark Sayers is going to base everything he says biblically, faithfully and with a strong theological
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Chris Hyde
“The Vertical Self” by Mark Sayers has an interesting tagline: How Biblical faith can help us discover who we are in an age of self obsession. This is a topic that most Christian books don’t address, so I figured this would be a good read.

The first half of this book is an interesting sociological look at how our Western culture views identity today. The author’s premise is that in years past, people have had a vertical view of self, meaning, they viewed themselves based on a property understandi
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Evelyn
The Vertical Self - How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are In An Age of Self Obsession, by Mark Sayers, is a well-written book that takes us on the journey to find our true selves.

The "vertical self", to put it simply, is one who, instead of being concerned what others think, is concerned with what God thinks. I really enjoyed the concept of this book. As I read through the pages, I was struck with what a strong desire I felt to improve myself. This book would be good for Christians
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Marcus
Maybe 3.5 stars...

The author started by contrasting the "vertical self" to the "horizontal self." Things like "God as judge" versus "Others as judge," "Holiness" versus "Status," "Self-discipline" versus "Self Esteem." He then spent a lot of time talking about how our culture has changed such that we are all expected to play social roles and follow after various celebrity models of those roles, including entire chapters on the Sexy, Cool, and Glamorous "social selves" that are typical. Also talk
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Clark Goble
The Vertical Self is perhaps the most aptly titled book I have come across in quite awhile. Sayers does a remarkable job of contrasting the “vertical life” with the “horizontal” one. A horizontal life is one that is focused on “self” and draws its identity from the world while the vertical life is one that finds its identity entirely on one’s relationship with God.

Sayers exposes how Christians live according to various combinations of their “vertical” and “horizontal” selves. Depending on our ci
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Michael
When I received this book, I was pretty excited simply by the fact that Leonard Sweet wrote the forward. When I actually engaged the book itself, I was more than pleased and challenged.
The angle Mark Sayers took on this subject was very interesting, and that angle is this: For far too long people in general, and Christians specifically, have taken their cues of who they are from a horizontal reference, i.e., their peers and culture around them. He used the oft used terms, "cool, sexy and glamoro
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Ibelisse Sanchez
In our current age of social networking, it is easy to create a false identity. Is the public image we present who we really are or are we searching for a lost identity? The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers tackles the intersection of identity, faith and Western culture head on. Sayers is the founder of über, a ministry in Melbourne, Australia that specializes in issues of youth and young adult discipleship. With his vast knowledge of contemporary pop culture, he explains how our generation has at i ...more
Beau
In The Vertical Self, Mark Sayers literally rips apart culture and exposes it for what it's (most of it) worth; a shallow expression of an identity that was once in Christ. Sayers' experiences as a minister in Melbourne, Australia has led him to believe that the body of believers are currently experiencing an 'identity crisis' whereby we look to others, cultural trends/clichés, celebrities, musicians, artists for identity (the horizontal self) - rather than acknowledging one's true identity in C ...more
Sunflower
From,"The Vertical Self"

Our greatest scorn is reserved for those who fail at the game of looking good. this is why we have become so obsessed with hypocrisy. We experience a guilty pleasure when others are "found out".

......Their charades just prove to us that no one is really good; therefore, we all must just put on an act that says we are

......The measuring stick for our success in this quest becomes our personal feelings. Do we feel great? Do we feel free? Do we feel happy?"

How often do w
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Danielle
I recently read the book The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers. The basic gist of the book is that there are two ways to focus on how we view ourselves: "Horizontally" (meaning that we look at the world around us to base how we view ourselves) and "Vertically" (meaning that we look to God as our creator who made us in His image to base how we view ourselves). Sayers uses that base to launch into a full examination of how we view ourselves and how we can pull away from "The Horizontal Self" to head to ...more
Annette
I really appreciate Mark Sayers efforts here to enlighten me and others about post-modernism. In a world crying out for meaning, I am really over the pathetic efforts of TV programmes to provide answers: when they are faced with tragedy, what does Dr Oz, Backyard Blitz et al. try to do? Why,it sounds like a makeover is needed. Can't get pregnant and husband has been laid off? Quick let's do up their backyard and send her off to a day spa, that'll make it all better! Bull crap!

I really enjoyed re
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Nick
I can't really express how influential this book has been to me.
Like really - I thought going into it I had some high expectations, so I was a little prepared to be underwhelmed. But it hit me in all the places I didn't even know I was hiding.

It doesn't say - 'This is what you do, you are bad'

It says - 'Do you even realise you do this?!'

And I had to respond.
No. No I did not.

Sayers basically calls bullcrap on society and it's answers, it's judgement, and it's promise of fulfillment.
And I was real
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Liam Joyce
I can't explain just how good this book is.

Sayers takes us on a journey of the horizontal self, of why and how we get our identity through the world looking around us. How the media, our peers and the expectations of society create an ever changing identity for people to fit into. He shows how damaging the horizontal self is and how unfulfilling and repetitive it becomes.

He then explains on the vertical self, the need to move our identities back in christ. Such a good book on the modern world an
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Jayme Hlatky
the book brings to light the many ways in which we live horizontally, seeking to please a culture that is only pleased with itself. Mark Sayers calls us to live vertically before God and calls this our true self - the self God created us to be. I think the book is worth reading and the topic definitely needs to be talked about and applied in our lives and churches. The problem I had with his solution (redeeming our desires) is that it seemed humanistic, like we can do this without absolutely dep ...more
Jasmine
We live in a society where self-image is greatly examined. It is either you're accepted or rejected (which is what the majority doesn't want to experience). As a result, you do everything to build an image that is acceptable to the people around you. But is that what you're true self is? Are you even aware of you full potential or you're just trying to look for inspiration in other people? This is what the book is all about.

You may or may not like it, but atleast give it a try. :)
Hugh Harmon
Great inspiring critical read on the state of societies view of identity in contrast with image, and a subtle but radical take on holiness.
Laura
This book was great! Sayers outlines so many things that we know but are rarely discussed. Everything he states, he brings back to his main, quality thesis. I wish I could provide this book for everyone to read. In this culture of image Sayers outlines so many great ideas on how to ensure we don't become overwhelmed in this image obsessed society.
Will Holcomb
I think the vertical vs. horizontal growth of people and of churches needs much more focus. This book does an excellent job of doing just that. Great read for anyone who feels our modern society is missing life's point and wants words to explain why.
Tiffany Owens
I really enjoy Sayers' definition of holiness as wholeness: discovering our true selves rather than trying to live up to a list of moral rules. Great advice for living authentically in a world obsessed with hyper-realities and projected identities.
Jonathan Lilley
Good survey of American culture and its effect on self image. Also good tie in with the image of God perfected in Jesus Christ. A good read for a Christian who has lost a sense of identity.
Simon
Great stuff. Sayers is always so insightful and and pithy. Should, God-willing, change the reader's life. Might be a good one for non-believers to read, also.
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“In the absence of a story or foundation that gives hope or meaning, life has become a never-ending quest for pleasure and experience. Instead of being good, people want to feel good.” 1 likes
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