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Review: 1984

Other book reviews coming soon: Raven’s Son, The Lion Witch & Wardrobe, Beautifully Broken, Dumbing Us Down

I just finished listening to 1984. I may be one of the few people who never read this book in high school or college. I felt left out so I decided to add it to my car listening list. 

I can tell by the content that the analysis on this book is likely tremendously extensive but I’m in the unique position that I have never read or heard any of it. I’m not sure exactly what the comparison was between the book and real life. I went through a huge number of possibilities throughout my listening experience.

Based on imagery, I’d guess Big Brother is Hitler but it seems too obvious so I’ll propose another possibility. Big Brother could be the church

Before you start crying “heresy”, hear me out! I love the church but, like many, I think it falls dangerously short of what God intended it to be. Although the idea that the modern church needs a change has inundated our churches and our society, opinions on what needs to happen vary greatly. Most “good Christians” are calling for stricter adherence to “biblical principles” but usually (and often unknowingly) at the expense of isolating those whose lifestyle is not “up to par”. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the people in that school of thought are falling victim to 1984s principle that “Ignorance is Strength”.

   
For fear of being ostracized from a church where our human nature makes us desperate to fit in, we fail to question our pastors, speakers, friends, authors, anyone. We won’t walk up to the line and say “I think there’s a way to interpret your so-called biblical truth differently”. Instead, my generation by and large has taken the easier route and left the church altogether. I think it’s because hard-core “churchers” are proponents of ignorance. They think “this is how it is because God said so” but the way they’ve found out that God apparently said so didn’t come out of their own brain. While we listen to more podcasts and sermons, we break open our own bibles less and less. It’s easier that way. Praying over and interpreting the Bible ourselves is scary because if we get it “wrong” (read: different), we might not be ignorant anymore but we might be kicked to the curb and say farewell to our sense of “community”.

Ignorance is strength only so far as you define strength by satisfying a need for a personal (albeit superficial) sense of belonging and we call that community. But who cares about community if it’s surface level? That wasn’t rhetorical. Who cares about it? Uh.. I do! I wish I could say I’d rather kiss community goodbye if it wasn’t real enough to let me question things like sex before marriage and the insistence on “quiet time with God” or even God himself but I wouldn’t. In the speed of life, it’s really hard to discern fake community, let alone walk away from it and be all alone instead.

  

Our churches have turned into a spiritual version of the status quo at the end of 1984. We are spiritually monotone. Parents raised Christian kids almost too well. We aren’t questioning, aren’t having doubts, and not accepting anyone who does. We need to stop.

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