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Christmas 2009

From nucleus - Christmas 2009 - Affluenza [p41]

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Oliver James
Vermillion; 2007; £8.99
Pb; 592pp
ISBN 0091900115

'Never have I read a book that so precisely captures the way we are being emotionally snookered by the demands of 21st century living...'
Jeremy Vine

How often do we consume more than we need? Is sincerity the same as authenticity? Why isn't parenthood as valuable to society as a job?

Oliver James, a clinical psychologist, travelled all over the world to compile this book. The title of the book refers to a set of values and behaviours that he models on a virus which infects the heart and the soul. James looks at what we prize, how we achieve our goals, and how this affects our wellbeing. Important issues for Christians today include biblical interpretation and homosexuality - of course. But what about politics and economics? Is it important to live holy and different lives in terms of how we treat our children and partners, and to act in a way towards the poor and towards climate change which sets us apart, and puts us at the forefront of change for the better?

Oliver James isn't known as a Christian, but in a way this makes for a bigger challenge. His findings and suggestions brush so close at times to Jesus that a call to a life more real whispers to you. Many of us like to think that our goals are simple; we are working towards loving God and each other more. This book makes uncomfortable but essential reading. Even as Christians, we can be 'snookered' by society into damaging ourselves and others, often without even realising.

Article written by Katie Dexter

More from nucleus: Christmas 2009

  • editorial...
  • learning to lead
  • failing exams
  • Spotlight on: Obama's healthcare reforms
  • assisted suicide law clarified
  • new Alzheimer's genes discovered
  • human material can be used in hybrid experiments without consent
  • carbon emissions: is the third world to blame?
  • doctors call for tough alcohol measures
  • PETA and 'moobs'
  • fresh or frozen?
  • HIV infections and deaths fall
  • distinctively different
  • dialogue dinners
  • a season for sowing
  • caring for asylum seekers
  • heroes + heretics
  • how to read the Bible
  • Affluenza
  • letters...
  • mutiny
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