41. Cultural Counterfeits

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Cultural Counterfeits: Confronting 5 Empty Promises of Our Age and How We Were Made For So Much More. Jen Oshman. 2022. [March] 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence from the introduction: I, like you, want to be accepted. I want the approval and applause of others. I hate to cause conflict or to offend. I like it when other people like me. But these are polarizing days, and complete acceptance is hard to come by. Most of us–whether we’re in a classroom, a boardroom, a coffee shop, or online–keep a low profile and keep as quiet as we can, so as to not be seen as arrogant or rude. We want to be genuinely humble and kind, and we want to be perceived so too. That’s what’s hard about this book. 
First sentence from chapter one: We live in a unique moment that was delivered to us by a specific timeline in history. 
What you see is what you get. Will you like what you see and what you get? Maybe. Maybe not. Oshman seeks to call out, to confront, five false views, five HUGE deceptions facing our culture today. She writes specifically for women and girls. (I don’t personally know why she limits herself to reaching out to one gender. I think ALL five issues/deceptions/worldviews effect everyone.) 
So Oshman writes of culture, society, worldviews, etc. This is balanced out by the Word of God. She sees the world through the lens of Scripture and she encourages readers to do the same. She counters lies with the truth. This is the best way, perhaps the only way. She assumes (rightly) that the Bible is the Word of God. That it is all the things–authoritative, infallible, inerrant, inspired. We are all immersed–to one degree or another–in our culture. There’s no escaping the messages that are being thrown at us 24/7. But we can counter those messages and hold them up to scrutiny, to see them in light of the one thing we know to be true–the Word of God.
These are the five chapters that share the five topics. 
Obsessed: Bodies, Beauty, and Ability
Selling Out for Cheap Sex
Abortion Has Not Delivered
Trending LGBTQIA+
When Marriage and Motherhood Become Idols. 
Some seem like obvious deceptions. (At least to me). But others surprised me. It is easy to see how the world is ‘lying’ to us in x, y, z ways. But there are subtler ways as well. In particular, I doubt many believers could ever make the leap to thinking that marriage and motherhood are idols. (Now, this chapter is contrary to others. This message that idolizes marriage and motherhood over singleness and/or childlessness most often comes from the church. And I think, to a certain degree, it is subtle and perhaps an unintended consequence. By focusing on biblical womanhood, biblical marriages, biblical gender roles, it can seem that marriage and motherhood are everything, absolutely everything. That to be single, to be childless is to be “less than.” Again, I think that more often than not this is not intentional, more unspoken. But the chapter does resonate. I can see it both ways. As a single, childless christian, it can be frustrating that many/most books written for Christian women by Christian women about Christian women, assume that you are married with a couple of kids. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone means any offense. There’s something to be said for NOT being offended by every little thing. I think to find offense anywhere, everywhere, at all times, always is problematic. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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