Interview with Mark Sayers, Author of The Road Trip that Changed the World – Part 5
Here is the final part of my interview with Mark Sayers and his book The Road Trip the Changed the World. I trust you will enjoy these final questions.
JR: What do you expect will be the biggest critique of your book and why?
Mark: Mmm good question. I would like to think that people might have a problem with me using Jack Kerouac as a motif throughout the book considering how he is viewed both by Christians and those outside of the Church but if I am honest I think that it will be another issue that touches on Church. In the book I ask the question “what if the problem is us not the Church?’, I make the case that our expectations of church historically have been rather low, yet in our day we expect Church to meet every need, to blow our minds, I see this across the board in mega churches, but also in small missional churches, in new reformed Churches. When I have raised this questions as I have gone around people are shocked. Lots of Christians have invested heavily in the whole ‘Church is bad’ message, so when I put it back on us people can get very defensive. A whole industry has sprung up alongside the evangelical subculture which essentially critiques the movement yet is dependent upon it for life. I call it the deconstructive christian movement. It is big on critique but small on solution. It plays well to those raised in the evangelical heartland but does not resonate with those who are truly multi-generationaly removed from the Church. We are entering a post-secular moment which if we will miss if are not attentive, I am trying to address that, so those who are tied up in deconstructive Christianity can often miss what I am trying to say.
JR: Finally, much of the book addresses American culture, yet you live in Australia. Why did you feel the need to address such American themes.
Mark: Well firstly the ideas for this book came to me during two speaking trips to the US. As I was traveling I realized that two missionary movements have come out of the US. The first is the Christian missionary movement, the US has sent an incredible amount of missionaries throughout the world, through media and publishing the Christian US voice dominates the global Christian conversation. Yet at the same time, the US has exported another gospel, another form of good news. A hedonistic, individualist approach to life, which I term ‘The Road’ At the end of world war two Europe lost its place of cultural influence, it had been bombed to pieces and had reached this nihilistic place philosophically. After the war the US stepped into the breech, exporting to the world through popular culture a sunnier, sexier version of nihilism, which would shape the baby boomers. If you look at the stats in most Western countries the rapid decline of the Church occurred in the sixties when the boomers entered into adulthood. So I felt like a good detective I had to return to the scene of the crime to try and work out what had happened.
I think you will find Mark’s book a fascinating read. You can order it from Amazon at a great savings right now. Hope you enjoyed the interview.