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May 17, 2005

Book Review: Escaping the Matrix

The following is a review done on behalf of Mind & Media. The copy of the book I reviewed was donated by the publisher, through Mind & Media for the purpose of this review.

My wife constantly criticizes me for using television or movie scenes as illustrations while in Sunday School class. I never thought I did it all that much, and some of them make such wonderfully appropriate word pictures. Now I kinda see her point.

By wrapping their theme within The Matrix movie sequels authors Gregory Boyd and Al Larson ultimately cheapened their message. Yes, the movie does provide a nice allegory, and used sparingly I doubt I would have minded as much. John Eldredge used numerous movie allegories in his book Wild at Heart, but he limited the allegories to specific points. Escaping the Matrix referred to the movie so much that the message takes on the atmosphere of cheesiness. It becomes painfully overused when reference is made to a patient of one of the authors who was addicted to porn, and the evils of supporting the porn industry was emphasized, while supporting an industry that produces an abundance of R-rated movies full of sex and gore seems to go unnoticed.

But even past the tawdriness of the overused movie reference was a presentation of the basic ideas that reeked of pop-psychology. I'm familiar enough with counseling techniques to know that the reason there are so many different therapy types is that people respond differently to different approaches. Not all explanations of why we do certain things are true, but many of those lacking in truth can nonetheless be effective, simple because they produce the correct response.

In the end there were plenty of nuggets of truth, valuable truth, scattered throughout the pages of the book. Overall, many of the ideas are well worth studying, and I know I benefited from reading it. Even the chintzy packaging will be just the thing to catch the attention of some readers, in spite of how distracting it will be for others. If you think you'd be annoyed by the tacky overuse of the movie allegory, think of it as a sugarcoated crust on an otherwise nutritious snack.

Other reviews: Myopic Zeal

Posted by Danny Carlton at May 17, 2005 02:11 PM

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