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Reflecting Upon Scripture

"You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Text Is About You"

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In their widely acclaimed book The Narcissism Epidemic, authors Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell document the slow and steady growth of narcissistic attitudes, behaviors, and assumptions in various aspects of American life and culture. Reality TV both encourages and normalizes self-centered behavior. Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook encour-age us to post pictures and updates about our minute-by-minute activities no matter how trivial, and child-centered schools reward kids merely for exerting effort, even if the actual work is substandard. And in the midst of all this, mega-best-selling books regularly flatter us with words such as, "You are the most powerful magnet in the Universe!" (1)

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1 [ Back ] Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (New York: Atria Books, 2007), 7.
2 [ Back ] Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, The Narcissism Epidemic (New York: Free Press, 2009), 246.
3 [ Back ] Twenge and Campbell, 247-48.
4 [ Back ] Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (New York: Penguin, 2005), 148.
5 [ Back ] Robert Bellah et al., Habits of the Heart (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), 221.
6 [ Back ] Bellah, 221.
7 [ Back ] David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise (New York: Touchstone, 2000), 227.
8 [ Back ] Robert Bellah, "Habits of the Heart: Implications for Religion" (a lecture given at St. Mark's Catholic Church, Isla Vista, California on 21 February 1986). This lecture is available online at Robert Bellah's website: 5.htm.
9 [ Back ] Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1940), 294.
10 [ Back ] Louis Berkhof, Principles of Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1950), 113.
11 [ Back ] Berkhof, 114.
12 [ Back ] TNIV Audio Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005).
13 [ Back ] Berkhof, 115.
14 [ Back ] Postman, 121.

Shane Rosenthal is executive producer of The White Horse Inn national radio broadcast which can be heard online at

Issue: "Rightly Dividing the Word" Sept./Oct. 2010 Vol. 19 No. 5 Page number(s): 22-25

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