Narcissistic Introspection?

Happy New Year!

Later this month, Leonard Sweet and I will be interviewing Michael Bywater for a webcast at I've been reading and taking notes on Bywater's most recent book Big Babies - a poignant (and hilarious) treatise on the juvenile culture of Western Civilization, our demands to be entertained, spoon-fed and pampered, and our refusal to GROW UP!

Some of the commentary strikes a little too close to home...

In Chapter 5 Bywater writes:

"I suspect that my grandfather's life was real in a sense that my father's life hasn't quite been, and my life is not at all. The crucial difference is the lack of self-consciousness, and that self-consciousness is yet another hallmark of the perpetual, infantilised adolescents we have all become, monsters of introspection hovering twitchingly on the edge of self obsession, peering into the abyss of our own inner disconnection, occasionally aware that while the unexamined life may not be worth living, the life which only exists to be examined is barely manageable; barely, indeed, a life." (pg. 121)


I'm so used to lamenting the UNEXAMINED lives of so many Christians that it is jarring to read such an eloquent, cautionary word against self-obsessive introspection.

But what of the monks and mystics? My guess is that their meditations are far less focused on the self than on The Divine (and on personal, spiritual and communal connectedness). How often my own meditations are obsessively - and narcissistically - on ME!!

read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at

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