IVP, 216 pages
This is an important book. It’s a memoir beautifully written with an authentic tone of humility and a confession of the author’s ongoing participation in what she describes. Yet, it is more than memoir. D.L. Mayfield begins with a line from 2 Timothy describing a time when people will “turn from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Rarely is the American Dream exposed so brilliantly as the myth that has drawn people, including Christians, away from the truth. She then unveils the myriad ways that affluence, autonomy, safety and power assume formative status counter to the biblical witness, particularly the way of Jesus. Frankly, I was startled by the grip on my own life by the embedded assumptions of that dream.
The author has the writerly skills of a poet, the moral compass of a prophet, the passion of a believer, combined with close attention to biblical testimony, social research and personal story. Mayfield has listened carefully to the stories of people living outside the myth of the American Dream. She once lived among refugees herself. She writes, “I realized I needed help in order to be honest about my place in the world and what God might be asking me to do about my privilege.” What she uncovers needs to be seen and heard, particularly by those whose vision has grown dim and whose hearts have become hardened by a culture of comfort. This is a hard story to tell, yet Mayfield does it with clarity, humility, compassion and a compelling vision for a better way. It’s an important book that if taken seriously will open your eyes and heart and keep them from closing.