Ian DiOrio, the author of the book was a DJ in the underground music scene before he became a Christian. He lived a carefree and nocturnal life in the sea of bodies swaying in the rhythm of loud thumping party music. But he grew tired of the lifestyle and drifted away from the things he loved. Funny, because he ran away from the things most young people are seeking. ‘Fame, money, status and the endless need to be current were what I had hoped to escape’ he wrote.
He felt that the things he sought once were not giving him the happiness he was looking for. In the book he identified these as, ‘The trivial and the mundane cultural products that have the power to detach us from the real life, abandoning us to a routine and numb existence’. He was referring to the entertainment from television, commodification of life or body parts, the distractive effects of the internet, new persona in the social media and worshipping the idols of the contemporary world. The trivial things we love to do daily are gnawing at our person until we crave for more instead of being satisfied.
At the center of all of these is the church. But rather than being the ‘salt and light’, the church is falling into the same lies, and working on the same trivial pursuits hoping to be culturally relevant to the new generation. Some church will do things just to keep the ‘elephant’ stay, hence the performance-oriented nature of worship services.
Instead of pursuing happiness through ‘trivial and mundane’ things, he proposed the pursuit of wholeness. This is the core message of the book and addressed to the churches, a wake-up call. We have to bring back several things in our life and in the church for it to become ‘effective’.
First is ‘bringing the sacred back.’ From the house-churches in the villages to the mega-churches in the cities, he espoused, ‘Churches should be sacred spaces rather than just auditoriums, because it is within them that the rule of heaven is proclaimed over the lives of disciples.’
Second, ‘bringing the scripture back.’ DiOrio lamented that many Christians prefer sliced-up quotations from the bible rather than reading it as a manual of instructions given by God. ‘Unless we believe the bible is still a mediator of God’s continual voice in the world, reading it will fail to be revelatory or relevant to our spiritual quest’ he stressed.
Finally, ‘transforming the trivial’ would address the love people had with the current lifestyle brought about by the idols of the contemporary world. The role of the church to be relevant should not mean giving in to the latest trends, but rather to influence it. ‘The purpose of the church is not to escape culture, but to saturate it with transcendent beauty that can’t be bought or sold or morphed into a holographic image,’ he concluded.
Change should happen not only from the institutional church. It should start from individuals who comprise the church. If we keep ourselves away from the lure of trivial things, then maybe we will have time to focus on the more important things in life, and the afterlife.