Religion always has and always will be a hot topic in our culture. Many want nothing to do with it because of cultural stigmas and negative associations with Christianity and religious practices. Yet, religion may be more difficult to escape for all of us than we know. In Seculosity, David Zahl shows how religion, that which we rely on for “enoughness,” and performancism, has infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives. We look to all of these things (parenting, technology, work, politics, etc.) for a sense of “enoughness,” righteousness, and validation that they were never meant to give.
In one sense, this book is a call to open our eyes to our underlying motives and thoughts. Comparison and greed for acceptance fuel a lot of what we do, especially in the realm of parenting. Being a dad myself, this chapter stung with conviction, revealing what often drives my decision making (which is many times not the well-being of my children). It is also a call to grace, and learning to allow the gospel (not our desperate striving to keep up, be good enough, gain control, or impress) be what infiltrates these areas of life. Zahl says of parenting:
Whatever we may say we believe, the act of bringing a child into the world is fundamentally an act of faith, not control, and leaps of faith are scary. They often feel more like pushes. Yet however we get there, it’s no coincidence that the freedom from control a newborn necessitates also ushers in love and joy.David Zahl, Page 57
Zahl ends with how these mindsets affect the church as well. Even here we love to measure, compare, and compete. But this is not the fruit of the gospel or of grace. Our fear of being “not enough” really does affect all of life, and makes us think and do crazy things. Can you relate to this? I know we all can in some way or another!
I will be hanging on to this book for a long time! This is a top recommended read for me. It is full of both truth and grace, and ultimately Christ-centered in its conclusions. Zahl’s wit mixed with humility and humor really add a lot to this book. Stories are shared that further make the principles and applications personal. It is a tough read because it stirs up how we often relate to and view these everyday activities and responsibilities. But it is for the better, and shows how the gospel really can and does change everything.
Grab a copy today!
*This book was graciously provided by Broadleaf Books in exchange for an honest review.
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