I’ve been working my way through a book, that for me, is the best book I’ve read in 2017. It’s entitled, This is Our Time, by Trevin Wax. It’s all about helping us spot the longing and the lie in every story society tells. In one particular chapter, Wax camps in the arena of politics.
It’s a quote from Peggy Noonan that grabbed hold of my attention. “For more and more Americans, politics has become a religion. People find their meaning in it…When politics becomes a religion, then simple disagreements become apostasies, heresies. And you know what we do with heretics.”
Exhibit ‘A’ in politics as religion can be seen in the disparaging remarks made of those who disagree; those who occupy opposite sides of the aisle. It gets downright nasty. Politicians love to burn the "heretics." But Noonan’s observation isn’t just apropos of politics, but of anything.
Whatever I derive my meaning in life from, will be my functional ‘god’; my true religion. That might even be a worthy cause. And in fact, in most cases, functional gods begin as worthy causes.
I remember, several years ago, an individual approached me about wanting to start a ministry in the church where I was a pastor. It was a good ministry idea. However, 99% of people don’t understand the complexity of running a church, particularly a large one, and how even one “simple, user-friendly, ministry” can actually compound our challenges, divert resources, and make ministry even more difficult than it already is. Our leadership team said ‘no’. War was declared. Tongues as sharp as swords were unsheathed and unleashed in a series of parries and thrusts.
A worthy cause had graduated into a functional god; a true religion.
Consider what happens to people who crown their causes as ‘kings.' They become nasty when someone crosses them or doesn’t take it as seriously as they do. Crowning our causes as ‘kings’ turns us into animals.
God didn’t wire us to find vitality this way. The only way to remain fully human is to crown Jesus king. Jesus must be your cause!