In this episode of the Ministry Minded Podcast, I was privileged to sit down with the author of Seculosity and the director of Mockingbird himself, David Zahl. We discuss Dave’s book, Seculosity and its resonant influence along with the impact the book tour has had on Dave personally. Having just finished his book recently, I was more than thrilled to talk to Dave about Seculosity and some of the insights he provides throughout its pages. If you’re unfamiliar, “seculosity” is a word of Dave’s own conjuring, combing “secular” and “religiosity,” in order to speak to the reality of everyday religion.
“Our religious crisis today is not that religion is on the wane,” Dave asserts, “but that we are more religious than ever, and about too many things. We are almost never not in church.”1 Opposite to the common thinking the current generation of teens and young adults are becoming less religious is the notion that, while it might be true that they’re leaving church buildings and institutions behind, millennials are more religious than ever. They’re merely getting their religious, spiritual kick somewhere other than church. They’re ascribing to a wide array of seculosities, each with their own liturgy and creed.
But what Dave endeavors to pinpoint throughout Seculosity is that while these other undertakings are good and worthwhile in their own right and way, they will always come up short when compared to the gospel, because only the gospel announces that your struggle for self-worth, self-salvation, and self-justification is over. It was over before it even began because of Christ’s finished work. “Our attempts to engineer our own salvation backfire, and do so dramatically,” Dave continues. “The only life raft capable of reaching a world drowning in seculosity will not be inflated with anything we do or don’t do, but what God himself has done and is doing.”2 Which is to say: only the gospel has grace.
This was a great conversation. I am always blessed by Dave’s insights and I pray you will likewise find this to be a beneficial.
“If Jesus Were a Dietitian,” David Zahl
“The Mockingcast,” with David Zahl, Sarah Condon, & RJ Heijmen
Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints), William McDavid, Ethan Richardson, & David Zahl
The Gospel According to Pixar, David Zahl
The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day), Ethan Richardson and Sean Norris
This episode is brought to you by the Christian Standard Bible. Find out more by going to CSBible.com.
David is a speaker, writer, and pastor in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and three boys. There, he serves the congregation of Christ Church as its college and young adult minister. In addition to that, he’s the founder, curator, and director of Mockingbird Ministries, a site devoted to connecting the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in down-to-earth ways. Since its inception in 2007, Mockingbird has become an incredible resource for Christian readers of all stripes of faith to enhance their knowledge of the gospel and discern between law and grace. David regularly writes at Mockingbird, as well as hosts conferences, podcasts, and publishes books. You can follow this ministry by connecting with them on Twitter, @mockingbirdmin.
David Zahl, Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do About It (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2019), 185.