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Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance became our New Religion and what to do about it – David Zahl

Fortress Press | 211 pages | ISBN 978 1 5064 4943 2 £15.99 but prices seems to vary


David Zahl's angle is that our deep-seated “religious impulses” will always find an expression, even if that expression is in a secularized form; what he calls seculosity. 

Zahl uses the word seculosity as a “… catchall for religiosity that’s directed horizontally rather than vertically, at earthly rather than human objects.” 

The author suggests that: “The religious impulse is easier to rebrand than to extinguish”. The book explores how this rebranding takes places through a desire for self-justification that can be channelled into everything we do. 

Things like busyness can become our “controlling story,” determining and shaping how we use our energy and organize our lives. Zahl suggests that with busyness the demand to always be “on” can drive us to the edge of unsustainable anxiety. 

This anxiety can take the form of needing to look good enough, earn enough, have enough likes, followers or friends on social media; “Our religion is that which we rely on not just for meaning or hope but for enoughness.”   

This book is written in a US context and probably works best there, yet there are enough universal themes here to speak to every culture and every human heart, who has not found what they are looking for.

If you feel that you need to do something in order for your life to be validated, this might be a book worth reading. Take a breath, stop looking for validity in all the wrong places, pause and reflect on a different pace of life, a fresh perspective; learn to march to a different drum beat.

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex

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