Book Give Away: Overcoming Apathy
Overcoming Apathy-blog post.
Recently I read a great book called Overcoming Apathy by Uche Anizor. The book brought to light what a key issue apathy is today and treated it so well that I decided we needed to give a copy of this book to our church. We will be giving a copy to each church member household and have extra copies for regular attenders and guests.
Apathy is a lack of care or passion, and it is everywhere! It is in the church and certainly part of the reason many don’t go to church. Learning to identify it, deal with it, and help others overcome it is a critical issue for the church today. We may do a study on this later in the year, but I didn’t want to delay in getting it to you. I hope and pray this book helps reinvigorate our passion for Jesus!
Let me give some insights from the book:
Apathy is connected to the sin of sloth. In Greek the term is acedia and means “indifference, lethargy, exhaustion, and apathy.” It is a close companion of depression. Anizor says,
“Apathy is a sickness of the soul; it is a deformity of heart that needs healing. Apathy as many of us experience it, is a form of bondage.” p64
We live in a culture of apathy. It is embodied in television shows and has become normalized in society. It’s OK to not care! Anizor says of our unique culture,
“What seems unique is that apathy has to some degree become normalized and acceptable, and confessing it can be a mark of authenticity. There’s no shame, no stigma attached to it in some quarters.” p24
Apathy has always been around. The church in Revelation is exhorted to return to its first love and to stop being lukewarm. But apathy has also increased significantly over the last few years, and Anizor notes that grief is a cause of apathy. He points to the COVID-19 pandemic as a source of such trauma and collective grief. We all have experienced loss of safety and unpredictability. People have become numb to the trauma, debate, and unpredictability of life.
Anizor also offers incisive diagnosis of the root cause. While apathy is expressed in disregard for church, Bible reading and other spiritual disciplines, he notes those are not the key cause. The key issue is we have grown cold to Jesus. He says,
“We are fundamentally wrestling with a numbness toward a person, and not just toward Christian ideas or practices.” p145.
This brings up how one is to overcome apathy, and Anizor says it is similar to how we battle other sins. It is to give yourself to the path of obeying God and retraining affections. He says we need a “holy closedmindedness” to things that are important and that we “will not budge on” (150). He also says we need a “refusal to remove” ourselves from the presence of God and the things he cherishes (145). Anizor says,
The less time I spend with my wife, the less connected I am with her–the things she’s concerned or excited about. We’ve often heard of couples “growing apart” or “falling out of love” with each other. This is often a result of basic relationship neglect. I think this is all the more the case when the other person is God.”
He is right. If we are going to overcome the apathetic malaise that plagues us today it will require growing closer to God and not further away. It will be through faith and repentance.
I hope these nuggets entice you to read this book, and even more I hope you will give thought to how God might use it to bring life back to you and help you rekindle your love for God. Please pray that where there is a spirit of apathy in God’s people it would be replaced by a Spirit of passion.