Lost in the Cosmos

Many of us were euphoric when a recent issue of Newsweek appeared on magazine racks. Huge golden letters on a sky-blue cover announced a special edition called "The Search for the Sacred: America's Quest for Spiritual Meaning." I bought a copy, eager to read a report on the church in one of the world's major news magazines. But my euphoria soon turned to shock. The article inside was devoted to the bizarre, the heretical, and the neo-pagan fringe. Only a few sentences were devoted to individuals seeking spiritual direction through orthodox institutions. Evangelical Christianity wasn't even mentioned. The first example of a modern-day pilgrim named Rita McLain set the tone. McLain grew up in what Newsweek described as the "fundamentalist world of the Pentecostal Church." As you might have guessed by now, this was not a flattering reference. McLain didn't like "tent meetings and an overwhelming sense of guilt." So she turned to "less doctrinaire Protestantism," but this, too, Newsweek says, "proved unsatisfying." So, after trying a "metaphysical church," Native American spirituality, and Buddhism, McLain now worships before "an ever-changing altar" in her home. On the altar are "an angel statue, a small bottle of `sacred water' blessed at a women's vigil, a crystal ball, a pyramid, a small brass image of Buddha sitting on a brass leaf, a votive candle, a Hebrew prayer, a tiny Native American basket from the 1850s, and a picture of [what she calls her `most sacred place'—] a mandrone tree near her home." What's most astonishing about the Newsweek report is that it doesn't give even a nod to the 60 million Americans who say they're born-again, orthodox, Bible-believing Christians. All told, more than 100 million Americans attend 350,000 churches every week to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God who became flesh in Jesus Christ. But Newsweek made no mention of this. No reporter visited any of them. There was no report of 14 million Southern Baptists singing "Just As I Am," or 65 million Catholics celebrating the Eucharist. What we got instead were reports of mountaintop chants for harmonic convergence. This is typical of the cultural and intellectual elites in America today. They read the polls, so they know Americans are yearning for spiritual meaning. But the elites refuse to recognize the reality of God or the power of the Christian Gospel. To do so would threaten their own faith—in secularism. So instead they publicize a New Age paganism that doesn't have the credibility to challenge secular ideologies of unbelief and relativism. I've written to Newsweek, demanding the magazine apologize for giving the impression that the quirky cult is the norm of American religious experience. Because the sad fact is, Newsweek's "In Search of the Sacred" is the moral equivalent of featuring bulimics in an article about dietary habits. Why don't you write to Newsweek, too? Flooding Newsweek with letters from believers, whose search for the sacred both begins and ends in Jesus Christ, would be a wonderful way to witness to true meaning and to the Truth.


Chuck Colson



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