The Last Self-Help Book (Identity 06)

On Sunday we showed a word cloud containing lots of negative, painful words.

Each word came from a title of a book, a chapter title in a book, a title of an article, or a main theme in an article. Here is the word cloud. Look the words over.

This is why philosopher-novelist Walker Percy calls his book, Lost in the Cosmos, the last self-help book.

With God removed from our culture, from our belief systems, from our ways of life, we are lost in the cosmos. An acquaintance of Carl Sagan (the secular-atheist-cosmologist who wrote the book Cosmos) says Carl was a lonely person He had very few friends. The acquaintance believed one of the reasons Carl was so desperate to find extra-terrestrial life is that he wanted someone to talk to. He didn’t have God. He didn’t have many friendships. So, he put all his hope in SETI: The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

Percy says God is now distant – at best. More likely, God is now disappeared, ejected, rejected, eliminated. Now the self is alone and adrift in an impersonal universe. And the word cloud above is how the self of the 21st century, post-modern, post-Christian world is described.

And not just by Christians! All kinds of observers use language like this to describe what it means to be a self, a person, today.

That is why (in my reading of it) Percy says his book is the last self-help book. His book has described a self that is way beyond help. It is way beyond self-help. Such a self as described above cannot help itself. And neither can it be helped by other selves who are in the exact same condition.

The self needs more than help. The self needs healing. The self needs to be repaired. The self needs to be, in the rich, deep, but much misunderstood language of Christianity, saved. It needs to be saved from itself. It needs to be saved from the toxic, life-depleting world. And the Christian message is that God is not eliminated. In the words of another old book, He is There and He is Not Silent.

Living Word is here to help you rediscover and deeply connect in personal relationship with the God of the Cosmos, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Loving and Gracious God, whom we encounter in the one called Jesus.

Self-help does not work, but GOD-HELP does! It is called salvation… repair… renewal… healing… and so much more.

Living Word is here to help you find the God Who Helps, the God Who Saves.

Pastor Brian


Brian Rice