About Overcoming Apathy
A Conversation with Uche Anizor
Every Voice: What led you to write this book?
Uche Anizor: I’ve been hoping to write this book for a long time as a way to get my mind around my own, as well as fellow Christians’ apathy. In my twenties, I was always deeply troubled by my lack of fervor for certain aspects of my Christian life. I labelled that as apathy and said, “One day I’m going to try and understand this lack of passion.”
EV: What is the thesis of your book?
UA: The book has a number of mini-theses (as a Christian living book). However, one of the points I make is that spiritually apathetic people are not apathetic about all things, but rather the things that most define their Christian lives. This is what I call the paradox of apathy: we care too much about things we don’t really care about, and too little about things that, in our heart of hearts, are most dear to us. The book tries to help us get our minds around that problem.
EV: What was the most challenging part of the book to write?
UA: The last chapter, where I deal with ways to combat apathy, was the most challenging. It would have been great to be able to come up with some simple strategy to overcome apathy. But it became clear to me as I wrote that there is no silver bullet. I wanted to find some key, as I imagine those who have read the book would have welcomed. Yet, defeating apathy is about becoming a certain kind of person for whom apathy is less of a possibility. It was a challenge to think of various strategies without overwhelming the reader or saying the same things in the same ways readers have heard it before.
EV: Overall, what would you hope the biggest takeaway from Overcoming Apathy is?
UA: My hope is that people would grasp that apathy is not their fate. God is for them and with them even in their apathy. He has given us his Son and Spirit to empower us to move beyond apathy. However, there are no short cuts: we must embrace the gospel as the ultimate cure and cultivate a life that makes it difficult for apathy to get a foothold. We combat apathy by centering on Christ and cultivating certain virtues and heart postures.
EV: What kind of seminary/church classes should assign your book?
UA: Although the book isn’t necessarily geared toward undergraduate students or “young people,” I think the most appropriate setting would be a class on spiritual formation, or a theology class that deals with the experiential dimension of the Christian life. It would also be suitable for church small groups, as I’ve included discussion/reflection questions after each chapter.
About the Author
Uche Anizor (PhD, Wheaton College) is Associate Professor of Theology at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University.