In this interview, Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson discusses the symptoms and antidotes for secularism and pragmatism.

Richard C. Halverson is the current chaplain of the United States Senate. Born in North Dakota in 1916, he has been pastor of churches for over 40 years, including most recently 22 years at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Washington, D.C. Halverson serves as chairman of the board for World Vision, Incorporated, and is a prolific author as well as frequent participant in Christian leadership conferences throughout the world. Barbara Thompson conducted the following interview for CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

The current age is frequently disparaged as “the me generation.” Do you think this is a fair assessment of contemporary society?

Yes and no. There is of course a strong hedonistic strain in our culture, which I would identify as the selfish pursuit of pleasure. But the new generation, which didn’t grow up during the depression, reject the straightforward materialism of their parents. Instead, they pursue self-fulfillment, often through public service or the giving of themselves for others. The old narcissism was selfish and carnal; the new springs from a higher motivation. But to my mind, it is still based on the same self-seeking principle.

Do you think the church today is a healthy exception to the “self-seekers” that surround it?

I wish I could believe that. Instead, I think the so-called worldliness of even conservative evangelicals is far more subtle than it was 25 or 50 years ago. We are badly infected with secularism, with the materialism that says, “Live for the now.” Generally speaking, the people of God today are living to get as much as they can out of life this side of the grave. The eternal reference ...

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