I stole that title – from the 1996 book on best business practice by Robert Kriegel. Thanks, Robert!
A ‘sacred cow’ is anything we have become accustomed to doing, and keep doing simply because we have become accustomed to doing it. It could be a particular way that we pray or worship (whether new and ‘trendy’, or old and ‘traditional’, or something ‘in between’), a particular translation of the Bible we prefer, or a way we dress when going to church, or a style of church building we like. We first did them because we wanted to express our real faith in Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him, and these ways of doing them seemed most natural and meaningful to us at the time.
These ways of doing things become ‘sacred cows’ when they cease to express our real relationship with Jesus Christ, and we do them just because “we’ve always done them that way”. We make them ‘sacred’ – i.e., praise, hang on to, and protect them, as though they are essential to God’s truth and life in His Kingdom.
But in fact they are ‘cows’ – i.e., just come from amongst creaturely life, and are not essential to God’s truth or Kingdom.
The problem is that, when we cling on to them like that, instead of expressing our relationship with God, more and more they distance us from Him. This is because we give them equal or greater importance than God the Father, and the Bible says we can’t have two gods! (‘masters’) – but will love one and hate the other. The other tragic thing is that our ‘sacred cows’ are completely foreign to those who have not had our experience (especially non-Christians), and can create a barrier to them truly drawing near to hear, receive and respond to the love of God the Father and His children – us, the church.
Time to hang on to the truth of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures with all our might… and fire up the Barby!
Grace and cheers, Jonathan