Posts Tagged ‘Idolatry’

Alex Rodriguez, Sports, and the limits of Idols

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

One author famously noted our biggest challenge is not atheism but idolatry.  We all believe then in a god of some sort, be that human reason, militarism, or even athletics.  We pick.  At times we pick well, at times we fail.

Sports is one arena in which it appears we are constantly caught up short as our idols crash … be that Lance Armstrong, Aaron Hernandez, or now, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees who is facing what could amount to a lifetime ban from baseball due to the continued use of performance enhancing drugs.

David Brooks in a recent editorial wrote movingly of the perils of the self-preoccupation rife in our culture, a self-preoccupation fed in two equally destructive ways … by a culture forever searching for idols and by individuals forever searching to be idolized.  Those two together create a potent “soup” that is hard to arrest, hard to stop, hard to limit because for a brief maybe we all get what we want.  But it cannot last….

Self-preoccupied people have trouble seeing that their natural abilities come from outside themselves and can only be developed when directed toward something else outside themselves. Enclosed in self, they come to believe that their talents come from self, are the self. They have no outside criteria that tell them what their talents are for or when they are sufficient. Locked in a cycle of insecurity and attempted self-validation, their talents are never enough, and they end up devouring what they have been given.   (David Brooks)

The way forward is to chose well.  To makes choices pushing away from idolatry.   To make choices leaning toward humility, gratitude, and transformative relationship.  From there we find ourselves but that new found self is of a different, more settled quality. “A person who is given a heavenly self-hood enjoys serenity and peace, for he trusts in the Lord and believes that no evil at all can come to touch him.”  (Heavenly Secrets, 5660)


Almost anything can become a god

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Almost anything can become a god.   That is why the first commandment in the Old Testament stated clearly – “You shall have no other gods before My face.”  Our faith clearly centers itself in that same warning.  “…any person or thing that is loved above all things, becomes a god, and is divine.”  (True Christianity)

It is hard to keep perspective around this simple concept.  God does not demand 24/7 attention.   God is not “needy.” He is not a struggling co-dependant searching for constant attention.  God is giving and in that giving, actually a rather quiet presence.

So how do we keep the find the right degree of attentiveness?

First, be aware of obsession and compulsion (including religious!).   Freedom fails to grow where obsession and compulsion take deep, binding root.  Obsession and compulsion – the not to do list.

Second be aware of the need for quiet.  As I grow older, the more I feel pulled to the concept that God’s voice most often shows as luminescent silence.  It is not the silence of “Hello is anyone out there?”  It is the silence of our souls, deeply anchored in God, but now free from the trappings and clutching and control born of our ego.