Saturday, May 28, 2011

If It Were Just Idolatry

It might be easier. But love is something far more than idolatry, right? At least that’s what I’ve always believed. Oh I know that focused passion and lust can be falsely incarnated as love, when actually those elements only and always produce idolatry when birthed in the void and pain found in most hearts. But the risk is usually worth taking.

Whenever I’ve read or heard the word idolatry, the first thing that comes to mind is a statue or totem pole or shrines with candles and incense and bowls of fruit. And when I take pause to think about it, then those images change to our great American habit of conspicuous consumption, credit cards and big mortgages and red carpet leases. Or how about our favorite TV show, American Idol. I mean really, who wouldn’t want to be a rich pop star?

Or what about the idolatry that happens every Sunday? You know; the big Christian shows that happen all around the country? The worship leaders that everybody wants to hear and the silver tonged orator preachers that we crave to make us feel better about our overextended idolatrous lives. Sorry, I digress.

But what if love in the hands of the ill prepared evolved into idolatry? I realize that no one in their right “Christian” mind would ever make the objects of their love, i.e. spouses, children, parents, family, etc. anything to eclipse God and that most paramount relationship, but guess what? I think we do.

I know I have. I mean we say, that God is first among many loves, and we can quote Jesus when He says our devotion to God should appear as almost hate toward others if our love for Him is real, but most of us usually don’t ever go that far. Am I wrong?

But what I’m thinking these days about my own personal growth and maturity and how they fit into the Eschaton kind of makes me unsettled. The reason I say that is, in these last days as we are sifted in many ways, one of those ways for certain will be the sifting of our love and devotion for the Master. And that sifting will be of greater value than any other we’ve ever experienced, yet it will be of great turmoil and pain.

For in the End, we can only love One. Oh we have become religious pimps and we’ve learned to share our bodies, our very lives with many lovers, to the sole exclusion of One and One alone. For in this world, one must be adept at looking “spiritual” all the while we’re being practicing idolaters.

Don’t cancel your subscription yet. I’m almost done.

If It Were Just Idolatry, we might be able to cut it off at the knees and end it. If it was as obvious as someone like Rob Halford or Scotty McCreery we could just disconnect our cable or satellite provider, but I think it’s more than that. I believe the privilege of love can be so twisted and corrupted that often we think we’re doing love, but we’re really engaging in a form of idolatry.

Oh I know you may be calling foul right now, but let me tell you, if and when you depend upon another in the name of love, and that thing shifts in a direction you’re not expecting, it just might be time for a idolatry wake up call. Because far too many of us are focused on the things and people of this earth, in the name of responsibility and love, but often in all actuality – we are simply idolaters. Sorry.

If It Were Just Idolatry we’d say NO, and amen! But too often the idolatry that we’re engaged in, is wrapped nicely in a soft blanket of Eros and not Agape. It’s wrapped in something far less pure than God had intended. Especially by those who call themselves “Christian” and who openly reject idolatry, and in word and even often in deed accept “love” as the only way.

Yet what happens when “love” fails? Don’t quote 1 Corinthians 13 right now and tell me love never fails, because God’s love – the love of God – does not fail, but anything that sources out of human lack or need and calls itself “love” will eventually fail. And our idolatry is revealed.

So, If It Were Just Idolatry, and we stated it right up front, we could deal with it and reject it, but far too often we like to call it love. May the God of all love and mercy, show Himself one final time on our behalf and teach us and infuse us with HIS LOVE ALONE.


No comments:

Post a Comment