Thursday, January 28, 2010

working my way back


I've been off the grid for a few months and haven't been posting. Here's to beginning the end of the first month of the new year with a renewed commitment to putting out there what has been on my mind.

I am currently working with the idea of Idolatry. Jarrett Stevens' "The Deity Formerly Known as God" and Timothy Keller's "Counterfeit God's" have been illuminating and helpful on the journey. I am especially captured by the modern incarnation of all of the ancient deities. Consider the biggest gods of the American culture: Money, Sex, Power, Self (one could add a variety of others including: Success, etc.). In the old days there were statues and temples for these powerful motivators . . . today we make just as many sacrifices, perform just as many rituals, and entrust our lives to these same false gods. We just don't call them deities.

It is common among certain Christian circles to speak of priorities and having our priorities straight in our lives. This conversation usually involves linear lists of items. The conversation usually goes like this: "put God first, then your family, then your work . . . and so on". (I'm old enough to remember JOY (J-Jesus O-Others Y-yourself). The problem with this presentation is that it is not biblical.

A better image would be from astronomy. The largest gravity well determines the orbits of everything else. In a human life that gravity well is our god (notice not should be, not becomes, but simply is). Whatever is at the center controls the relationship of everything else. If I have a right relationship with God at the center (or at least becoming right from my side -- already made right by God) then my family, work, play, etc. align themselves properly and appropriately. If I have anything other than the Creator at the center of my life I have chaos and the other aspects of the constellation of my life are banging into each other and out of alignment.

That alignment is why the conversation about idolatry is still relevant and vital. If money, sex (youth, beauty, whatever), power or my own self is the deepest gravity well . . .