Modern Idolatry- Part II

Posted on October 18, 2011


In Modern Idolatry-Part I, I said that sometimes idolatry is worshiping something other than God, but it is more often confusing our role with God’s. This idea needs to be further examined, because there are some instances when our role overlaps with God’s role. This is because God has invited us to participate in the divine plan.

The debate over where our responsibility ends is one of the reasons that there is so many different Christian denominations. People do not always agree on what is God’s responsibility and what God has turned over to us. There is also disagreement about whether God has turned over a particular task entirely to humans or if we are only joining in the divine project.

However, on this issue I believe that there is no realm of human action that is not a participation in the divine project. God has perhaps empowered us, but has not abandoned us. We are invited to join with God, never take over for God.

I believe that a clear examination of our role and God’s role will reveal something about what it means to be fully human as well as something about the character of God.

There is a difference between our role and God’s role. When we pull ourselves too far and tread upon God’s toes, we have made ourselves an idol. If we mistakenly over-reach our role, we eliminate God from our life, because we place the responsibility for the world on ourselves (making ourselves God). Just because God invites us to partcipate in somethings, does not mean that we may participate in all things. We should not strive to wrest from God a role which is not ours to bear.

But neither should we fail to step forward when we are called to lend a hand in the redemption of the world. If we mistakenly downplay our role in the world, we deny our full humanity (we cannot be fully human unless we connect with the divine source) by refusing the invitation God offers us to help change the world. In this we make ourselves less that who we are called to be, no more responsible than a dog.

When we deny our calling, we become only nominally better than the atheist. In some cases, worse, for while any benevolent action of an atheist blooms out of meaninglessness, the apathy of a lazy Christian arises out the functionally meaningless intellectual affirmation that, “Jesus is Lord.” And if we confess this, but fail to manifest it in our lives, we would do better to simply keep our mouths shut.

For my money, I believe Christians are invited to be creative, loving, generous, and take risks. I believe God wants to play with us. I believe we are called to laugh easily and give people the benefit of the doubt. I believe we are suppose to side with the underdog. I believe we are supposed to spend our money on feeding the hungry and buying fine art.

If anyone is going to be judging, damning, saving, renewing, convicting, or killing, he or she better have an eternal perspective, ultimate power, and infinite wisdom. That is not me. I can barely make it through a week sometimes.

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