I’ve been reading and pondering a really fantastic new book by Peter Rollins called The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction. It’s an excellent book, and it’s really challenging me to think (in a good way) about a lot of things.
One of those things is taking a hard look at what an idol really is, how we worship idols, and which idols show up in my own life. I’m discovering that idols don’t always look like I expect them to and that I am not always consciously aware of what I worship.
My ponderings about these topics has brought me back to the quote below from David Foster Wallace in This is Water.
“In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never feel you have enough. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, you will end up feeling like a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.”
It’s so easy to think that we don’t worship anything or to fool ourselves about what we really do worship. But if we play close enough attention, the signs are always there showing us what we are worshiping in our actions, our values, our priorities, and the effect that our objects of worship have on us.
When we’re willing to stop and really observe closely, what we find may not be what we expect. But until we are aware of what we are worshiping, we cannot choose anything better either.
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