Monday, February 18, 2013

Little-g gods and the big-g God

Our gods (little g) are not little cows made of gold, but they are just as strange… sometimes they can fit in the palm of our hand and have touch screens, sometimes they are rectangular and green, sometimes they can be the very things that are supposed to be good for us in religion and family.   Elizabeth Scalia authors a regularly updated blog at and has written this book Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life.  The front cover will catch your attention immediately as a church’s stained glass window is created by very recognizable app icons … point is, you may indeed identify what could be your strange god before even cracking the book open.   She writes “Idols are not like opinions or even convictions.  They don’t ask for consensus or even strong advocacy – they demand worshipers.”  This book is not written in a preach-in- your-face style, as Scalia realizes we all struggle with gods that end up taking the place of the one true God and writes from a place of personal experience.   She covers just a few of the gods we’ve made … Idols of I, the Idea, Prosperity, Technology, Coolness and Sex, Plans, Super Idols and more.   Recognizing her own frailty in this area, she admits the chapter on the idol of technology was inspired by her own awareness that she had put the “very strange god of Internet infotainment before God Almighty – and too often before my God-given family or commitments” succumbing to the distracting and destructive power of seeing her own ideas looking right back at her. Scalia’s purpose in this work is that we are able to identify our idols for what they are, and begin to remove them “from the high places we have allowed them to be enshrined – before our eyes, in our hearts, between each other, and between God and us.”  We need to understand that the roots of all sin, including idolatry are “seeded within the mind”.  If Scalia is successful with this easily read, but not necessarily easy to read book, then the reader will be left with the challenge to identify their own strange gods and launching a mission to destroy them and instead exalt God (big G).