Last night at the Artisan we talked about our culture’s idols. I’d like to revisit that discussion and carry it forward in another direction. To catch up, at the Artisan we talked about how idolatry doesn’t always look like golden calves and burning things on altars, and if we limit our search to those “idols” we will miss all the ways our culture and our own selves worship things other than God every day. An idol is anything that displaces God as the center of worship. Idolatry is asking created things to give us that which is only to be found in the Creator. It is bowing down and turning over the practical, everyday rule of our lives to lesser things than Christ.
I once heard a story about a pastor who went to India and had a conversation with the wife of a pastor planting a church there. He asked her if she would ever consider coming to America and visiting it. Her response was that she did visit once and never will again because she could not stomach the idolatry she saw there. Mind you, as they were having this conversation they were in a place where there were idols lining the streets, with blood and chicken feathers everywhere, and it was in that environment that she said that she would not return to America because she could not stomach the idolatry she saw there.
Idolatry is something we see elsewhere, but when we look around at ourselves we just think of it as entertainment, as climbing the ladder of success, as providing our security, as sport and hobby, as luxury and comfort, as efficiency. We do not see it as idolatry, but sometimes it is.
The idols of our culture might reveal themselves in what we sacrifice for. Or perhaps in what we spend our resources for. What is upheld as a valuable life in our culture? What is seen as a wasted life? What is our culture most proud of? What is heaven according to the culture? What would be hell?
Christians are called to worship the true God only and always, and as they fulfill that calling at times they will stand out from the surrounding culture that does not share that value, but worships and serves other gods. This “standing out” has always been a part of God’s plan for his people, that they might be a light to the surrounding world, that they might live after the truth and be a demonstration of that truth to all who see.
My question is this: how are we to follow that calling in our culture today? How do we live counter-culturally and display what the worship of the true God looks like in this generation? Think about how you have answered that question in your life and then if you have something to add to the discussion, post a reply on this thread.