Archives For idols

God, Me, and UFC

Erik Cooper —  September 29, 2010 — 5 Comments

God and I seem to like wrestling. A lot lately. More than normal.

Sometimes we engage in a light tussle, like my 5 year old son and I on the family room floor.  More playful than forceful.  But other times it’s like a UFC smackdown.Seriously God, was that neck-crank submission hold really all that necessary?  You are the supernatural Creator of the universe and all.

Here’s a taste of our latest match-up:

“They honored and worshiped God, but not exclusively…They honored and worshiped God, but they also kept up their devotions to the old gods of the places they had come from.” (2 Kings 17:32, 33 MSG)

Idolatry seems like a funny word in 21st Century America. I don’t have little golden “Oscar” statues I sing songs to (one fast and two slow) between 11 and 11:23 every Sunday morning.  But I do have idols.

Safety

Comfort

Money

Reputation

Power

Self-Reliance

Just naming a few that (sometimes not so) subtly worm their way onto the throne of my life.

And if I’m honest with myself (and if some of you need to join me on the truth wagon), all I’ve ever known is a safe, suburban, American Christianity that calls you to “know God,” but still lets you keep your idols.

Not the super ugly, culturally offensive ones, of course.  Just the ones that are socially acceptable. The God and idols.

“They honored and worshiped God, but not exclusively…” (2 Kings 17:32 MSG)

That, my friends, is the ultimate G.O.D. – U.F.C takedown.  Not a TKO.  Not a scorecard decision. Out cold. Call the ambulance.  I need a medic.

Or perhaps just an exclusive with this Savior named Jesus.

The Problem with the Church

Erik Cooper —  September 8, 2010 — 1 Comment

The problem with the church isn’t poor leadership.

It’s not large, debt drowned buildings.

Or runaway wall-street-like organizational models.

The problem isn’t ignorance of injustice.

Old-fashioned stodgy tradition.

Conflicting expressions of “worship.”

Or a lack of authentic community.

The problem isn’t passionless pastors.

Anemic teaching.

The wrong model of discipleship.

Misaligned partnerships.

Or climbing in bed with politics.

It’s not myopic strategy.

Apathetic fat-cat church boards.

Lack of creativity.

Or cultural irrelevance.

All these things may describe churches with problems. But not one of them is The Problem with the church.

That’s because the unequivocal, undeniable, unmistakable problem with the church is…

No, not me the guy writing this post (although I surely play my part). Me the concept. Me the pursuit. Me the idol.

There is an insatiable human desire to recreate a gospel that serves this Me. To build a Me-kingdom (perhaps on a mass of underpriced swampland in Central Florida). Formulating, casting, and then bowing down to a god that serves my projection of the way the world should be. A god that will go along on my ride. To my chosen destination.

This Me-god is made in my image. Made for my purpose.

That, my friends, is the problem with the church.

It’s full of Me.

Everything else is just a symptom.

But it’s easier to blame the system. The organization.  The money.  The style.  The committees.  It’s safer that way.  To point at a lifeless structure.  At them.  Because Me doesn’t like to deal with Me. It’s more cost-effective to blame everything else.

The cure to this illness doesn’t lie in the newest trends. The latest books. Or a throwback to good ol’ George Bush strategery. It’s more radical than that.

Me has to surrender.  To come out from hiding.  To give it up.  Me has to embrace it’s cross.  Me has to die (no, not literally for  you Jim Jones fanatics out there). Then Christ can truly live.

So the problem with the Church isn’t really a problem with the Church.  It’s a problem with Me.

Thankfully, a problem Jesus came to solve. If Me will just let Him.

Pendulum Swing

Erik Cooper —  February 3, 2010 — 5 Comments

Over time, I began to resent some of what I felt were cheap and shallow explanations of the Gospel. Burying the unexplainable realities of life in cheap, spiritual catch-phrases (that usually rhymed). Defining an encounter with God solely as an event-driven, emotional experience. I became a bit disillusioned.

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Gods of Nostalgia

Erik Cooper —  March 9, 2009 — Leave a comment

“They honored and worshipped God, but not exclusively…They honored and worshipped God, but they also kept up their devotions to the old gods of the places they had come from.  And they’re still doing it, still worshipping any old god that has nostalgic appeal to them.”  (2 Kings 17:32-34 MSG)

If you’ve ever read through the Old Testament in the Bible, you probably find it funny (as I do) that people would actually make little figurines out of materials they found laying around and then worship them as a “god.”  Seems strange to our modern, western perspective.  That is, until I realize I do the exact same thing.

I can’t help but wonder, what “gods of nostalgia” am I still worshipping?  What perspectives are being driven more by memory of the past or cultural strongholds and filters?  What do I allow to drive me that isn’t God?  A relationship?  Job security?  My 401(k)?  The “American Dream?”  Religious or denominational baggage?  It’s a worthwhile question to ask yourself.