Three anons (edited for length):
– My friends always say that everything we do should glorify the Lord. Because of that, we don’t go to the movies or read different books. If they see me watching Hunger Games or something, they tell me it’s all the Devil’s work. I feel ashamed because they say they are closer to God. What do I do? It’s hard to stay away from sin…
– Should all hobbies and interests SOLELY be for the Kingdom, or is it fine to sit down and write a horror story …? Even if you felt it was fun and maybe even cathartic to do so? I mean to say if we only wrote Theology 24/7/365/a lifetime, that Sherlock Holmes and Guy Montag might never have existed in our imaginations and that would be selling God-given gifts short. Is this right to think this?
– Hello! My mother tends to collect Asian statues from a junk store for me, my favorite things being Foo Dogs and the Mankei Nekos. However when some of the more strict Christians come to my apartment I can see them side-eyeing the animals and the smiling Budai as though they’re sources of evil. Is there any particular reason for this? My mother raised me to believe you can appreciate another culture’s lore and art without falling into the idolatry but the side-eye makes me a little nervous.
Well dang. Please allow me the grace to write an open letter for the people who want to “glorify God” in dang near everything.
Dear serious brothers and sisters:
I know that some of you are very, very serious about your faith. It kills you when an unbaptized heathen slips a bad word, you cringe at those “worldly” TV commercials, you scoff at pool halls and karaoke bars, and you think that old hymns and unleavened bread will save the American church.
I understand. You are sincere. It’s great that you take this seriously — but if you’re squeezing undue pressure on rules about rules over other people’s external behavior, you will inadvertently turn a relationship with God into a moral-boundary-pushing competition. This is just straight unhealthy.
You’ll forget the original reason why you had these rules, and perhaps ironically, your good intention of glorifying God will turn into idolizing these moral fences, and you’ll be so far removed from Jesus that you’ll make fundamentalists look like easygoing liberals.
I really do sympathize with all this: because maybe you had a friend who started off enjoying a slice of cheesecake after each meal and then he went up to black tar heroin. You had another friend who listened to an Eminem album and now he’s racing cops and punching babies. You knew a church that started singing contemporary praise and now they’re playing Highway To Hell on Sundays.
I’m poking a little fun, but I get it. You’re afraid of the slippery slope into idolatry. You’re worried for your children and your church and this world. I bet that this is very real concern, and I do love you for that.
But can I just make a simple gracious suggestion?
Continue reading “Question: Does Everything Have To Glorify God? — A Mega-Post On When Idolatry Is Not Idolatry”