As a child, I did not attend church regularly. Spending weeks during the summer months with various relatives was where I first learned about God and religion, during Sunday services and even one stint in Vacation Bible School. I also attended a Catholic grade school, and these are the experiences that formed the basis of my spiritual belief system.
In my adult life, I’ve just not felt compelled to attend church: honestly, I’m concerned about getting pulled into unnecessary personal drama with other churchgoers, which is something I don’t need. Another concern I have is that I see far too many people treating their pastors as gods. Aren’t we supposed to be there for capital G God?
From my religious training, a few Bible verses have remained with me. A big one is Exodus 20:3 (and yes, I had to look up the exact verse LOL):
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
This verse is about as straightforward as it can be, yet, it is as ignored as it is known, even by self-avowed Christians. Most of the aforementioned pastors are perfectly happy being worshipped, as are all too many celebrities by their fans and stans.
I bring all of this up because of two recent events:
1. A popular rapper, who in the past has referred to himself by a nickname that rhymes with Jesus, has recently started a traveling church of sorts. Thousands of people have attended these services, all of which is astounding to me. But what truly floored me was that an older friend who considers herself *very* much a Christian is onboard with the whole idea. She feels quite strongly that God is using this rapper to expose more people to the church, religion, and spirituality. I couldn’t disagree more, but then again, I know far more about pop culture than she does and she hasn’t been privy to his antics: the disrespect of women, regular use of the N word… I could go on but I’ll stop right there. It was the reverence in her eyes when she spoke of the situation that most disturbed me, and still does.
2. Just a few weeks ago, an NBA star died in a tragic accident. The level of hysteria, for lack of a better word, surrounding his passing has truly blown my mind. He was a man, a person, not a god, not a deity. I don’t think it tarnishes his legacy to admit that he was a human being.
This post has rambled on for far longer than I intended, and it’s probably judgey and possibly preachy too. But, I just wanted to place something on this space, on my little corner of the Internet, that addressed idolatry: the worship of idols and cult images, in other words, false gods.
Because I’ve had difficult life experiences, I know that I only survived them because of a higher power than me. I wholeheartedly believe in God, even if I don’t go to church or discuss my faith much with others.
So, seeing people worship at the altars of these human “gods” truly bothers my spirit. As the song says, “my God is an awesome God.”
His copycats and pretenders? Not so much.