Christian Idols

Focus on mainly one aspect of Christianity: Unbalanced Scriptural Interpretation, A Hierarchy that comes between God and humanity, Over emphasis on either this life or the next, ALL lead to idol worship.

Fundamentalist Christians have to struggle not to make an idol of scripture. Jesus is the Word of God. Scripture is vitally important, because scripture introduces us to Jesus. Jesus speaks to where individuals are and calls each to growth now, just as He did the people in the scriptures. He wasn’t adding more rules. The Jews had plenty of them. Our call is to an ongoing, deepening relationship with a living Savior who continues to show us the way of love that changes us. Though scriptures may be like letters from God about Jesus, they are not God, and He is not limited to them. And Jesus himself, was sent to awaken us to God’s Spirit within us and all around us.

Catholics have to struggle to not make an idol of the hierarchy of the church. Again, Jesus is the Word of God to each of us. The spirit of God grows in us through a personal relationship with Jesus. The church can be a rich place of nurture with its tradition of spirituality, but ultimately we are personally accountable for growing in our relationship to God through Jesus, the Way of love. The Church may be our mother, but it is not God, and God is not limited to it.

Liberal Protestants tend to idolize ideals for our physical world and this life. Which once again, are good things, and part of our call to stewardship and love, but are not God or our ultimate reason for being, because physical life is not all there is, either now or forever. That’s what the resurrection was about. Humbling though it may be, it is not just about our intellectual ideals for this life. It’s about recognizing our incompleteness and accepting the call to a growing relationship with God through the human expression of both His love and the spirituality that He is calling us to, Jesus.

The Scriptures and the commandments; the church and its traditions of spirituality; caring for the physical well being of others and our world, are all good and absolutely vital parts of Christianity, but none of them is God. None of them are a substitute for a personal relationship with God, which for Christians is given life and nurtured by our relationship with Jesus who is the love of God fleshed out for all.

Out of that relationship can flow a love for scripture, a love for the spirituality and community of the church, a love for all creation and all humanity and a valuing of all of these and appreciation for those whom God has given gifts in each area. It is not any one or two of these. It is the balance found when we value all equally. There is one God, expressing Love in Jesus, and empowering us to grow and minister to others by the gifts of the Spirit within each of us.

We are all children of God, but we are born with different personalities that have different gifts and ways of both seeing and being, so we need each other. When we only value one aspect of the kingdom of God, the one that is easiest for us, we have turned a good thing into an idol. Our inability to value and incorporate others’ focus and understanding, has led us to a church on every corner claiming to have a monopoly on truth, all of the truth and nothing but the truth, which pretty much is a claim to being equal to God.

Jesus, Himself, was sent to lead us to God, not just to Himself. His love, laying down his life for us, is the Way to God. He was taken away, so that we too would be filled with and led by God’s Spirit. And God’s Spirit is love, love for all His creation and all His creatures. And the world will know that we are His by our growth in love, love that will free us to lay down our life with its hubris of believing we have a monopoly on truth.

Anything else is an idol.

About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of five. 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator, Was married for 60 years to an Architect in Middle Tennessee.

Posted on November 14, 2019, in a Jesus kind of love, Caring across differences, idols, Jesus, Love, Paradox, Personality Differences, Resurrection, spiritual growth, Spiritual Hubris, spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Sorry, I typed too fast.
    You write very movingly and powerfully. And I think you ‘get’ it.
    What I do know, is that each individual’s true search for God is sacred in it’s own right, and not subject to human judgement.


  2. Yes, until it becomes political. Spirituality to me is personal, where religion is communal. As a psychotherapist, I’m sure you have seen how much personality influences our personal belief system. Unfortunately, religion has historically become about power. I don’t think Jesus was about power over people, but rather for all people. As far as I can see, Buddhism says the same things Jesus did. I don’t know enough Buddhists to be sure it gives as much support on the journey as Christianity can, though sadly often doesn’t, because of its tendency as a Religion to become about power and privilege. I’m convinced that when it’s said that Jesus is the Way, it actually means he can help us to live as he did so we can become loving enough to spend our life for others and to become able to forgive those who attempt to destroy us. When I rejected God, Jesus, and religion, even though I worked in the Civil Rights movement and went back to school to get a degree in Psychology, I became addicted to pleasure……some fine, some not so much. Encountering the person of Jesus as the unconditional love of God fleshed out for all humanity, no small print, made a huge difference. Connecting with him as a living accessible person in a relationship has healed me over and over and enabled very weak me to continue to grow. He said he came for the sick and sinners, so I’m not sure everyone needs this kind of relationship, but I do. And I try to both live and describe this so others like me can know it’s a possibility, even if it’s not a requirement. Sorry. TMI….I do tend to get carried away.



    This is excellent, Eileen. You nailed it!! Without a personal relationship with God ( illustrated by the mystical tradition in all religions) we have only part of the truth.


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