Thursday, September 07, 2006


This post, like most, is an attempt to sort some thought and focus my own thoughts more than to convince or educate others. While some of these will, no doubt, sound "preachy", my intent is to think out loud (so to speak) and attain some amount of clarity. That is especially needed now because I have been shifting between 3 new books that I want to read all at once. At the same time I am involved in three Bible studies involving Revelation, Psalms, and Islam. O.K., maybe Islam is not exactly a Bible study but rather a look at Islam and the Q'uran through the Truth as presented in the Bible. Yeah, that is three Bible studies. My problem is that I am a drifter. No I don't mean wandering from town to town holding up a sign asking for help. It is more like what everybody now calls ADD. When I read books like "Rumours of Another World" I read a little and sit and think a lot. That means two things; 1) it takes me a long time to finish a (good, thoughtful) book and 2) my mind develops "side trail thoughts" that need to be explored further but I feel that I must press on.

This is an attempt to go a little way down one of those side trails. It will be good for me even if nobody else reads or benefits from it. The thought originated while reading "Rumours" by Phillip Yancey. It is difficult for me to separate what I read of Yancey's words from what I thought as a result. My intention is not to ascribe my thought to him nor to pretend that what he has written are my own original thoughts. The reality is, for me, this line of thought was largely prompted by Yancey's book and now much of what he has shared blends with my own thoughts.

This particular side trail deals with idolatry or substituting anything for God in an attempt to fill the place only God can fill in our life. Yancey credits Annie Dillard with telling of an experiment by entomologists. "They enticed male butterflies with a painted cardboard replica that was larger and more enticing than the females of their species. Excited, the male butterfly mounts the piece of cardboard; again and again he mounts it. Nearby, the real, living female butterfly opens and closes her wings in vain." Now, some applications leap out at you. In our species the painted and airbrushed often distract from the real and genuine. Many can't even see this absurd event occurring every day in the visible world. Even more difficult to see than abandoning the blemished, but real, person to chase after the shiney and exciting person is our tendency to fail to see the Source of beauty, joy, and excitement. No doubt, God intends for us to enjoy an abundant life. But we chase the "thing" like a puppy chasing a remote controlled car, not realizing that the car is being controlled by someone else.
Here is the thought for today; is it possible that every addiction is an idol and every idol is an addition? Think about it, alcohol, drugs, sex, work, gambling, food, or whatever entices you has become the focus. We are created to worship and if we do not allow God a place in our minds, something must replace Him in that void. We chase it more and more like the butterflies chase the illusion when the real is available.


Helen said...

My dad... the intelligent, well-read man!!

Kenny Simpson said...

I would agree we make idols of many things...TV, Sports, Money, Glamor.
Good post.