Idolatry isn’t a topic I write on every day. And some of our regular readers might be holding their breath a bit to see what I might say. The context for this particular post is multi-faceted. It begins with an article I read, bolstered by a pivotal memory in my own journey, and then supported by a time of listening in my church service on Sunday in the context of a recent support session.
The article was for one of my courses and it focused on the integration a Christian psychologist was making with Object Relations theory and the biblical concept of idolatry. The author made use of the work of theologian Richard Niebuhr who said that an idol was, “any cause or object to which the self gave itself in devotion from which the self derived life’s value and meaning.” Perhaps a simpler way to say that is: “Be careful who or what you worship because you will become what you worship; you will become like the object or the one you worship. Everyone has an ultimate object of love and loyalty.” The psychologist was suggesting that the deficits in a person’s life become these deeply engrained objects of desire that ultimately take on the shape of an idol. The journey towards dis-empowering the deficits in one’s life involved naming and severing links with what had become idolatrous.