Setting the Scene

"God is the supreme Physician who ceaselessly offers therapy — God's very self — for our susceptibility to idolatry. The more we direct our attention to God, the better able we are to give up the false gods birthed by our inordinate anxieties and desires. Given the human condition, there may be no final cure for idolatry this side of the grave. But the divine Healer is always available to move us through the latest crisis and closer to the health he intends for us."

This assurance comes from Kerry Walters, the award-winning author of more than 20 books and 100 articles. He teaches philosophy and peace and justice studies at Gettysburg College.

10 Commonly Evoked Idols in our Times

1. Genie god who helps our wishes come true
2. Big Brother god who passes on self-righteousness to those who follow in his way
3. Patriot god who demands allegiance to country as a priority
4. We Can Do It! god who appeals to those who desire to reform the world
5. By the Book god who quotes the Bible endlessly
6. My God who looks after me because I am special
7. Church god who is the favorite of believers who love structures and hierarchies
8. Designer god who is advocated by fans of pop culture and fads
9. Sunday School god who doesn't want us to grow up
10. Egghead god appeals to mind-trippers who relish the esoteric and intellectual

Take-Aways from Kerry Walters

• Big Brother god is the saddest form of idolatry with its fear of freedom and undertow of masochism.

• "The worm at the heart of American Patriot-god worship is its partisanship. It distorts the gospel's universally applicable message by tying it exclusively to a historically specific vision of American exceptionalism."

• Walters affirms the theological ideal of letting God be God. Do not be an idolater who locks the Great Escape Artist in a creed, a dogma or a rigid belief system. Acknowledge and honor the Mystery of the Glorious One!

To Think About

"Taking leave of God for the sake of God is the greatest act of renunciation that someone can make."
— Meister Eckhart