‘Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. It remains a constant temptation to faith.’ (CCC #2113)
Rather than seeing through our fellows a glimpse of the divine, we divinize them. That is our sinful tendency: we reduce people to the image that pleases us. In our failure to release others to be icons, we bow down and worship them as idols.
Idolatry is especially subtle and destructive on relational levels. Friendships can start with the best of intentions and become demonic. The needy soul can twist a holy (enough) person into a despot or sexpot, and vice-versa. The drive to worship the creature involves two deceived players with complementary desires to worship and be worshipped. Our churches are full of them: ‘they’ are us.
Some of us are graced with obvious idolatrous tendencies. As a boy becoming a man, I had a strong tendency to eroticize masculinity—to bow down before the raised phallus and other symbols of powerful masculinity. Satan worked overtime to take an emotional vulnerability and pervert it. The sexy beach culture in which I grew up enkindled such perversion; life consisted of a series of altars at which I worshipped mere men.
Ideally, men could have become mentors, fully clothed, whose confirmation might have provided a bridge to normal, precluding a multitude of sins. Ah well…
My deception dawned on me when I realized that instead of liberating desire, homosexual practice enslaved it. Potential icons became idols.
A more subtle form of idolatry exists in traditional heterosexuality when one spouse makes the other a god. That becomes apparent when the divinized one stumbles, and ceases instantly to be a savior. The revelation of spousal idolatry can ignite the fiery process of transforming idols into marital icons, windows to the merciful God that both spouses need to be saved.
Church leaders facilitate idolatry when, instead of reflecting Jesus in their weak humanity, they leech His light. That is obvious when they demand a form of submission from persons all too eager to idolize the ‘religious.’ Christians must be taught to stand as adults alongside church leaders, respecting their function but not deferring to their whims. We must allow our leaders to be flawed icons who guide us and with whom we can disagree.
‘Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man’s innate religious sense.’
Please join us as we pray for:
1. Northeast Region, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Garry & Melissa Ingraham – Coordinators: For strength and vision for Garry & Melissa, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
2. Aguas Vivas: Leon, Mexico, Emma – Coordinator: Grace and strength to finish their first Aguas Vivas pilot group.
3. RHN: His Way Out Ministries, Phillip Lee, Bakersfield, CA: For health issues. HOPE Group, David Fisher, Castro Valley, CA: for God to bring good leaders for new groups in outlying areas.
“Courage for Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”