What cultural gods are demanding your attention right now?
The world ends for a lot of people each and every day due to the absolute truth of death. Life will never be the same for the deceased and those that loved or even worshiped them. Particularly for those in the public eye whose 15 minutes of fame (or longer) captured someone’s interest, it appears that many often get caught up in a version of celebrity or hero worship.
You have probably observed people lighting candles, playing their music (or tweets) nonstop, dressing like them, leaving flowers or some memento near the site of their passing, even lamenting their loss on social media (when in most cases they never met the cultural icon).
But I wonder if our celebrity culture breeds a sort of weirdness. The legend of a famous (or infamous) person may seem captivating, and for some it can become a phenomenon that is real, or at least symbolic, but may be nothing to laugh at. I’ve read where therapists have counseled people to get in touch with their inner (fill in the blank). The celebrity’s picture may have been on a video game, a postage stamp, or a weekly magazine that is collected or revered. I heard of a football coach that still left a ticket for musician Elvis Presley on game days.
Celebrity worship can be a religion. Consider the annual trek to the dead person’s home, binge weekends, video gaming marathons, the conducting of elaborate rituals, the creation of new memorials, and even talking to their dead celebrity. It seems that people who don’t have the One True God in their lives often make a god out of all sorts of stuff and desire to stay connected.
Read 2 Kings 17:29-41.
In ancient times in the Middle East, exiles from several nations were shipped off to live among Jews in Samaria. Israelite priests taught them how to worship God, but it didn’t quite work out the way they thought. “They worshiped the Lord but also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought” (2 Kings 17:33).
Think about the customs of your school, community, and nation and what you are being taught to worship. Who are the cultural gods you are feeling pressured to identify with and acknowledge, even publicly honor? It may start with wearing their basketball shoe. Or supporting (with words and actions) the prevailing campus protest theme. What is trending on social media?
How is your loyalty being tested? Is your worship of God being threatened by campus intolerance and/or political correctness and pushed to the back burner of your worldview? How can you keep “pretenders to your allegiance” from overpowering your love and service of God?
The One True God transcends all cultures, customs, time, and geography. He alone deserves to be called “amazing” or “awesome.” He ought to be the object and subject of your worship and devotion, no matter who seems to be in the cultural spotlight on late night TV. Regardless of what popular culture is telling you, God demands your heart, soul, mind, and strength, because only when you are in alignment with Him, can you flourish as a person.
Think theologically. Beware. The transient gods of culture are and always will be idols of sand.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz