“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 ESV
The early church. I have a lot to learn, my attention is brought to it right now. I'm thinking about this verse here--or couple of verses, rather. They turned from idols to serve the living, true God. What did that look like? What was an idol for them back then?
I'll identify a few idols I have and what I think are idols in our culture today. First, I'd like to define "idol".
noun: idol; plural noun: idols
an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.
synonyms: icon, representation of a god, image, effigy, statue, figure, figurine, fetish, totem; More
graven image, false god, golden calf
"a throng of men gathered in worship of a golden idol"
a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.
"movie idol Robert Redford"
synonyms: hero, heroine, star, superstar, icon, celebrity; More
favorite, darling, pet, beloved;
informalpinup, heartthrob, dreamboat, golden boy/girl, Adonis, Greek god
"a teen idol"
Alright. The Greek origin says "form, shape". Not exactly what I thought it would be. So, I'll have to guess the Greeks were worshiping physical shapes. Images of gods. I don't do that, do I? I don't have physical shapes of gods in my house. What's a god? An object, person, deity worshiped. Basically what google says.
Okay. So what, or who do I worship? I claim to worship Jesus.
Last night, I was talking to Lindsey about my priorities. What's on my mind the most. For sure it's life. Life is getting my work done. Lesson planning. Reflecting on being s better teacher. It's school. My school. Completing work I need to do, well. It's keeping my head above water with all the events that require my attendance. It's making time in these busy times to relax. Play video games. Lay on the couch. Drink beer.
So. Life could be my idol, I suppose. I think a lot about all these things. All these thing cause me a great deal of stress. You know, keeping up. I worry. I stress. That's my idol.
What else? Technology, for sure. I think of tech as a fascination. But, it's in my mind for a large percentage of the day. I think about it. I admire it. I admire the way software looks. The way the case of a compute feels. Processor speeds, amount of cores. GPUs. RAM.
I can't help it. I'm interested. I'm not even an expert. I just think it's cool.
So, yes. Tech is an idol.
Alright. What are idols in our culture? I'd say owning a home. Our homes.
Man. It's hard to find a place to start. In America, anything could be worshiped. People. Houses. Cars. Tech. Money. Church. Your self. Pets. Movies. You name it. We have an abundance of stuff that's available to worship. And we do.
I'll revisit the verses now. Thessaloniki turned from those idols--I'm guessing images of Greek gods. They turned to Jesus. Or, was it the Hebrew God? Did the early church worship Jesus as God? Did they understand the trinity? Serious question.
Anyway. They turned from those idols and worshiped God.
In church today, we talked about pain, suffering, and questions we ask as humans. Pain and suffering is hard to understand. It's hard to accept. Especially if you believe in an all-powerful God. Logic says, if God's all-powerful, and all-loving, suffering shouldn't exists. Yet it does.
I've had a hard time with this.
There are still questions. A lot of them. Here are some things I'm confident in, though:
Nature is awesome. Detail abounds. From the atoms arranged in our bodies, to the stars and planets in Space. Nature is awesome.
Love exists. I love so much. We love so much. It could be a function of evolution, which is fine with me. But, it exists. Love is an incredible force. We need to be social. We have to be together. Loving each other. Sharing meals with each other. Love exists.
Then, there's humans. We realize live exists. And we can observe how fucked up this world is. Even thinking about Albuquerque. Drug addiction. Homelessness. Selfishness. It rules our community. Our community is super broken, it's apparent.
It's apparent it needs to be fixed. The gospel says Jesus fixed it. The gospel says Jesus suffered to end suffering. I've heard it a thousand times. I don't understand it completely. But gospel. God himself fixed it.
This needs more explaining. Jesus suffered to end suffering. How does this work? I can put things together. The Universe is complex. This doesn't mean it was created, necessarily. But, it exists. And that alone is crazy to me. I appreciate it. That's crazy to me, too.
Are there cosmic rules I just don't understand? Is this where my logic should take over and I should ditch this idea altogether? A lot of people would say yes. What's holding me back are the things I've already talked about. Love. Community. Nature.
I'll keep searching.