Here are the links to the first three parts in this series:
- London 2012 (Part 1) Hypernationalism
- London 2012 (Part 2) – Willful Blindness
- London 2012 (Part 3) – Consumerism
I wanted to share some closing remarks as the closing ceremonies approach us. In watching and listening to the games I want us to be careful about what Tim Keller calls, counterfeit gods. The following is a long quote but well worth your attention:
“A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving ‘face’ and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in Christian ministry. When your meaning in life is to fix someone else’s life, we may call it ‘co-dependency’ but it is really idolatry. An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’ There are many ways to describe that kind of relationship to something, but perhaps the best one is worship.” Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p. xviii.
What I notice is a lot of athletes whose dreams are crushed and then there is a feeling as if they have no clue what to do next with their lives. If you look at the body language of Michael Phelps and listen to his comments when asked about what he is going to do you can tell he is at a loss. His life… his identity has come from the pool and now he is faced with the gut wrenching question, “So what?”
If our identity is funneled by the things that we do instead of who we are then the things we do will always upset us. Because the idol of _____________ (you fill in the blank) can never give you only what God can give you. It will disappoint you…
What I saw in the Olympics was a lot of idolatry but I also saw some snippets of kingdom. Athletes praying, smiling and spreading the good news of God. Some where surely doing this. Their talent was not seen as something they had earned (although much work had gone into it) rather it was a blessing given to them by God.
Here are some lessons:
- Watch what you consume…
- Watch what consumes you…
- What are your idols?
- Was this entertainment of was this an “Us” vs. “Them” mentality (insert Chick-Fil-A controversy here)
- What positive lessons/themes come from the Olympics?
Hope you enjoy the rest of the games!