Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Getting Rid of our Idols

A priest professor at a Catholic University has an article in Biblelife  on  making the God I believe into an idol. He begins the article with an American TV program in which we have a group of college students in an auditorium asking questions of a Republican, a Democrat and the new's anchorman. The first question was for the anchorman:  Are you Republican, Democrat or independent? The anchorman responded with the name of an American football team. Another student asked: Why did the United States become such a great country? The Democrat answered: variety and opportunities; the Republican answered: freedom.  The anchorman again, humorously tried to  avoid answering the question, but was not  allowed to by the spokesman for the students. He  answered: The United States is not a great country. It only happened that  we have on occasions acted with greatness.

He went on to explain that the people have risen up for justice and fought for virtue.  They have made laws to increase virtue and have abrogated other laws. They have overcome much poverty, but did not at times fight with the poor. In the last election, they didn't question the reason they voted for their candidate. Looking back in the past, we see that at times they were courageous and  truly great. The reason we could act with greatness in these circumstances, he continued, was that we had the information to make a judgement, the reason that we could act wisely we knew the problems.

The way we look at society is different for each of us. There are those that see no problems with the society in which we live.  Then you have those that see the structural problems in society and want to do something to change the situation. And between these two points of view, we have those who are confused. He uses two phrases that are seen often on the Internet used disparagingly of the conservatives and the progressives. The division of the country has brought about a division in our thinking even here in South Korea, where instead of coming closer together we are making the wall of hate and distrust only higher.

The ideological battles are dividing the country. What is the most fearful of the idols which  we face? He asks. Is it not making God after our own image? Wanting God, the Church and the  clergy  to speak what I believe is  true. If I am of a conservative disposition I don't want the Church or the clergy to talk about anything outside of spirituality. If of a progressive disposition, I want them to put the  spiritual on the back burner and just speak about the problems in society.

Our faith is not wanting God and the Church to move in the way I think important, but to change the way I am living to  the way God wants. Oftendon't care to change and  desire God and the Church to change. This way of thinking is spreading widely in the society. The priest professor introduces us to the Joy of the Gospel and to paragraph #227.

"When conflict arises, some people simply look at it and go their way as if nothing happened; they wash their hands of it and get on with their lives. Others embrace it in such a way that they become its prisoners; they lose their bearings, project onto institutions their own confusion and dissatisfaction and thus make unity impossible. However, there is also a third way, and it is the best way to deal with conflict. It is the willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process. “Blessed are the peacemakers!”

The first thing that is necessary is that we have a healthy inner life. When the interior is healthy,  we can live with  diversity and examine what is involved, and discern what is the truth that God wants us to accept. When the inner life is weak, then we are only concerned about ourselves and end up in conflict. We have to keep our attention on the God who is, and not the idol of our making. He recommends strongly that we read the exhortation. 

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