And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt … -- Ezekiel 20:7-8
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I suppose this is a continuation of yesterday’s post about pretense. An idol is something we create and empower. An icon, on the other hand, is genuine – a window to heaven, as Rick put it. Christ could never be an idol, but we can create a false version -- literally, an antichrist, that is.
So much that we see around us is mask and pretense, posturing and posing. The poor homosexuals, transvestites, lesbians, and all the other confused groups are all pretending to be something they are not. Giving birth in a doghouse does not mean your child is a Saint Bernard. Cosmetic surgery cannot change DNA.
It is tempting to say that external conformity to behavioral cues also does not correlate with internal transformation. However, that is not entirely true. “Mere” conformity, as under social pressure or other duress, does not change our nature, but willing adherence to forms – e.g., kneeling, reciting prayers, raising our hands, etc., is beneficial in enabling us to access God’s transforming power. Practicing humility, even with gritted teeth, in an effort be humble makes us humble. So, too, with patience, kindness, meekness, and other virtues, we do it in faith even when we feel more like busting heads. That’s not pretense. That’s practice in acknowledging and conforming to God’s truth and reality.
Still, pretense is, indeed, ascendant in the world. It always, or most always, has been. To paraphrase Reagan, the world knows so much that isn’t so. Our tolerance for all these false images seems to have grown, though, as the even the Church embraces appearance over essence. Congregations are presented with what amount to stage shows in place of worship services. Apparently, theatrics are the new alchemy, transmuting leaden sinners into golden saints through a sprinkling of emotion. I don’t know. I’m an old fogey. Maybe it is good for some people. In my way of thinking emotions follow rather than lead. An emotion is an effect rather than a cause, evidence not act. Truth and its revelation are the cause. If cool lighting, synthesizers, and sequins reveal truth, that’s good. If they obscure it, that’s bad.
As there is a true metamorphosis in which we are conformed to Christ, so there is a counterfeit in which a person is conformed to the image to which they cling. A man may become like the faux and detestable thing he feeds to his senses. Since it is lifeless, so is he. The world mocks and fakes and imitates. It puts on, makes up, imagines and feigns. The death it dies is the only reality left to it. The nihilist is the only realist in a satanic system.