Thursday, November 29, 2012

Family idolatry

I've been thinking about this quote Alan Hirsch posted on Facebook the other day (11/13/12):

“If love of family is stronger and deeper than love for Jesus Christ, this is family idolatry.” (prepping for a talk on the Shema)

Wow, this is a truth that's so hard for so many people to hear. What I want to know is... how do you get people to understand that in a small, rural, "family" congregation??? People call me a communist whenever I start to talk like that. In fact, I've had many people say, and I say it myself, that the small, rural, family church is the hardest place to do ministry - in large part because of this issue. So much territorialism, lack of community, competition, pride, control... spiritual warfare. It's no mistake that Frank Peretti wrote his books in this setting.

Which doesn't mean I don't think families should worship together or be a part of the same church community. I think it's GREAT when they do. It would be greater still if we could all understand the concept of Christ's blood being stronger/greater than the blood of our genealogical families though. If we could grasp the "family" of God, and... (drifting off here)...

But, it is what it is. I'm not complaining, and not complaining about what I do and who I do it with. I am simply trying to work through this. It can't be ignored, because it is sin (family idolatry), but you can't just barge in with it, because it ruins (or severely strains) relationships. There has got to be a way, but it is a long, slow, tedious process. And this is my life.

1 comment:

Jim Lehmer said...

Yup. One of many idolatries common in (but not exclusive to) small churches. Add idolatries of tradition, the building, the denomination, patriotism, and on and on.