Idols, Images and the Future

Sunday's Reflection Questions:

If you were to be completely honest with yourself, how much do you rely on God rather than other things to take care of you and give you what you need?

What are things you trust in for the short term that have long term, negative consequences?

What are some things that might be idols in your life?  What can you do to wrest yourself from their control?  Do you need help?

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This Week’s Text: Exodus 20.3-6

Additional Texts: Isaiah 44.9-20,  Luke 15.11-32

Teaching Link:"Idols, Images, and the Future"

Downloadable group discussion sheet: .pdf

For Additional Study:God Wants to Save Christians, Rob Bell

Questions for Groups or Reflection:

Idolotry in the Old Testament was an attempt by people to cause an effect in the natural world by submitting to the power of a supernatural force.  So they would perform intricate rituals, and perform ceremonies, and make sacrifices to a god whom they believed would produce a desired result.  What is wrong with this kind of thinking?

God wanted his people to trust him for their needs and their identity.  To what things do we look to today to meet our needs and give us identity?

During the teaching this week, I made a case for being able to insert the term "addiction" for "idolatry."  Do you agree or disagree?  Why or why not?

The sacrifice of children to Molech is an especially gruesome and horrifying way for people to have tried to influence the god.  Many addictions today lead to gruesome and horrifying behaviors.  To sacrifice a child to Molech meant risking your future for present benefit.  Discuss ways our addictions mirror this process.  If not addictions, are there other ways we mortgage our future for present benefit?

Rachel Muers, professor of theology at the University of Exeter, broadens this discussion to include "war" as a kind of sacrifice to Molech:

War supplies "Molech," not merely with the blood of innocent victims, but more insidiously with the binding of successive generations to deathly patterns of existence, in the name of the present seizure of control over the future.  Contemplating the the intergenerational sustainability of bitter warefare in the contemporary world-including, the sustainablity of warfare in which religion is directly invoked-provokes horror at the power of "Molech," and ever increasing horror at people's willingness to continue to sacrifice to it.

As Christians in the world, how can we stand up against the present day worship of Molech, and assist people in leaving behaviors and addictions that lead to death?

 

Read and discus the reflection questions from last Sunday at the top of this post.