Everyone Worships Something

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So…lots of reading these days on the topic of Worship. Which is probably a good thing, since that’s the area in which I’m called to lead and disciple others. As this unfolds, I’ll periodically post some the best bits. This one left me both convicted and breathless:

David Foster Wallace had this to say to a graduating class at Kenyon College in 2005:

In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship— be it JC or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles— is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

If you worship money and things— if they are where you tap real meaning in life— then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth.

Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already— it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power— you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay.

Worship your intellect, being seen as smart— you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. The insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

Quoted in…Smith, James K. A. (2013-02-15). Imagining the Kingdom (Cultural Liturgies): How Worship Works (Kindle Locations 4764-4766). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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