The only way God wants himself represented to the world is through you. All the idol-smashing (or iconoclasm) in the Bible – every instance where the Hebrews are instructed to destroy foreign gods and idols – should be interpreted as a measure of protection for the dignity of real people.
God doesn’t want you to idolize something else because in the process of idolatry you allow yourself to settle for something less in this life. You lower your standards. You excuse yourself of responsibility. You place your hopes and dreams on a movie star or in a press box, instead of cultivating the Spirit of God within you.
There is only one way in which God is imaged in the world and only one: humanity!
Walter Brueggemann, 20th C American Theologian
But even today we insist on making new idols. We idolize other people, making them out to be gods themselves rather than shadows of the one true God. We put them on pedestals and give them special status and privileges. We worship our rock stars. We adore our childhood prodigies.
Yet anytime we set up these inane hierarchies we are only diminishing ourselves.
Every one of us is an image-bearer of God Most High. Even the best and brightest among us are only shadows of something better and brighter.
That, again, is what it means to be human.
Dr. David McDonald is the teaching pastor at Westwinds Community Church in Jackson, MI. The church, widely considered among the most innovative in America, has been featured on CNN.com and in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Time Magazine. David weaves deep theological truths with sharp social analysis and peculiar observations on pop culture. He lives in Jackson with his wife, Carmel, and their two kids. Follow him on twitter (@fossores) or online at fossores.com