A good confession would cover any and all instances of idolatry. But I have not, nor do I know personally anyone who has, recently bowed to a statute of, say, Anubis…And if there are any good parties around a Golden Calf no one has seen fit to send me an Evite (not bitter, just saying…)
But there is still that sneaky suspicion (another way of saying the Holy Spirit in our hearts) that I may not be a clean and non-idolatrous as I think. But what to do?
Well thank God for Richard Beck and his in-depth series Slavery of Death. Now, on part 19 (I recommend you read all parts because the argument is complex) is brining me up to date with the thoughts of Stringfellow and Becker.
And here’s the list of what/who Stringfellow considers The Powers (as in the Principalities and Powers which we are fighting against and which Christ’s sacrifice came to free us from – see Romans 1): “all institutions, all ideologies, all images, all movements, all causes, all corporations, all bureaucracies, all traditions, all methods and routines, all conglomerates, all races, all nations, all idols.”
Sheesh, Stringfellow – can we say “scorched earth”? Wow. So, pretty much everything in society, as well as “all methods and routines”! That does not leave someone with much room to do much more than sit, perhaps sob a little.
But in case I feel I can find a loophole somewhere, he clarifies with examples his list: “the Pentagon or the Ford Motor Company or Harvard University or the Hudson Institute or Consolidated Edison or the Diners Club or the Olympics or the Methodist Church or the Teamsters Union are principalities.”
Frankly if it stopped there I would be ok. I have been saying that the Olympics opening extravaganza is a satanic mass for years. Everyone just thinks I am a crazy old codger. But is it really any surprise that the Chinese were able to put together the most amazing opening ceremony since the opening in Moscow?
But Stringfellow does not stop there, “So are capitalism, Maoism, humanism, Mormonism, astrology, the Puritan work ethic, science and scientism, white supremacy, patriotism, plus many, many more—sports, sex, any profession or discipline, technology, money, the family.”
Holy guacamole Batman! So, in short, everything! Well, in reading Beck, it is not quite everything. It is everything created, everything that dies, that ends, that passes away.
I need to confess that I am afraid of death, and that that fear guides the vast majority of my decisions. I look to death for guidance instead of looking for God’s guidance. Even the Rule of Benedict suggests that a monk should keep his death before him at all times. Hmm, should I keep Christ’s death before me at all times? Or, even better, to keep Christs death AND resurrection before me at all times?
But I don’t, because I am a slave to the fear of death. My death. And I give my time, treasure and talent to the very things which themselves are under death’s dominion.
What would life be like if I truly did not fear death?