Sunday, July 3, 2011

American Idol

A few weeks ago at the death mill I was verbally assaulted. Not by one of the customers or staff, or by a pro-death passerby, but by another pro-lifer. The subject of the assault was that I was an idol worshiper (aka Catholic). Apparently I worship statues, my rosary beads, and my scapular. After a five minute dress down, and being told that I was "disgusting" the accuser told me that she used to be a Catholic (as if I couldn't have guessed) until she learned to be a Christian. She told me she learned that her scapular couldn't save her, and her rosary couldn't save her and her statues couldn't save her - her Bible saved her.

Now, I understand how all these things can be used in a superstitious manner (and apparently were by this woman), but I can assure you that I don't worship anyone but God. A statue is a statue and the only use I have for it is to remind me of the men and women who have set an example for me of how to live. My rosary beads do nothing for me but mark the number of prayers I am saying so I can use my meager brain power to contemplate the life of Christ. My scapular is non-existent because I don't have one.

Note that she didn't even mention Eucharistic Adoration, which to a protestant actually is idol worship, and is a great way for me to slip in a reference to "Lift the City" into this blog post.

But that isn't really what I wanted to blog about. While I was listening to this woman's tirade, it struck me that while I am saved by Jesus, this woman claims she is saved by her Bible. I believe if pressed she would say that she didn't mean that literally, that she is saved by Jesus Christ, but I think her words are a Freudian slip. While she and other "Bible Christians" accuse us Catholics of worshiping idols, I would claim the finger points both ways (and more truly in their direction).

One theme in the bible is that "man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord" (Deut. 8:3, Matthew 4:4) The Bible Christian twists this to mean that the Bible is king, but I think it means just the opposite. We are told in scripture that the bible does not contain every word or action of God (John 21:25). St. Paul reminds us in 2 Thessalonians to listen to what we've been taught, both orally and in writing (2 Thessalonians 2:15). And in Matthew we are told to take our conflicts to the church as the last word (Matthew 18:17). The bible should not be the last word. Christ tells us that is reserved for the church.

And to me that makes perfect sense. A book is a book. It has no meaning without human interpretation. If that human interpreter isn't divinely protected from fault, then the bible itself is not protected from fault. In other words, God doesn't deal in print, He deals with people. And it is the Bible Christian, not the Catholic, who has elevated a book to be superior to the authority appointed by Christ, and so is worshiping an idol - a paper idol - over the true Word.


That last paragraph is gold, Mike. Amen!

Thanks. And I really didn't crib the title from your blog.

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