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Archive for Saturday, November 4, 2006

Faith forum: When does loving hobbies become ‘worshipping a false idol’?

November 4, 2006

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Our infatuation with dangerous excess

The Rev. Ashley Masoni, associate pastor, St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St.:

At a time when our culture is defined by excess, it is essential that we, as faithful people, discuss boundaries between having a hobby and worshipping a false idol.

The statistics speak for themselves concerning the lifestyles of Americans today: On average, we watch hours of television, we consume far more calories than we can burn, we spend more money than we have and we buy bigger houses every year.

Because of who we are, we can't help but enjoy our leisure time in excess, too. When we find something we love, we enjoy it with all we have. When I was in high school, I loved basketball. Each day, I would go to school, then run home and eat dinner, then head to the gym. I would be there for hours, perfecting my shot and playing pick-up games.

Even when I left the gym, my body still craved it, my mind was still thinking about the shot, and my heart still dreamed about someday playing in the NBA. Was it a hobby, or was I worshipping it?

The truth is that the only one who can determine the difference is the one who has the hobby. We have to ask ourselves if we are making time for God in our lives.

Are we making time for something greater than ourselves to move us and to change us? Every day, we have the opportunity for something great to happen in our lives. Let us not be so distracted by our hobbies that we are unable to see the beauty of the life we've been given.

- Send e-mail to Ashley Masoni at pastorashley@sbcglobal.net.

Passions do not have to be false idols

The Rev. Bill Woodard, pastor, West Side Presbyterian Church, 1024 Kasold Drive:

We can be passionate with so many things - our work, our families, our communities, our favorite movies, TV shows, sports teams, lawns and gardens, our houses, our health, our safety, making money, being successful and also our hobbies.

So when do any of these things become a false idol? They don't have to be. They become a false idol when, instead of building up, they tear down. They become a false idol when they get in the way of loving God or our neighbors as ourselves. They become a false idol when they become excessive.

All of the things I've listed can become excessive - even loving God. We can become so wrapped up in loving God that we lose sight of God. What becomes so important is the "loving" of God, and God is no longer important. The "loving" becomes the false idol.

Here in Lawrence, the college basketball preseason has begun. Many people want, no, EXPECT the team not just to win - but win in a big way. The passion for a team will leave the realm of the great commandment, and the "winning big" will become the false idol.

Winning is nice - I like to win - but my whole self-worth isn't tied to winning. If yours is, then at the end of the season you will find only one winner and all the rest are losers, and what are the chances that the winner is you? It can make for a very miserable life.

Having a passion for something like a hobby does not necessarily become like worshipping a false idol - but it could.

- Send e-mail to Bill Woodard at revwood2000@hotmail.com.

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