Very few books have I been so excited about in the first half, to be so disappointed by the second half than Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View by Brian J. Walsh and Richard Middleton. Apparently, as Christians we’re supposed to all denounce capitalism for socialism.
But they did have some great quotes on idolatry, explaining in a fresh light.
Idolatry is wrong, therefore, not only because it tries to make God visible (which is precisely the human task) but because it goes about this in the wrong way. Instead of accepting and fulfilling our created responsibility to represent the Lord in the whole range of our cultural activities, we project this responsibility onto idols. We therefore deny our calling to live in such a way that God’s loving can be seen, and we begin to cultivate the earth in disobedience. Idolatry is thus the illegitimate alternative to the genuine human task to image God. It is equivalent to living a life so distorted by false worship that it ceases to reflect God’s standards. (page 65)
Idols are never appeased. They always require more sacrifices. Once we place our trust in them we become their servants. We surrender our dominion over the earth as god’s image-bearers, and we ourselves are dominated by our graven image. Our lives are transformed into the image of the god we serve. (page 141)
Some other take away moments of the book included:
To talk about sin we must look at how God’s creatures disobeyed him and how his good creation was distorted. What is salvation but the outworking of God’s love for this creation as he restores it form the bondage and effects of sin? Creation, then, although certainly no the central message of Scripture, is the underlying foundation. Indeed, without an understanding of the biblical view of creation our understating of both sin and redemption will inevitably be distorted. In world-view terms, we cannot answer the questions “What’s wrong?” and “What’s the remedy?” unless first address the issues of who we are and where we are. Answering the four world view questions will direct us the biblical themes of creation, fall into sin and redemption in Christ. These themes constitute the basic flow and movement of the Bible. (page 44)
All we do is to be done form a heat filled with love for God. If our lives are not an expression of our love for him, they will express rebellion against him. That is simply our religious nature as God’s image bearers. All our cultural life is subject to Yahweh’s norms, and we are called to respond to him in obedience. (page 69)
We experience our work life dualistically even apart from this question of how it relates to our faith. Indeed, most people in our culture have a clear diving line between their work life and their leisure life. Work is something we have to do, a necessary evil. It is worthy doing, however, because it gives us the necessary resources to engage in the other activities we enjoy more. That part of our life is called leisure. In contrast to work, we are “free” during our leisure time—free to play, free of any constraints form our employers. (page 98)