Webster's defines idolatry as excessive reverence for or devotion to a person or thing. The second of the ten commandments tells us that we are not to make idols, that God is a jealous God, and that he shows loving-kindness to those who are faithful to him. While I have never gotten on my knees to worship a person or thing, I've been made aware that I've created idols in other ways...
It all began one afternoon back in 2006. I'd been channel surfing, and finally decided to check out Oprah. Her guest that day had peircing blue eyes and a distinctive tuft of grey. I knew nothing about his memoir just published, or even who he was; but quickly I discovered that he was Anderson Cooper, host of AC 360 on CNN. His book was called "Dispatches From the Edge; A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival."
My first instinct was to change it again; why did I want to hear about war, and disasters?...
Oprah began asking her guest questions about his brother's death. She then read some quotes from the book, and motioned to Cooper's mother, sitting in the front row of the audience. My ears perked as I heard the name "Gloria Vanderbilt." The image of a purple swan flashed in front of my eyes, and I stared at the T.V. I was in shock! I'd heard the name Vanderbilt all my life, but believed it was just a catchy name for a popular perfume. I had not known that Gloria Vanderbilt is in fact a real person, and sudddenly, I was putting an adorable face with an infamous name.
From that afternoon on, I was hooked, and thus began my journey into what I will call "double idolatry," involving Anderson Cooper and his (whaddaya know!) famous mom. I requested the book for Christmas, and began feeding what seemed to be an unending fascination. I wrote down the names of articles, books and places, and spent hours down at the library. I learned that Anderson's father, Wyatt Cooper had written his own memoir in the mid 70's. I found a copy, and read each page of it with the same passion. I watched AC 360 every night. I would tape the show, and watch it whenever I was bored. I did internet searches looking for interviews and u-tube video. The more information I accumulated, the more I wanted.
At the root of all this was the adrenaline high I recieved from fantasies about the handsome Mr. Cooper (this IS about idolatry, remember?). I became like a teenager, looking for photos in magazines; I put his picture on my desktop, and anything I could think of I tried to associate with "Cooper." I even developed a strange interest in geography (something I'd always hated). I'd hear of another place Anderson had been to, and search to learn about it.
Ironically, this idolatry seemed to actuallly bring me closer to the Lord, in a sense. While I was drooling over Anderson's baby blue eyes, I began praying for him and his mom-- like I'd rarely prayed for other people. There was fantasy in my heart, but the intentions in my perayers, quuite sincere. I then became convicted that I needed to pray for others with the same intensity. I am unsure at what point I became aware that this "interest" I'd develped became idolatry, I just know that it did. I am proud to say now, that the Lord is faithful to work all things together for the good of those who love him. My new interest in geography has helped me a lot, and Wyatt Cooper's memoir "Families," has given me a renewed appreciation for my roots. Our talents, quirks, abilities and even eccentricities are gifts from God that make us unique (Thanks Gloria!). And (from Anderson himself), focus is essential. When we know where our focus should be, we can overcome anything.
Jesus Christ wants first place in my life, and he fills the world with other people to make that life more colorful. He has shown me that my Anderson I.V. of adrenaline needed to come out so he could supply all my needs, all the time. Any human being that I choose to place on a pedestal is just that... human...imperfect just like me. I thank Him for the inspiration from others and the chance to pray for them as well... way to go Anderson! I know your mom is proud! This makes me say "Thank you God that life is so interesting!"
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