Book Study: Strange Gods Chapters 4 & 5

Chapter 4 – The Idol of Prosperity; Chapter 5 – The Idol of Technology

I’m taking a bit of a different focus this week with the Book Study by combining the reflections and sharing an experience.

First the experience. Yesterday I had a private lesson with one of my students, having scheduled this after checking the calendar. On the way home I was going to go one place, then decided to go get Round Rock Donuts for the Sisters first. None of this was in any kind of a straight line but for most of the drive the sun was shining, the roof of the car open and I was simply enjoying being out. After picking up the donuts I made a wrong turn, kind of knowing I was making a wrong turn but I’d committed to this turn, and trying to get back into higher speed traffic without being able to see what was behind me would have been, oh shall we say, stupid or better had the potential to cause more harm than an extra three minutes correcting the wrong turn.

When I arrived at the Priory the light in my husbands office was on so I presumed he was in there. Nope. I called to leave a message and surprised him heartily when he listened to the message. Not for nothing coming home with 17 donuts wasn’t actually part of the food plan for this week. I’ll bet you’re shocked by this. Thankfully we connected before I got back in the car with the donuts. This story has two bonuses before one big freak out. Bonus number one I got to give the dogs, Bear and OP, treats. Bonus number two the lovely chat with the sisters, one who’s mom is a quilter and lives locally and locally in TX has a different meaning than locally in NY. Because I don’t work with my Sweetie I don’t see the Sisters often, or have a chance to talk with them. I am so deeply moved by their joy.

On the way home my intention was to stop at the quilt shop for a couple of things. While driving there I started panicking a bit because suddenly I thought that I’d missed a class. Oh my goodness! How could I do that? You can imagine the other things. It took a couple of minutes to realize my planner is on the passenger seat, a quick check at the next light reminded me that the class is today (Wednesday) not yesterday (Tuesday.) Oh blessed relief! A quick check of the clock let me know it was past the time I could see the owner. Well there’s always tomorrow. And in the deepest spiritual sense, there is only this moment.

Back to our regularly scheduled program

“The spiritual poverty of the Western World is much greater than the physical poverty of our people. . .You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted. These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don’t know what it is. What they are missing, really, is a living relationship with God.” St. Teresa of Calcutta. Strange Gods Chapter 4

“Do you suppose,” Dorothy Day asked, “that God created diamonds only for the rich?” Strange Gods Chapter 4

Somewhere along the way I’ve shared something of the loneliness of life on the road as a sales rep. There was a moment when, driving on a long stretch of road, after having a few rough days, when I was thinking I’d rather have a $15 hour job near home, and be around people, and see my husband than keep this job. This must have been before the option of this move to TX came up. While this wasn’t an option in this moment for other reasons, the loneliness poured down my face. We are made for community, we are made for connection, we are made to order our time toward God and toward one another. When we are living lives ordered toward God, and toward one another, building each other up, and using the things in our life from money to technology, ideas and food, lawn mowers and trains, in a way that is rightly ordered, giving the first fruits to God and doing what we will with the rest whether that is keeping it, or sharing as necessary.

Twenty twenty brought us face to face with not only the reality of our loneliness, but in deeper regard with the distorted reflections of ourselves in our idols – those things which are shiny and pretty and reflect back to us a distorted image of our self. These idols tell us how shiny we look and yet we don’t truly see our selves. I don’t truly see my self in these fun house mirrors. While I may indeed be a short, fat, quilter there is more, and the more is obscured by those things I place between myself and God, those things ideas etc that become more important than God. I’ve wondered at times if quilting in some sense has become an idol, and yes it does have potential and is therefore giving me pause to consider what changes I can make to rightly order both my work as a quilter and my creativity as a quilter.

God bless,

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