Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Straddling the fence

In today's first reading Elijah is fed up and so he confronts the people head on the must choose who to worship the Lord God or Baal. On some level thee stories can seem far removed from our lives. The temptation to worship stone gods is not our experience. Today the false gods take other forms. One of the most insidious is career. Even in the Church Pope Francis has warned about the dangers of careerism.  He even abolished two of the three levels of monsignors, and raised the minimum age, because being named a young Monsignor was perhaps the most visible sign of the climber. 

In the world in general, every day, marriages are destroyed because one or both parties are more focused on job success than they are on their marriage. Some even choose not to have children at all, because it would interfere with their career. And it is not limited to certain professions or income levels. 

When I was a child the question people would ask in the south was "who your people?" A person's identity was tied to being part of a family. But this too certainly had its problems particularly if you were from a poor family or a family with problems. 

And so some where in the last century we struck out on our own— individualism. We would define ourselves and we would define ourselves by what we do.  What we didn't realize was that in that process we replaced God with Success.  Success became the new God. And part of what makes it so seductive is that you can tell yourself that you are doing it to provide a better life for your family, the family you spend little time with because you are so busy working. 

Should we strive to do well at our vocation, profession, or job? Of course. But not at any cost.  We must have only one God in our lives. And pleasing that one God must be our only true ambition.