June 16, 2011

This is What We Live For

I have an idolatry issue. This idol has had varying degrees of influence in my life from an all-consuming passion to a casual-yet-vested interest. I have pinned many hopes and dreams on this idol since I can remember.

This idol in my life is hockey, and more specifically the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. As many of you probably know the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

As I was watching the game I discovered that every hit, pass, shot and goal either brought elation or despair. In between periods I needed to go outside to try to gain some sort of broader perspective, though the change in scenery had no change in my train of thought. When Bergeron scored the short-handed goal I felt physically ill. Half-way through the 3rd period I took my glasses off because I couldn’t even bear to watch. As the clock ticked down to 0:00 I couldn’t believe how much it hurt, to see Boston hoist that oversized silver cup.

I was saddened that after all of the work the Canucks put in this season, they still couldn’t capture the prize. Moreover, I was saddened that after all the work I put in this season to strip this idol from its place in my heart, when the litmus test had come and gone I had failed.

Nelson Boschman (pastor of Artisan Church - http://artisanvancouver.ca/) said it well last night: “…Nights like these expose our deep need for a bigger story than hockey.”

One of my idols let me down last night. Though I suspect that even if the Canucks won, in some way my idol still would have let me down. Because that’s what idols do.

 Maybe your idol isn’t hockey. Maybe your idol is popularity, money, sex, power, your family, your spouse, your friends or something else. Whatever your idol is, it will let you down. Because that’s what idols do.

My fellow idol loving brothers and sisters, may God open our eyes to see our idols and strengthen us to pin all of our hopes and dreams on His story, the biggest story there is - the Gospel. Because that’s what God has done for us.


  1. Ben (you know who)

    Greg, try to give more reasons for your beliefs rather then just stating them. For example you say things like "whatever your idol is, it will let you down. Because that's what idols do". Reworded that is basically saying idols will let you down because idols let people down. Circular? Again, at the end you support a belief with another belief "because that's what God has done for us." I know that you may be intending for fellow believers to read your blogs, but understand that you are not going to convince any unbeliever of anything. Also, define what the term "idol" means because you jump right into it without any clarification of what you actually intend to mean. You posted a link to this blog on your facebook of which I am sure I am not the only unbeliever, if you want to convince us, you will have to improve and defend your claims better.

  2. I'm glad you started a blog, Greg. I hope that despite the previous comment made that you continue to share whatever it is you want to on here - afterall, it is YOUR blog, and you should feel free to express whatever opinions or beliefs you have without having to 'defend your claims' at all. keep writing! :)

  3. Hey Ben,

    Thanks for your comments. Without trying to spark too long of a debate on here I thought I would respond. If you want to have further conversation a coffee would be more appropriate to talk through any further.

    In regard to your first point, the purpose of reiterating "that's what idols do" was not intended for an exhaustive explanation of how idols let us down, it was stylistic in purpose and intent.

    Regarding another point, you are correct in assuming that this post was primarily intended for believers to be encouraged and edified in their faith.

    Regarding defining "idols". I am defining an "idol" as turning anything good into The Ultimate Good (i.e. mentally or practically placing something other than God above Him).

    Finally, to your comment that "your not going to convince any unbeliever of anything... if you want to convince us, you will have to improve and defend your claims better". This post was not intended to be an exhaustive treaty, apologetic, or defence of Christianity. So if you want to treat it as such, you will find yourself grossly disappointed - and may I suggest that if you are grossly disappointed your idol may have just let you down :)

  4. Hey!! Love the blog! I've just been reminded of one thing.

    YOU ARE BRILLIANT. And you are really good at tiny debates. And big ones. I've forgotten! You rock mister....

    Thanks for the reminder though, I do believe we all have our own idols, and it's evident in our responses to certain things.

    Keep sharing your heart, because that is what a blog is for and if someone doesn't appreciate it, or understand, well, we all know they will leave a comment and then you will do a great job at explaining your point of you.

    Keep it up! Hope you and Sarah are feeling better!

  5. Ben

    To Whitney:

    I would just like to clear up that I have no problem with Greg writing a blog contrary to what you might have inferred when you said "despite the previous comment made that you continue to share". No where did I say Greg was not allowed to write a blog or share any of his beliefs or opinions. Furthermore, Greg can state his beliefs however he wants them, and so can you, just don't expect anyone to be persuaded by them if you can't support them. My post should be more attributed to the writing style rather then anything else. I would have hoped you took my post as constructive criticism on how to be a better writer, rather then read things in my post which are not there.

    To Greg:

    I would just like to clarify or perhaps add to my previous post that part of my reason why I was confused as to whether or not you were aiming at unbelievers or Christians is because the term idol was never defined. I can find it personally reasonable that you could have defined "idol" as some type of addiction that can cause pain in a persons life. Thus, such a definition could indeed be attributed to secular peoples, hence my confusion.

    Greg, I understood that your post was "not intended to be an exhaustive treaty, apologetic, or defense of Christianity" but in any good writing, and especially so when you address your audience directly (starting at the second last paragraph) and wish for them to take an action/inaction, you should give reasons why. To sum up, my main issue was that your reasons why were simple "because". It has nothing to do with your religious affiliation or anything. Had an atheist written something with secular viewpoints which were unsubstantiated I would have criticized him too, and indeed I have done so before.

    (P.S. I am not sure about your last remark about a maybe alleged "idol" that I possess. Based on my understanding of your definition of "idol" in combination with my atheism, it would be impossible for me to have an idol.)

  6. Good stuff Greg! Confessing is not easy but very freeing. I had a thought as I read your post and want to ask if you think you would have been as introspective if the Canucks had won? Could it be that it is in disappointments that we take time to ponder, which allows the Spirit to reveal areas in our life that need to be addressed?
    Would the celebration of a victory kept you from recognizing this?
    :) Jean

  7. Whitney:

    Thanks for reading. It took me awhile to figure out who "Witney Shea" was, but then I read your post and vigorous tone and I realized who it was. I also clicked on your picture, that helped too.


    Very encouraging. Thank you sister!


    You raise some noteworthy points that require further conversation. I think that conversation is better had face-to-face over an americano than the screen-to-face blogosphere. Let me know when you're in town.


    I tried alluding to the fact that I think in some way I would have been let down even if the Canucks had won.

    I likely would have been cheering in the streets on South Fraser Way and high-fiving anything that breathes, but I also think that the elation that I expected to experience had the Canucks won would not match the actual experience. What I mean is, I would be happy, but my experience with idols is that they actually don't make us as happy as we expect even when they do "deliver".

    Would I have written a blog about it? Probably not. Would I have reflected on if the Canucks 2011 playoff run truly is "What I live for? By the grace of God, hopefully.

    I also agree with your sentiment that "it is in disappointments that we take time to ponder, which allows the Spirit to reveal areas in our life that need to be addressed".

  8. Hey Greg,

    Great article and comments...as always the Truth speaks and you have spoken Truth.

    Surprises me how some need to analyze the 'words of life' rather than recognize the life in the words...like standing on the elevating deck of a sinking Titanic and searching for a protractor to measure the angle of decline...just might be more fruitful to recognize the reality of the situation and swim for your life...then again, we are so good at analysis aren't we...so go ahead anyone who wishes...go ahead and dissect...hope you have your swim suits on!

    Geoff M