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The idolatry of unchangeable me


The new idolatry is the unchangeable me. It's the undergarment of a culture that boasts about our personal autonomy and boldly wears the t-shirt. With all the closet doors open and a syllabus of identities available to us, the most pitiful may be the ones who are stuck where they are and expect the rest of us to accept them that way, regardless of their fit into the greater scheme. Reminds me of what Paul wrote to Timothy, "...for people will be lovers of self..." (2 Timothy 3:2). But, it's a new version. The idolatry of unchangeable me.

The refrain is something like, "I am the way I am and I cannot change". You'll have to excuse my biblical worldview here, but that sounds something like I've read in the Holy Scriptures, something attributed to God. If you've been to Sunday School you know God's words to Moses when he was trying to weasel out of speaking to Pharaoh: "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14). Later, through the Prophet Malachi he said, "For I the Lord do not change..." (Malachi 3:6). When humans take up this mantra we're elevating self to a place that God has reserved for Himself. No, kids, we humans are changeable. Thank God!

The philosophs and theologues can deal with all the question marks dangling out there today. My worldview is distinctly Christian and I can hardly imagine God being confused about any of the created order. Can it be possible that God gave some people one kind of physical body but inadvertently implanted another psyche into that same person? I kind of doubt it. My worldview holds the total depravity of the human species and attributes the confusion to the dark human heart. Of course, a world with no moral absolutes or truth can write the scenarios pretty much as they see fit. Who's to say that evolution isn't taking some weird turns and curves to create a have it your way life, body and soul. Give me a break.

Set that aside for now. What is more clear is that God laced change into the molecular structure of the entire universe. That would be everything. Even many quantum brains are seeing his hand in the most basic life elements and the movement that defines everything. So, everything is changing. Nano-second by nano-second everything under the sun is in motion. Human immutability is a myth, a fictional account of life that our loose culture can embrace to justify ourselves and cling every more obstinately to our chosen path.

It's a taste of secular humanism that we're even hearing from some very visible and prominent evangelicals these days. As we all try to comprehend the times and our current obsession with all of the trans-mutations there's this confusing double-speak about human changeability. Suddenly, in a world spinning out of control, humans are declaring their equality with God by announcing their unchangeable profile. "This is who I am. I cannot change" is the language of deity. Mere humans cannot claim it.

The dynamics of change are way over my head. But, there are two things I know---

1. Human beings can change. It's the stuff of epic life reversals people write books

about or record in motion pictures. They are the heroic tales of recovering

addicts, people who change the course of their lives by making hard decisions,

progress in every sphere of human endeavor because someone was dissatisfied

with something about their life and submitted themselves to the crucible of

personal change.

2. God can change people. He's into life transformation and has given us humans

hundreds of promises and thousands of examples of his transforming power

over the human condition. To claim immutability is one thing, a raising of self. To

doubt is lowering him.

Naughty world! We can wink and nod about the culture going-you-know-where-in-a-hand basket all day long. But, the idolatry of unchangeable me isn't just stalking the mean streets around the hood. It's at church with us every Sunday too, in church people whose resistance to change is just as idolatrous. Get real. Disobedience is perhaps the most subtle form of self-love, and there's plenty of that even among our most righteous brethren.

God spoke it with clarity. "You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3). What a grievous sin is the love of self.

The idolatry of unchangeable me.


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