Roy Exum: Our Top Three Idols This Easter

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Tim Tinsley, during his sermon on Sunday at Chattanooga’s First Presbyterian Church, hit a home run when he talked to us about idols. We’ve all got some, he said, and pretty specifically revealed that God doesn’t much appreciate idolatry as we enter Holy Week.

To beautifully illustrate his point, the pastor said that he has made a sport of sorts out of asking visiting missionaries, who come here from foreign lands, what they find different about our United States. As he spoke, there happened to be a very attractive woman sitting in the pew nearby and I watched her face dance as Tim revealed the Top Three phenomena that visitors to our country find startling. She was delighted with Rev. Tinsley’s findings and only after the service did I learn that she and her family had come here not long ago from Germany with Volkswagen. She confirmed what he said!

You know what missionaries say is the No. 1 idol in America?  Our stomachs. Seriously, it seems there is a restaurant or fast-food franchise or grocery store on every corner. Foreigners cannot get over our country’s obsession with food. You know that it is true; we eat too much. Obesity has been epidemic in the United States and with juvenile diabetes rates soaring, we can hardly wait to try a triple patty bacon burger with three different kinds of cheeses. Every gasoline station has a Food Market.

Number Two on the list is our unquenchable lust to be entertained. Just look at March Madness, the college-basketball bonanza that requires four or five networks to televise every game – both men’s and women’s.  We idolize sports and rock concerts. We pay big bucks to go to the latest movies like the one just out about North Korea attacking The White House (Morgan Freeman gets us out alive, don’t worry).

While we have stopped reading books, taking hikes, and spending time with each other because we’ve got to watch a key exhibition game before Major League baseball starts in earnest next Monday. And idols? There are more cars in the Chattanooga area right now bearing the distinctive “A” of the University of Alabama than the orange “T” of Tennessee. We are fickle, fierce and protective of our teams, and will actually fist-fight over our zany loyalties.

But the best of all is when they talk about our chairs. “They walk in our houses and look at our chairs … every chair is facing the television!” he said to the giggling congregation. “Some houses have a television in almost every room. If we wanted to visit with one another, to talk with our families, the chairs would be facing the other chairs but, no, each one is facing a talking box. It dominates our homes and people from other countries think that’s funny.”

Of course, he went on to say that God wants us to idolize Him, to give praise and adoration for the blessings He has bestowed on us. “But, sadly, we have so many different idols we don’t often enough leave room for Him. Someone gets a terrible illness or if there is a tragedy … none of the idols can help,” smiled Reverend Tinsley and, oh, he was so good.

You don’t believe it? Several years ago I had a chance to eat lunch with my two children at a restaurant. We greeted one another warmly, ordered off the menu then, as we were visiting, it suddenly seemed I was dominating the conversation, which I am wont to do. I studied each of my grown children and they both had their faces turned downward, their fingers and thumbs furiously tapping out text messages on the “idols.”

That is when I promised I would never, ever text unless it is an emergency. People get mad because I don’t answer my phone, instead checking messages whenever I have time to do so. I refuse to be a slave to a cell phone, forget the fact I have one functional arm and the addendum that when I talk on the phone as I drive, nothing holds the steering wheel. Other drivers never fail to notice.

Idols are everywhere. For some it is money or a boat or far too big a garden. Far worse, it might be alcohol, drugs, porn, ambition, pride, or other “deadly sins.” Face it, we have all got idols, “false gods” in our lives exactly like the golden calf the Israelites had built that caused Moses to break the Tablets. Are you kidding me?

According to Tim Tinsley – who has been keeping score – they are food, entertainment and chairs. And there is not a thinking person in the country who today isn’t a slave or sorts to one idol or another. Please, Tim is the preacher – not me – but it seems to me all of us can do a little better than that.

royexum@aol.com


Kudzu Incursion On Scenic Highway

I don't know if I am the only Lookout Mountain resident to notice that Scenic Highway is about to be one and a half lanes. Kudzu is encroaching over the guard rail and onto the road. In many places you can no longer tell where the road ends and the guard rail begins. A number of new and older drivers don't need to be guessing about where the road ends. Tommy Dickinson (click for more)

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

16-Year-Old Shot Near Emma Wheeler Homes

A 16-year-old was shot near Emma Wheeler Homes on Sunday night. At approximately 7:40 p.m., Chattanooga Police received a call of a person shot from a local hospital. Officers spoke to the victim, a 16-year-old black male, who was transported to a local hospital in a personal vehicle. The victim’s injury is minor and non-life threatening. Investigators spoke to the victim ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Worley-Powered Vols Clobber Utah State, 38-7, In Opener

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee, trying to snap out of the doldrums of four consecutive losing seasons, started its 2014 campaign in fine fashion Sunday night before a season opening sellout crowd of 102,445 that endured a heavy rain story 30 minutes prior to kickoff. And senior quarterback Justin Worley, who missed the final four games in 2013 after undergoing thumb surgery, was ... (click for more)

Lookouts Reach Southern League Northern Division Playoffs With Doubleheader Win Over Smokies

The Chattanooga Lookouts are now playoff bound after sweeping a double-header against the Tennessee Smokies  to clinch the Southern League North Division for the second half of the season. The first game of the double-header was backed by a masterful gem of a game thrown by the starter for the Lookouts, Steve Smith (W, 3-2). Smith dominated the Smokies' lineup from top ... (click for more)