Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Third Option

Another great quote from the Tim Keller profile at New York Magazine:
"Keller is on a promotional tour for Counterfeit Gods. Over the phone, in a car on the way to the St. Louis airport, he’s unpacking the Redeemer theology for me. His belief system is not the fundamentalist strain running through many of the Bible Belt megachurches—the “saved” us versus the “heathen” them. Nor is it the new-school “be a winner, praise the Lord,” Christian self-esteem-building ideology of Joel Osteen. Keller advocates something of a third option. He wants to call people’s attention to the emptiness of a way of living that overvalues worldly achievement and to help them see the spiritual benefits of accepting Jesus Christ, and all he stands for, as their savior. But Keller wants to do that in a way that’s not intellectually insulting or morally hectoring. What he refers to as “idols,” he says, are the things we’re so wrapped up in, it’s as if we worship them as gods, in place of the one true God. Traditional vices like sex and drink can be idols, he says, but more insidious can be traditional virtues like hard work and family—“good” things that we can mistake for “ultimate” ones. “The way you can tell your love for something has turned idolatrous is that you basically destroy the thing you love,” he says. “Overwork often leads to destruction—people who overreach and cheat or have health breakdowns. If you put too much on your children, your kids can be crushed by your expectations for their happiness and success.”"