American Idols

American Idols


I have a secret, I live for a thing

I say I know better, I say God’s my King

But reality’s flesh and questing for bread

Has my vanity seeking its bracing instead


Don’t insult me by saying I “live for the dollar”

Or “happiness isn’t the color of collar”

To say I seek money is crude and passé

I’ve got current names to help forge my way


What’s your god or idol—your reason for being?

That slippery promise you find yourself clinging?


Some live for credit, respect or fame

“For the sake of the Lord, I must have my good name!”

Oh, but that’s silly, I know that the Lord

Does not need the me-driven merits I hoard

He needs no one’s coattails, no one’s good grace

(Although, for myself they’re quite tempting to chase)


Some evolve into living for gods claiming good

In the guise of striving as Jesus would

Their god is their fruit; or guilt makes them give

“If I do this for others, I might truly live!”

For penance or strokes or by misguided notion

The need for good record is cause for devotion


Whatever we value, therefore we seek

In turn, we might give it to those we deem meek

But presuming these others depend on our deed

What do our actions tell them they need?


Some futures are void of divine intuition

“My plans absolutely will come to fruition

With steely might, and my idol: control,

I’ll play my cards right, and not need a soul!”


Some need admiration to keep them in play

“How can I make people love me today?”


In the name of envy, some champion fairness

“If blessed with those things, I’d never be careless

My gifts are not precious, I’d rather be you

If I’ve got some hardship, you ought to have, too”


The Power-god deftly creates a division

Poor, weak-minded minions need hope from religion

‘Invisible’ God is for those who will fail

The paramount requisite is to prevail”


Some gods will tout no real megawatt worth

They say “Just find meaning in roles here on Earth

Seek no harm or grandness, and you’ll get the nod

Have your hopes to get by, but none to know God”


The god of the past and of circumstance now

Says “Joy’s at the mercy of me somehow!

To ensure good tomorrows, sell out to a plan

That doesn’t depend on divinity’s hand”


Some have been trapped by the god of dejection

Destruction of worth is their only projection

We’re wonderfully made, but their lies will sound true

Like, “We’re not the problem, the filth is you!”


The wisdom of Earth looks you straight in the eyes

And says “Letting go is reeeeeally not wise”


Living for comfort, you won’t have to share

If you don’t have to hurt, you don’t have to care


Logic imprisons with doubt for great lengths

“Just love with your mind, ditch your heart and your strength!”

But doubt’s pregnant bond means Light is nearby

As we wrestle in dust, and lean toward the sky…


We’ll worship talent, depend on success

And with insecurity, pile on excess

“Pick me!”  The gods call, “I am what you need

I’m purpose, fulfillment if only you’ll heed”


They thieve us with worry, tell us to begrudge

And offer beholders a conscience to judge

When minds are captive to their cunning quorum

A chance for Christ turns into mind-numbing boredom

They distance the mind from our grave consequence

And deter us from choosing obedience


We prize them intensely, but if one should fall

Life won’t seem worth living, we’ll think we’ve lost all!

And though there’s an Infinite reason to live

That Truth gets denied by the great ego’s sieve


“Seek first the Lord!”  Is the cry of the Cross

“All else will lead you to nothing but loss”

But increasing flesh is our near-sighted choice

Creations corruption began with this voice

Why do we, in frailty, seek only fraud?

Crumbling entities rather than God?


No! Let’s climb to the highest terrestrial rung

To the level which we can still carry our dung

And we might hear this, (but we won’t think it matters)

Heaven’s for people who fall from their ladders”


I said “I believe” when my faith was begun

But I’ve no faith to say “Thy will be done”

Not if it threatens that thing that I grasp

Not if unclenching is what I’m being asked


But now I feel far from anything Holy

I don’t have the strength to resist as gods pull me

Yet, past the veil, surprised, I would see

The arch-god empowering these idols is me


To the heartache of God, who’d fill any taker

The Tempter turns eyes to the made from the maker

Continuing, foolishly acting the pawn

He rusts and reveals what doesn’t live on

Hoping that we will so choose and assume

This decay for our soul’s eventual doom


But how does one find that Great Kingdom shrouded

If beauty means “profit” to eyes that are clouded?

Perhaps to “deserve” isn’t the goal

For that which I earn does not make me whole…

Are my beloved idols my spirit’s demerits?

But if I renounced them, what might I inherit?


The cause of my illness is my woeful crown

My god-centered foolishness won’t put it down

This terminal safety I seek for myself

Is what I consider to be my great wealth

Should I be remorseful?  I see no plight!

Half of the world calls my gods a “right”!


The name of my idol?  It’s unknown, I’d say

I loathe to acknowledge the weight of my day

I have a secret; I say that I’m free

But this bondage is even a secret from me


My motives are spawned by a hidden infection

It’s daunting to face an impoverished reflection

To keep myself full

I cover my soul

With layers on layers of “rightful” protection

One thought on “American Idols

  1. I love the Screwtape quality to this post. “But the bondage is even a secret from me.” Wisdom–to write and confess. If only we could all be this honest (and creative!). As always, you are amazing.

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