Monday, January 7, 2008

Don’t Be a Nincompoop

“I’ve got a golden ticket! I’ve got a golden ticket!” shouted the five children allowed to enter the secretive chocolate factory. But one by one their privileges were taken away when their behavior turned sour. As each child exits the scene, the little men working in the factory usher them out with a song.

When we first meet the Oompa Loompa’s, Willie explains that they came from Loompaland where they ate green slimy disgusting caterpillars (which my daughter can demonstrate with spaghetti noodles). Because their diet was so unpleasant, they worshiped the cocoa bean. Literally. A giant cocoa bean mascot danced around while they bowed down to it.

My eldest daughter stopped at this point in the movie and turned to me to say, “Mom, that’s very bad. We’re only supposed to worship God.” Hmmm, I think she might have a point here. Idolatry takes many forms, doesn’t it?

Is longing for chocolate all day long, slurping it down as if I might never see it again, hoarding it away in my purse, or chewing on candy like a ravenous cow the same as worshiping chocolate? Augustus Gloop embodies the sin of gluttony and we learn from him not to worship chocolate, because then we might just go shooting up a pipe and be turned into chocolate covered cherry fudge. (Not a fate I desire).

Or perhaps it isn’t the chocolate that garners your worship, but the flying glass elevator. Yes, I want one too! But, the idolatry of greed, a.k.a lusting after possessions, will only lead to making friends with garbage in the incinerator. A greedy heart is as gross as banana peels that are four weeks old.

Our society glamorizes people who are driven and who pursue excellence at all costs. But pride is just as ugly as gluttony though its effects may not be as obvious. The idolatry of success turned Violet Beauregard a nice shade of violet.

Are the youth of today more preoccupied with obtaining knowledge (however trivial) from a rectangular box that beams in worldly messages 24-7? Too much television might create little “know-it-alls” who have a passion for one thing only: entertainment. This form of idolatry seems to be rather rampant today, but beware for the results may be a transformed person, and not at all in a good way.

A silly little children's story has been transformed into a four point sermon - that's what comes of a little chocolate and the Bible! I'm reminded that the sins of gluttony, pride, greed and other forms of idolatry are pretty ugly - and I certainly don't want them to define my character. The consequences of such behavior doesn't sound so great either: being pulled by the taffy machine or juiced in the juicer are not appealing options.

And as my kids would mimic Willie Wonka, I greet you and shake you wamly by the hand. "Good morning starshine, the earth says Hello."


Denise said...

Great post.

lori said...

oh read my mind..
I am facilitating a session with the 7th and 8th graders this weekend at church...called JAM (Jesus and Media) and you nailed it!
idols take all forms...cell phones, cameras, myspace...(that is what we are speaking on) It can all be used for such good, BUT if we aren't careful...idols they become...

wonderful, wise words...
you always seem to have something that just strikes a chord with me!!
hugs to you Heather..
and what a wise daughter you have..she got that "we are only supposed to worship God..."
you are doing something right momma...:)