Giving up the Idols

The speaker we had for the second week at Camp Arnes was Nathan Reiger. He spoke to us about three kinds of idols; idols of power, idols of value and idols of pleasure.  This is an overview of the main ideas that he wanted to get across.

Nathan started off by talking to us about idols, religions that use them and their significance in different cultures.  He mainly focused on his travels through India, his experience with Hinduism and the gods that the culture has.  Nathan told us about some of the crazy stuff he experienced there.  One event was when an elderly woman died from cancer and was being taken down to their cemetery.  A couple of East Indians practicing Christianity came out, laid their hands on her, prayed and healed her and instantly she came back to life, perfectly healthy. The primary lesson that Nathan was trying to teach our group was that there is only one God and there can be no other God before Him.  To help get this across, Nathan also told us about how he tried converting an East Indian man to Christianity, he gave the man a symbol of Jesus on the cross, but the man just ended up putting the symbol on his fireplace mantle alongside the other gods he had.

Nathan told us the concept of idols, why we have them, and how they control us.  He told of many other stories about himself and others he has met along his travels who had idols in their lives. Through those stories, he told us how they were able to recognize their idols, why they have them, and how to give them up and crush them so they could finally live a better life knowing God for the first time.  Nathan was able to convey the lessons of having only one God and giving up your idols very well, and we were impacted a lot by it.

The main concepts we took away from his lessons;

  • There is only one true God
  • That everyone has idols
  • There is a way to get rid of them
  • It’s never to late to do it

I also asked my group; “How has your mindset changed since our sessions with Nathan?”.  These are a few of their responses:

  • “Idols don’t always have to be physical”
  • “Idols can be more than objects, they can be internal, and I really value the tools Nathan gave us to work through our idols”

The process of giving up you idols:

  • Recognize – realize your idols and where they come from
  • Reevaluate – think about what the idols says about you with a critical eye
  • Renounce – gather your strength to say no, be aware of it, realize you don’t need it, give it up and know that down the line your better off without it.
  • Reach across – break the rating system
  • Rebel alliance – gather others who have the same issues, help each other out, keep one another accountable in a community

With a new understanding of the concept of idols from his intense stories, and an understanding of the process to give them up, Nathan gave us the opportunity to share our idols. On the last day of class we were moved enough to admit our idols and get them off our chests. We saw that we weren’t judged, but instead loved and supported.  There was an awkward silence before one person started sharing their idol, but after that the ball kept rolling. There was although a feeling of nervousness and guilt in the air. The more sharing there was the more tears there were. After every confession of an idol Nathan prayed for us.  It was a bittersweet time of love, sorrow, guilt, shame and peace.  By the end of it, we all felt more at peace as we recognized the love and support of our group’s community.  Afterwards we all prayed together and shared our two cents of love and support for another.  I can definitely say that I felt a sense of relief after that, and I’m pretty sure everyone else did too.

~ Matthew Dueck