Pillars are interesting things. They make interesting images, and they provide interesting metaphors. We all know what it means to be a ‘pillar of the community,’ or the ‘pillar of an organization.’ Local churches have a handful of people who are called ‘pillars of the church.’
Pillars can also define belief systems. There are the five pillars of Islam. And while no longer heard so commonly, some of us remember hearing about the pillars of American society, or the ‘pillars of a free society.’
Googling the word ‘pillar’ turned up something I had not considered.
Pillars and Idols
The reference to ‘stone, wood or metal’ is much like the Bible definition of idols [Dt 29:17]. It is expected also that idols will sit up erect and straight, unlike the unfortunate experience of Dagon [1Sa 5].
Also, both pillars and idols can be broken. Samson’s last chapter opens by recounting the great day of worship [Dagon style], but ends with him pulling down the pillars of the building [Jdgs 16:23-30]. So pillars do provide ‘essential support.’ But then again, so do idols, which is why the Philistine lords attributed the victory over Samson to Dagon.
Fallen Pillars, Fallen Idols
It can be disturbing to see your idols lie flat on their faces [1Sa 5]. This can create a theological crisis. But then, the disillusionment this involves can be very liberating also. This may be especially so when righteous pillars are replaced with wrongful and misguided ones. Hence today’s top photo with its five pillars:
- Denial of Reality
- Thought Control
- Projection of Guilt.
Today’s Friday Challenge
Most of us have at some time lost sight of the big picture or ‘gone off the deep end’ of some point we were making. If not, we’ve been manipulative, or wanted to connect someone with some verbal creativity. But these are not the pillars of our lives. That’s the rub. In some contexts, the ‘pillars’ are needed because without them, the whole edifice collapses.
What gods and pillars have you seen in Fundamentalism? What pillars have you seen fall? Why and to what end did this happen? What was left standing after the fall? What idols/pillars yet NEED to fall? And what things need to stand?