A huge religious marketplace has been set up in North America to meet the needs and fantasies of people just like us. There are conferences and gatherings custom-designed to give us the lift we need. Books and videos and seminars promise to let us in on the Christian “secret” of whatever we feel is lacking in our life: financial security, well-behaved children, weight-loss, exotic sex, travel to holy sites, exciting worship, celebrity teachers. The people who promote these goods and services all smile a lot and are good-looking. They are obviously not bored.
It isn’t long before we are standing in line to buy whatever is being offered. And because none of the purchases does what we had hoped for, or at least not for long, we are soon back to buy another, and then another. The process is addictive. We have become consumers of packaged spiritualities.
This also is idolatry. We never think of using this term for it since everything we are buying or paying for is defined by the adjective “Christian.” But idolatry it is nevertheless: God packaged as product; God de-personalized and made available as a technique or program. The Christian market in idols has never been more brisk or lucrative.
– from Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
– 1 John 5:21