When I was a young girl, sometimes I’d look out the window and find my dad in the corner of the backyard, with puffs of smoke rising up from in front of him. Naturally, I’d scurry over to see what he was doing, and I would find books burning in a big vase we had, the pages with Chinese characters blackening and curling up as it turned into ash. And then I’d usually find little broken pieces of ceramic statues in the dirt. Then he’d hand me the hammer and invite me to pound down the pieces on the floor, or let me throw books into the fire.
One of my dad’s responsibilities in the church is to welcome newcomers, mostly consisting of non-Christians. Every Thursday night, to this day, he’ll eat dinner early so he can go through the stack of contact cards from the last Sunday. He’ll call every one of them, welcoming them to the church and getting to know them. Then, if they had never heard the gospel before, he’ll invite them to his Bible Study on Friday nights, where him and other members of the church will explain the gospel to them and answer their questions, for as many Fridays as they’d like. The majority of these people would be Chinese immigrants, and many would become Christians.
Lots of them would be leaving a religion behind, usually idol or ancestor worship. As new Christians, they wouldn’t be totally sure what was “acceptable” or not now that they were Christians. So, they would naturally invite my dad over to their apartment or house, and he would basically search and purge the place for anything that sets itself up against Christ or resembled idolatry. He’d scoop them up and bring them to our house, to burn and destroy the next day, which I was more than eager to help him do. To this day, whenever I go to someone’s apartment and see a dragon statue or something of the sort sitting innocently on a mantle, the owner placing it there for oriental appeal, I think of how fun it would be to smash it into bits.
I wish it was that simple to search and destroy idols in my life. I wish they were easier to see, and wouldn’t so subtly creep in. Just pull ’em out, pound them to a fine dust, and walk away. It would make following Jesus a walk in the park.
By the way, my dad is pretty cool.