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Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life
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Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Renowned in the blogosphere as The Anchoress and as Catholic portal editor of the highly trafficked, Elizabeth Scalia brings her iconoclastic vim and vigor to this, her debut trade book. Scalia offers a powerful critique of the "gods" we worship today, reminding readers that life's deepest desires can only be satisfied in Christ.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published May 6th 2013 by Ave Maria Press (first published April 22nd 2013)
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I'm no expert on Elizabeth Scalia, except that every time I take the time to read her or listen to her, I'm struck to the core.

I'm not a newsie, so I often find myself not reading her blog. Even so, I'll catch her commentaries on things that not only hit the nail on the head but pull my heart from my chest in a recognition that I can only call frightening.

Truth, though a pursuit, isn't necessarily comfortable. Truth, though a goal, isn't necessarily easy. Truth, though a fine thing to talk about
As captivating and as provocative as her blog posts, Elizabeth Scalia’s StangeGods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, is an eye-opening account of how we, as believers, who think of idolatry as ancient practice, have made idols out of many things in our lives – technology, coolness and sex, and even our plans. Although it was a little shocking to discover these idols exist, at times, even in my own life, I was also comforted by the fact that there are ways to eliminate them.

Scalia writes in
Frank Roberts

Scalia exposes the major "gods" that many of us worship in today's society: the gods of Self, of Coolness, of Ideology, of our Plans, of Technology. Truly much of what ails us is the result of our having placed these other gods before (that is, in interference between us and) God.

Luke Brown
Everything in our lives has the potential to become an idol, usually unintentionally. "The most painful truth is that the first and most difficult idol to dislodge is the idol of oneself." The idol of the idea, or the god of "we've always done it this way." The idol of prosperity. The idol of technology including the internet. "The internet might well be the greatest temper to ego gratification since the hissing serpent of Eden. ...the internet is a most cunning inducement to idolatry." The idol ...more
Pat Gohn
The Ten Commandments first declare, "I am the LORD your God... You shall have no other gods before me." (Ex 20: 2-3 rsv). And yet, we do. This thoughtful and thought-provoking book, Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, exposes to our chagrin, yet ultimately to our benefit, that this premiere command of the Decalogue cannot be overlooked if we are to ever dare to live the other nine. Armed with faith in the graces that that sustain us in our failures, plus witty sensibilities regar ...more
Julie Davis
The "you shall nots" are less a list of restrictions and limitations than an invitation to keep turning back to God, who will "satisfy the desire of every living thing." (Ps 145:16). The "shall nots" say, "Don't steal that, look at me. Don't objectify her with lust; look at me. Don't nurse your anger unto death! Look at me. Do not look out over there, not even to your past, be it good or bad; and do not look to your earthly desires. look at me, and let me love you, and you will have no need of t
Kathleen Basi
From the moment I read the teasers online, I knew this book was saying everything I've been thinking for years and wanting to have the courage to say aloud. Having read it now, I can say that she said it far better than I ever could have. Everyone who calls themselves Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant, needs to read this book.

I need to read this book again--because although it's very easy to recognize others' idols, it is more important (and much trickier) to identify my own.
Elizabeth Scalia's Strange Gods is a great palate-cleanser that I ate up in one morning of a recent snow day (what I intended as a Lenten read turned into a pre-Lenten read). She very succinctly articulates a few of the major attachments that every one of us allows ourselves to be ruled by at one time or another-technology, sex, plans, money, ideas, social esteem-and offers personal anecdotes about her moments of weakness and efforts to overcome her own idols. Grounded in Gregory of Nissa's rema ...more
A very readable, short book that gets right to the point: Anything that gets between us and our relationship with God is an idol. Even the seemingly innocuous, mundane and everyday thoughts, feelings & especially our ideas can become our idols. Read it and see for yourself...
Lots to think about. It is so easy to make idols without even realizing it. The Anchoress nails quite a few idols and gives great examples of how our world today encourages idol making. She also suggests why we should not have idols and how to make God first.
Mary Frances
Not really too impressed.There are a few good observations, a few surprises in a book written by a conservative Catholic, but overall I found the author lacking in depth. I am put off by the name of her blog, The Anchoress, which I find a bit arrogant, and I admit that may have gotten us off on the wrong foot. But I was struck with the conventionality of her thoughts, when I was looking for a sign that she had followed a path into a deeper consideration of her faith. Far from being an iconoclast ...more
I've been reading Elizabeth Scalia (aka The Anchoress) for a number of years, She is always thoughtful and insightful. Normally I read at white hot speed, but I have been slowly savoring this book a bit at a time. It is superb.
Excellent book on modern idolatry. I think it could profitably have been longer. Scalia uses many personal examples, and she's a very engaging writer.
Maureen Kosa
A lot to think about; the first chapter was extremely timely for me. I highly recommend this book.
Jun 02, 2013 Julia added it
Elizabeth Scalia does not disappoint.
Much of Scalia's book was not new to me. I mean, who doesn't know that they spend too much time on Facebook? who isn't aware that they are a little too attached to their possessions? I did like the discussion of idols we don't even think about most days, e.g. coolness (which is passed off as sophistication or cynicism) or habitual behaviors (we've always done it this way and we don't want to change). All of these things--the Internet, the stuff, our coolness, our habits--they are all things whic ...more
I'll confess, it took me sometime to want to read this book. I wanted to read it, sort of. Maybe. But sometimes Catholic self-help books start to all sound alike. So I usually prefer to pick up my Pocket St. Thomas and have it done with. Its more to the point that way. It must have been on a whim, then, when I added Scalia's book to my library "hold" request a few weeks back. I wish I had read it sooner.

Any trepidation I had for "just another Catholic spiritual book" faded with the Introduction.
James Andersen
I read this book originally, under the aegis of elucidating my psychological understandings of the person, as illuminated by Sacred Scripture which I feel is important to take into account as a therapist in training. This book aligns perfectly spiritual idols and psychological obsessions/fixations.

This book I believe (without possibly knowing it) elucidates at the heart of Our Anxieties, Our Fears, and Our Unhealthy Obsessions and provides the Treatment for them. Granted, this treatment is more
I found the idols that Scalia explores very relevant to my spiritual struggles and so I was grateful for the chance to think about them. The chapters on the Idol of I, the Idol of the Idea, and the Idol of Plans were particularly valuable and enlightening. I've never thought of myself as letting plans stand so firmly between me and God that I tend to turn them into an idol, but Scalia showed me that I do.

The writing, however, was too informal in many places and the whole book seemed like severa
Maybe it's me, but while this book may help with identifying idols, it provides little practical help in turning away from them and not getting sucked in again. It's not in identifying them that I was looking for help, but in dealing with them.
Cara Barkis
Just finished...been awhile since a book made me say wow after I finished. Lots of food for thought.
Highly recommend!
The message was great, but it covered the topics at a surface level; it could have been a series of really excellent blog posts.
Gin Tadvick
If I had one, I would put this book on my "Re-read" shelf. I found Idols everywhere in my everyday life and therefore I think that just one reading of this book, is not enough to remind me or make me stop - either frequently or infrequently - to look at the idols that I am placing before God.
I cannot say how much this book challenged me. These are hard sayings, but I am thankful to have them in my eyes, working their way into my heart. I have purchased this book and am looking forward to going back to it over and over.
Pamela Strickland
I really liked this book. It was challenging and very thought-provoking. Elizabeth Scalia serves as a beacon of truth on the rocky shoreline of our idol-strewn journey through life.
A good Lenten read for Christians of all stripes,understanding that the author is looking at the issue of everyday idolatry from a Roman Catholic standpoint.
Rachael Hollot
The book is short but has necessary food for thought.
Marietta marked it as to-read
May 22, 2015
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“I look at our modern mania for educational credentials as a kind of idol—a thing so burnished and glittery that sometimes the perfect candidate for a position is never seen because the required credential is hovering between him and Human Resources; and the idol—the thing that reflects our self-imaginings back to us—must be served. If a company sees itself as a bastion of certified intellectuals, it will seek out credentials that validate that idea, even if it means missing out on acquiring an autodidact in the process.” 0 likes
“We are in a place of deep cynicism, but that is rarely acknowledged, because so many of us residing within this disordered idol's shadow confuse cynicism with cleverness.” 0 likes
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