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Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life
Author: Elizabeth Scalia
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Imprint: Ave Maria Press
On-sale date: May 6, 2013
Renowned in the blogosphere as The Anchoress and as Catholic Portal editor of the popular Patheos.com, Elizabeth Scalia offers a powerful critique of the “gods” we worship today, reminding readers that life’s deepest desires can be satisfied only in Christ.
Strange Gods, Scalia's debut book, is packed full of the iconoclastic vim and vigor that has won her a large, faithful Internet following. She presents readers with a surprising look at the ways in which modern people still commit the sin of idolatry in their everyday lives. While literal golden calves no longer dot the landscape, Scalia describes how legitimate loves become obsessively twisted into idols. She unmasks idolatry in a number of everyday experiences—friendships that become needy or possessive, commitments political and religious that grow so intense they lead to hatred of others, to name a few—and points to the incarnation of Christ and authentic worship of him as a way out of idolatry and into peace, happiness, and love.
"A must-read for all who seek the Lord in spirit and in truth.”
“Elizabeth Scalia masterfully presents insights in regard to the first, and yet most frequently unobserved, of all the commandments: You shall have no other gods other than the one, true God. This book provides an important message for the culture and is a must-read for all who seek the Lord in spirit and in truth.”
Rev. Robert Barron
Founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
“Provocative, insightful, bold, inspiring, and faith-filled."
“Provocative, insightful, bold, inspiring, and faith-filled, Elizabeth Scalia's musings as the Anchoress never fail to gain wide readership among Catholics of every stripe. She is committed to her faith, to her church, and to God. She uses her considerable talents to share these commitments, and her joy in being Catholic, with others—online and now in print.”
James Martin, S.J.
Author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything
"A much-needed wake-up call.”
“Strange Gods will leave you shocked by just how many things you’ve turned into idols, and inspired to turn back to the only one who is really worthy of our worship. Thank you to Elizabeth Scalia for a much-needed wake-up call.”
Blogger at Conversion Diary
"Scalia shows us how to find the love and peace we’ve always really wanted."
“Creation is supposed to be sacramental: a window into and a rumor of the glory of God. But precisely because it’s so beautiful, we can make the mistake of worshipping and serving created things instead of the Creator. We are like children who want the box and throw away the present on Christmas morning. Elizabeth Scalia shows us how to find the love and peace we’ve always really wanted by turning away from idols to the living God made fully manifest in Jesus Christ.”
Mark P. Shea
Author of The Heart of Catholic Prayer
"An important and courageous new book."
“In her important and courageous new book, Strange Gods, Elizabeth Scalia presents us with a truth we avoid at our own peril: four thousand years after Yahweh declared, ‘You shall have no other gods before me,’ our own idol-making far outstrips that of the ancient world. A fascinating perspective on one of the most urgent spiritual problems of our era.”
Author of Simplifying the Soul
“Elizabeth Scalia is a true post-modern anchoress."
“Elizabeth Scalia is a true post-modern anchoress, writing with honesty what she has learned of God’s mystery from within her digital cell. Strange Gods is a meditation on a perennial truth: all of us face the temptation of confusing God with our selves. Like her medieval ancestors in faith, this anchoress sees through the distractions that ensnare us, and invites us to refocus our desire on what is most lasting— a rich, broad, deep understanding of love, and an equally rich, broad, and deep probing into the mystery of God.”
Coauthor of Into the Deep
"This book is a keeper."
“Elizabeth Scalia showed me just how many unrecognized ‘little idols’ I have that shove God further out of reach. It isn't because he has moved away, as she points out, but because I can't have a meaningful conversation if I'm only willing to talk to myself in the mirror about how wonderful I am. If for no other reason, you need this book to contemplate her focus on the Beatitudes, which was a wake-up call on how to apply that central piece of Scripture to my own life. This book is a keeper so I can reread it when I need to remember how the cross shatters the snares that bind me.”
Author of Happy Catholic
“We need to be challenged by one of our own, someone who knows by experience that we are opinionated, noisy, cluttered, and busy in our homes and offices. Someone who knows our offices are often in our homes. Who relates to how easily distracted we are by chimes, buzzes, beeps, chirps, ringtones, pings, and other alerts that mean someone is trying to reach us—how we respond to them quickly with riveted attention, and how uncomfortable we are with silence. This is that challenge. It’s an alert that someone is indeed trying to reach us, but in the still small voice we don’t hear while hitting the refresh tab and checking social media inboxes, eager for the next message. Elizabeth Scalia knows, and characteristically nails it with irresistible appeal because she says it colorfully and well, what we know and what we haven’t yet figured out. We need pithy messages. This is pithy: God still runs the ultimate social network and the commandments still rule—and the first two contain them all. The key is Love, which is inexpressibly beyond ‘Like.’ And it constitutes the only comfort zone we can know in the human network, and the only connection we’ll ever need to the eternal.”
Host of A Closer Look and Network News Director
"A clear, intelligent guide."
“Today, there are many ‘Caesars’ who demand your allegiance: technology, money, sex, and power. So how can we resist? Elizabeth Scalia shows the way in Strange Gods: a clear, intelligent guide for those radicals who want to subvert these false lords and bow to the one true God.”
Author of The Church and New Media
"A worthy book-length meditation."
“In this worthy book-length meditation, super-blogger Elizabeth Scalia posits that the strangest (false) god of all is the god we make of ourselves. She shows us the ways we become enslaved and ensnared. She guides us to more fully surrender in prayer. She reflects on the difficult but essential task of detaching with love.”
Author of Shirt of Flame