On Oct 25, 2011 The Herald Tribune announced a mysterious discovery. The body of one Ego Leonard was found washed up on Siesta Key Beach, Florida. He wasn’t dead, but he wasn’t alive either.
Ego Leonard was an 8-ft tall, 100-lb. fiberglass Lego man. The local who found the giant figurine, Jeff Hindman, reported his encounter to the authorities, who then attempted in vain to solve the enigma of Ego Leonard’s provenance. Hindman ended up selling it on e-Bay.
Incidentally, two similar creations washed up on the shores of Holland in 2007, and England in 2008. Those drifters also went unclaimed. The Lego company flatly disavowed these mutations of their iconic inch-high minifigures.
What makes Lego so marvelous is that each piece is fungible, and can plug into any structure made from Lego building blocks. This allows each brick to add a vital contribution to the creative Lego-scape they augment.
However, the giant versions floating in the ocean are not only creepy, they are utterly useless to the universal Lego system.
Some diligent Internet sleuthing tracked down a website that appeared to justify the existence of the “sculptures” with eerie philosophical ramblings. For example, the anonymous sculptor mused that
In the ‘real world’ there are many rules and regulations… Society requires that you place yourself in a certain group or else be considered an outsider. But there’s a genuine and sincere need for an authentic self and its further growth and development.“
I think what that means is that a person shouldn’t have to plug into the larger societal system (like Lego), but can find growth and development as an individual untrammeled by society’s expectations.
Ego Leonard may be an apt metaphor for individualistic people who glory in their social or political independence and non-conformity. But Ego also illustrates the problem with egotistical individualism in the church. Some Christians glory in their identity as a member of the Universal Church, while refusing to plug into any particular local church.
They are not bringing any meaningful contribution to the family of God, just like a lonely, useless, 8-ft Lego man adrift at sea, washed up on a beach, claimed by no one, with no apparent purpose, function or contribution to make.
In 1 Peter 2, the Apostle Peter was writing to scattered Christians who may have felt like they had been cut off from the Kingdom work in Jerusalem. But Peter assures them that they are still part of the universal system, with a vital role to play.
1 Pet 2:4-5 – As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
So how can you plug into the spiritual house and be a good brick?
4 Ways to Accomplish God’s Purpose for You in the Local Church (Or How Not to Be a Spiritual Drifter)
- Comprehend the Preciousness of the Church