So, I wasn’t planning on posting today. I mean, hey, it’s almost 11 p.m. Why bother, right? But I feel compelled. And I did have a thought leap to mind.
I’m reading a novel by Neil Gaiman called American Gods and it’s an interesting read. Not finished with it yet but I wanted to share a little something from the novel that made me think about some stuff. What I’ll be saying here really shouldn’t be any kind of spoiler, but if you’re concerned I might ruin anything for you and you’re planning to read the book, take this opportunity to move on and catch up with me again tomorrow.
Anyway, in this novel, we meet a great many gods. Yeah, the kind you read about in mythology stuff in high school or college, and a lot of others that your instructor probably didn’t teach you about. The concept is that these manifestations of ancient gods are here in the United States because people essentially brought them with them in their minds, and caused them to exist, and their faith and worship and sacrifices made them as real as the original gods were. But, as worshippers declined and the religions faded, some of these gods died off. Others maintained existences but as these kind of sorry-ass individuals. They have powers that we don’t, but their lives aren’t anything to covet, and they certainly don’t seem very godlike.
The core conflict of the novel is the fact that these old gods have been targetted by the new gods for destruction. Those new gods are who, you might wonder?
Television. Casinos. Freeways. Internet and so on. These gods have physical manifestations and they walk among us and influence things at times.
What struck me as particularly interesting is that while the old gods scrape for any faith or remembrance or any kind of sacrifice to keep them going, the new gods of America are flush with not just “worshippers” but also sacrifices.
Our time is sacrificed to the television. Our money to the casinos. Things like that.
And what it made me realize is that even though this novel is a work of fiction, there is an essential truth there. Think of the time and money and other valuable resources of our lives that we throw at things that don’t really matter.
How many of us, myself included, are willing to spend hours on the Internet, yet precious few minutes so much as volunteering for a non-profit organization or giving our children the time they want and need, or reading God’s word? How many of us purport to worship God and actually worship everything but Him?
I’m not suggesting we toss away our temporal lives and go into the wilderness like John the Baptist or leave our families to go on missionary treks the rest of our lives, but I do think we should all reassess how much time we are willing to give to the modern gods we have created and how much more we should be giving to the God who created us.