So now David Bowie has died. Another in a long line of pop culture icons are dropping. Maybe not like flies, but considerable amounts to make one pause and contemplate our own mortality. I mean, if one of our gods can die (this one of cancer), where does that leave us mere mortals?
So now, I hope you can pick up on the tongue-in-cheek satire I’m aiming for. By no means am I gleefully celebrating the death of someone; another tender soul has passed on beyond the veil of this life, into the unknown, their fate undetermined by the rest of us who have yet to pass on. For that, I mourn. Not because I was I was particularly a fan of Bowie’s (I owned one album, and that was a fluke as it was sent to me uninvited by the record club I was a part of back in the later part of the 1980s), more of a casual interest because of his presence in pop culture (i.e.- Top 40 radio and odd movie appearances). Verily, his status as a god of the modern pop culture is unquestionable.
But the question remains: When a god dies, where does that leave us? Of course, nowadays we refer to them as “celebrities”, “heroes” and, with or without the irony, “idols”. But, if we want to be really honest with ourselves, let’s step back for a bit and call them what they really are to us: gods. Lower-case “g”, but gods nonetheless.
And while I could make this admittedly freestylin’ from-the-hip spontaneous article of mine a rant about how American culture worships these secular gods of our making, I’ll be as transparent as possible and let you all in on a bit of a dirty secret we Christians don’t normally want any outsiders to know: we have our own little “gods” that we worship, our own little Christianized pop culture idols that we look up to and worship, whether we know it or not.
I’m not going to list everything that we tend to worship. No, I’m going to just list the gods I worship: relationships, Christian metal and rock, pastors, sociopolitical causes, sex, food, certain Bible translations…these are the ones that spring right to mind. I’m sure there’s more, but right now these are the spontaneous ones.
And I know all too well what happens to my idols, my little gods that I want to place alongside my Father God in my adoration and worship:
After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and his hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshhold; only his body remained. – 1 Samuel 5:1-4
All of those little gods that I mentioned above, no matter how resplendent I make those, dressed in nice Chrisianised euphemistic finery, I’ve seen GOD not only toppel to the ground, but also destroy and turn to dust right before my eyes. But, the biggest little god is my own self, and I feel that being pummeled to dust by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Quite frankly, I can’t wait until that god is dead and rendered to ashes. Because I used to love that little god, but it turned out to be more of a destructive tyrant than I could ever imagine.