August 17, 2019
“Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you and turn your hearts to the LORD…” (Joshua 24:14-29)
Some things never change, do they? Words spoken by Joshua around 1300 BC are just as pertinent today as they were then. Obviously, mankind has difficulty following instructions.
The only thing that has changed between then and now is the type of “strange gods” that need to be put away. And unfortunately, I think the “strange gods” of today are even stranger.
What are the “strange gods” in your life?
On the topic of strange gods in today’s world, the following is a brief practice homily I gave back in 2011 while still in formation for the diaconate:
We stopped at the drug store on Friday to pick up a few things: Suave Body Wash – ‘Ocean Breeze’ – infused with mineral rich sea algae extract. Clean and Clear Facial Cleanser with bursting beads and vitamin C and ginseng added. Pantene Shampoo – ‘Smooth and Sleek’ – silicone free. Pantene Conditioner – the companion ‘Smooth and Sleek’ product. Degree Anti-Perspirant – red satin with TriClear – unbeatable on white marks. Those items – along with toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, blow dryer and curling iron – are what keep Carol and I looking so good.
If I wanted to, I could take my iPhone and laptop into a room and never have to leave that room or talk to another person again. I could interact with others via text, e-mail, and Facebook. I could order in food. I could buy anything I needed via Amazon. I could stream the NFL play-offs on my laptop. If I had a question, I could Google it. And there are Apps for everything else I might need or want.
I used to have a job that defined me. Some of you may be like this now. You spend all of your time working. Even when you’re not at work, you’re working at home; and if you’re not physically working, you are thinking about work. You have a hand in everything because you want to be the best. You want to be successful. You want people to point at you and say, “He is good at his job.” So you don’t delegate and you don’t trust. You need to do it all. Your job is 24-7. It is who you are.
Remember Cabbage Patch Kids? They were all the rage. They flew off the shelves as quickly as trucks could get them to the stores. The year they came out, some people camped out and stood in line for four days to get one. At a retail store in a small rural town, one person was trampled to death and six people injured when the doors of the store opened and people raced to grab a Cabbage Patch Kid.
I want a limo to take me everywhere like they do on Housewives of Beverly Hills. I want a house like the one I saw on MTV’s Celebrity Cribs – I think it was Lil’ Wayne’s house. I want to buy a boat. I’m a little scared of water, so I want a big boat – the bigger the better.
I want to be more handsome, smarter, and funnier. Oh, and I wish I could sing.
I don’t have much to say about our reading from Joshua. There was one passage that caught my eye. It said: ““Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you and turn your hearts to the LORD…”
Maybe this is why people struggle with the Old Testament. Really? Strange gods? We don’t worship golden calves or sacrifice goats these days. How is modern society supposed to relate to strange gods? We are civilized! Modern society does not worship strange gods anymore!