Jesus Meets Shadow

December 8, 2015

Imagined by Neil Gaiman:

“Have you ever thought about what it means to be a god?” asked the man.  He had a beard and a baseball cap. “It means you give up your mortal existence to become a meme: something that lives forever in people’s minds, like the tune of a nursery rhyme. It means that everyone gets to recreate you in their own minds. You barely have your own identity any more. Instead, you’re a thousand aspects of what people need you to be.  And everyone wants something different from you.  Nothing is fixed, nothing is stable.”

But you’re so successful,” said Shadow. “Look at this place.” He gestured, indicating paintings on the walls, the hardwood floors, the fountain in the courtyard below them. His friend nodded. “It has a cost,” he said.  “Like I said, you have to be all things to all people. Pretty soon, you’re spread so thin you’re hardly there at all. It’s not good.”

Conversation between Jesus and Shadow in Neil Gaiman, Appendix, American Gods: Author’s Preferred Text (William Morrow, 2001, 2013).


About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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