The level of conversation is even more shallow in the USA than in the UK. People in cafes and on the job chatter about stupid things all day. A tech comes into your office, resurrects a whole computer network, fingers flying, brain throbbing, and, as he boots up for the last time, and the system is humming gently and powerfully, he turns to you and says.....
"Won what" you ask?
VOLS game last night"
You have learned that you should be ready, so you tell him, "We won." As if you are proud to be one of the "we". The problem is, he wants the score, what the quarter back did, the coaches remarks for the camera, and you ought to know if Hunk Wippins kid is OK, the lineman whose kid got hit by a car. So, you have heard this and that in the break room as football junkies chattered their lives away, and you can stumble through a fair show of participation in advanced modern conversation. When this world class genius, who fixed your network, leaves, you feel like your intellect has been raped, right?
But, the most discouraging thing to me is that in the Lord's Church people don't talk much to each other. Meetings at the church house are not balanced with fellowship and good conversation, either in the homes between Sundays, or at the church house. Many churches have even abandoned church fellowship dinners. People flee from services and run home. When people do stop to talk, the conversation is often a lot of silly blather about weather, coon hunting, fishing, and football.
One of the most discouraging experiences I have these days is to start a conversation, move into topics that delve into the larger issues of life, and the other person gives me a blank stare. Having lived in Africa, researched many issues with which the Lord's Church has to do, traveled to other nations, and having pastored four churches, I am a scourge to most people. Most preachers have a level of conversation that I consider about 8th grade at best. Most American Christians have no concept of the world outside the USA, and many don't know what the USA is like beyond about a 100 mile radius around their home town. If you are willing to let TV set the pace for conversation, you can get about ten minutes of exchange of ideas, and then the other party forgets the end of the story. TV leaves people with two big impressions but on a mental dead end street. You have to take the two big impressions and try to help them find their way to a conclusion. In the end, you do all the talking.
I am no freak in this frustration. I have email from all around the world indicating that there are men, and ladies, all through the Lord's Church who feel starved for friends who can think and talk. I really don't give a fig what the latest bargain is at WalMart of Ace Hardware, but I find myself being dumbed down as I either join in or have virtually no one to talk to. If it were not for my family, and several email friends, I would go nuts, and for a Hollander, that don't take much, folks. :-)
Now, I will tell you where I have found good conversation, well sort of. With denominational people who are not very narrow biblically, with Catholic priests, with very worldly traveling people, with Arabs, Jews, Koreans, and Slavics. New York Liberals are good conversation. Even in local businesses I have found some interesting people. Problem-- They are all unsaved. Why do Christians have to be so utterly ignorant of the world around them. Oh, you will tell me that it is spiritual and godly to be as dumb as a door knob, right? Well, maybe you need to read the Bible. Maybe you missed this verse:
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
The mega church in the glorious new age of mongrel churchianity has many faults as to doctrine and programs. But, possibly the most grievous aspect of the mega church is the way it destroys the small group fellowship. Some effort to cause this to happen is made in some mega churches, but it is a highly structured farce.
The only solution, as I see it, is for pastors to MAKE time for people to just sit still and talk. The average pastor thinks that nervous frenzied activity is a sign that a church is healthy, and the more time the masses are watching the platform performance, the more of a rush they get. Who in the New Testament said that the Church of Jesus Christ needed a rush every twenty minutes?
Instead, these fool pastors have flocks of sheep that are blithering chatter boxes, and the painful part is this-- they are just as stupid about the deeper things of the Word of God as they are in other areas of thought. Like people, like priest. I must assume that we have thousands of very stupid preachers out there. I have met a good many who bore me stiff. Those of you who have a mind, who enjoy good conversation, would you PLEASE unload some of the hyperactivity and help your people learn to enlarge their minds?
By the way, what do you think we will talk about in heaven, foot ball? Do your people, when they are chatting and talking, sound like they are getting ready to go to heaven or to go find a bargain at a yard sale?
2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and
in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
If you have ever had Jewish friends, you will KNOW that these early church saints did not spend their time in pointless chatter. Is there ANY Fundamental Bible believing church anywhere that has a "house to house" church life? I don't know where it is.
The few people who read books prefer good feeling books about other people, how they done it honey, and how you can do it too. Everything from the gal in a wheel chair to the utterly profane, like how to have better Christian sex in marriage. Who buys the missionary biographies? Indeed, what publisher prints them? ZIP
If you will get on eBay and type in "missionary," you will find old missionary biographies galore. Be careful, but start buying the really old ones, and read about real saints. Also, you need to read about the world. There is reading on the web, but you need to pick a topic you don't know about well, and search for writing from rational sources on that topic. Then, go back to eBay, and find a book on the subject. What do you know about Arab culture. The media, and your Arab hating pastor, have made the Arabs into the enemy, and all you feel for them is hate, right? Well, did you know that God made prophecies to the Arabs, and they have a very special place in the coming Messianic Kingdom of Jesus Christ? Duh!
Your pastor would never preach on the Bible texts in that regard. Hate! Don't tell me your religion is all about love. It is about hate-- hate for anyone your pastor says is the bad guy. Hate for the other churches in town. Hate for the government. Hate for the Feds. Hate for the IRS. You need to flee this loonie bin and find rational friends. Spend a Sunday RESTING your mind with one or two friends, and talk-- Talk about Daniel 12, King Abdullah of Jordan, Romans 7-8, Javier Solana and the EU, Revelation 6, the degeneration in the Congo, John 15, and end with a prayer time for any missionaries you know in troubled nations.
You need to flee from you local church if your pastor discourages you from seeing each other between Sundays, if he shows no pleasure in visiting in the homes, if the pastor preaches love of God for you while he preaches hate for everyone AROUND you, if you are dumber now than you were when you first got saved. RUN-- get out of there.
You need the deliverance that comes from two sources-- The King James Bible (all of it), and read, read, read, read. Turn that hell box off in the corner that is connected to the cable. If you want to use it, make a LAW in your home that is it ONLY for documentary videos. Go back to eBay :-) Find some videos on other places. How about all the train videos. We have a bunch, and when we need to lighten up, we watch one. We LEARN something in the process. The day you think your brain benefits from coasting is the day you have committed intellectual suicide. Research PROVES that you will die sitting in the corner blubbering and grousing about the price of butter and milk. Leonard Verduin had one of the busiest minds I have ever known of. At 94, when he died, he was putting together a manuscript for a book on the excesses of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. His mind was fully engaged to the last hour.
Do we have any vices? One-- Bullwinkle (Full of adult humor that is not profane :-)
to the book by William Grady,
HEAVEN ONLY KNOWS why an unbelieving Jewish scientist in Los Angeles would be recommending a 1,000-page opus written by a pastor minister in Corryton, Tennessee (though we both hail from New York City). My reasons for doing so follow.
First, I consider Bill Grady to be one of the most unusual friends I have known in my eighty-four years.
Second, though unable to relate to the spiritual content of this book, I concur wholeheartedly with the author�s exceptional grasp of America�s current disastrous foreign policy, as well as our growing vulnerability in matters of national security.
Having been immersed in the �system� for over four decades (my endless protests resulting only in an early retirement), I can assure you that Bill hardly scratched the surface with regard to perfidy and corruption prevailing in our government. In nearly every instance, the underlying motive has been avarice, especially at the Defense Department. Albert Einstein was right when he stated (concerning the atomic age), �Everything has changed but human nature.�
Most Americans are totally oblivious to their precarious surroundings. Several years ago, my longtime friend and colleague Joe Douglass authored a book (America the Vulnerable: The Threat of Chemical and Biological Warfare) whose preface contained the following statement:
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for many of their leaders, charlatans like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, for instance, who are governed by little more than self-aggrandizement. I believe the single greatest weakness among the ranks of the Religious Right is gross naivet�. Apparently, few have the necessary chutzpa to ask the obvious questions.
Along this line of thought I will conclude my remarks by sharing a Jewish version of that timeless fable��The Emperor�s New Clothes.� The wisest utterance I�ve ever heard came from a rabbi who lived his life in the last century, in a small village in Lithuania, the land of my ancestors who also lived in small villages (my grandfather was a village blacksmith, his father a peasant tilling soil from dawn to dusk). The rabbi, venerated by everyone in the village for his wisdom, grew old and older and one day he lay dying in his bedroom. In the room were his immediate family, including his loving wife. In the adjoining room were his closest relatives. Outside the house were more distant relatives and friends and all the nice Jewish people of the village who so loved and respected him, who formed a long line going down the street.
All of them wanted to be kept up to date on the rabbi�s condition. One of them at the end of the line, the village idiot, wanted to know whether the rabbi had passed on any last words. So he tapped the person in front of him on the shoulder and asked that the word get off to the rabbi�s wife as to what his last words were. The query worked its way down the line and into the bedroom to the wife, who realized there weren�t any last words. This was unacceptable. By now the rabbi had slipped into a coma. However, so insistent was everyone on getting an answer that the poor rabbi had to be shaken violently out of his coma. He came to. His wife looked into his eyes and said, �Dearest, what are your last words?� The rabbi pondered a moment and replied, �Life is a cup of tea.� And slipped back into a coma.
His last words now worked their way out of the bedroom, into the adjoining room, out of the house and down the street to the village idiot at the end of the line. The village idiot pondered the rabbi�s utterance for a while. Then he tapped the shoulder of the person in front of him and asked, �Why is life like a cup of tea?� This was very disconcerting. The person felt obliged to repeat the question to the person in front of him, and so on all the way up to the rabbi�s wife. She too found this question disconcerting and decided an explanation was in order.
Again the poor rabbi was shaken into consciousness and asked the village idiot�s question. Again the rabbi pondered, this time a lot longer because he knew how all important his answer would be for the villagers. Finally, he spread his arms, looked up at his wife, and replied, �All right, so life is not a cup of tea.� With that he expired.
If you are really burdened about the future of America, then apply what you can from this unusual book written by my unusual friend.
It is highly revealing and frightening that William Grady felt that an unconverted Jew was the authority on the mindset of Fundamental Christians, especially Baptists. I do not question Bill Grady's choice of the Jewish man for this "Afterword" to his book. But, it proves my contention that Fundamentalists are willfully stupid and ignorant.
This self-imposed torpidity is very old, as we see in the day of Peter:
Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the
heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Proverbs 26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
To order this new book by William Grady, GO HERE