Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sound bites

So, according to my running tally, I have finally reached the elusive 300 posts on this site. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but this past year has really been a grind trying to post with any regularity. This morning, I went for the blueberry muffin instead of the donut...terrible choice. I have no idea what I was thinking. No matter though, a hardened pastry isn't going to dampen my time. I'm just grateful for the quite and separation from the intolerable political noise. I'm thinking, as I'm sitting here with Pandora in my headphones, I am so happy that, within the occasional "commercial" that you have to suffer through with the free version, they have not become a venue for political ads. Even with Bruce in my ears, I can still hear some of the obnoxious sound bites rattling around my head. I'm sure that this is exactly what the brains behind these campaigns are hoping for, but I've got news for them. In my opinion, when this happens for a particular candidate, it's like having "it's a small world" stuck in my head. I'm just going to be annoyed and there is no way in their version of hell that I'm going to vote for an obnoxious sound bite. Their wisdom is not mine. Speaking of this, did you know that Jesus might have been married? In case you haven't heard, that's one of the latest and greatest in sound bite news this week. I've got news for you. Jesus was (and is for that matter) married. It's not really a mystery to those of us who really have paid attention in church. All throughout the newest half of the book of books, we have read for the past 2000 years that the Church is the bride of Christ. In fact, Jesus himself compares his coming return to a groom returning for his bride. So this latest sound bite from biblical scholarship is not really, or shouldn't be, a big revelation to those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus, nor should the idea that the bride(wife) would be a disciple, since we as the church are called to that very thing. Now... let me tell you that I'm not sitting here writing this smugly, thinking that I have the absolute answer to what this scrap of ancient manuscript really reveals. It is actually quite remarkable to have found it. I also appreciate that the one who translated it has stated that this really doesn't prove anything. I admire her honesty. There are in fact a good deal of scraps of ancient manuscripts that claim all sorts of weirdness about Jesus and most have been relegated, by scholars, to the realm of fairy tales and legends. This one may or may not, but is really only dependent on whether or not more of the manuscript is discovered. Otherwise, a few sentences out of an entire document would have to be the epitome of taking something out of context. True or false, fact or fiction, here's my point.... Yes there is a point. We, as a culture, have been conditioned and wired to engage, interact, learn, as well as teach, by sound bite. Don't believe me? How do you account for the explosion of twitter as one of the most powerful and influential social mediums we have. If you don't already know, twitter is based on communications of 144 characters or less. I deal with this as a pastoral artist struggling to communicate weekly in a teaching environment to people who are increasingly wired for sound bites. Those of us who do this week to week can tell you that, for the most part, we can communicate 30 minutes or more and it's remembered mostly as sound bites...and you never really can be sure which ones are going to be caught. This isn't new, and I am secure knowing that God is big enough to do His work within that context. Here is the problem though, we have evolved ... Yes I used the "e" word ...into a people who have a real hard time thinking real deep thoughts. The "Jesus could have been married" issue is a perfect example of this. Instantly, without further thought, investigation or action, people jumped on duelling band wagons. One side says, " I knew it all along, this proves that Jesus, religion, Christians, yada yada yada, are all full of crap.". Why?...because the sound bite affirmed my belief system. The other side jumped onto defense because the very fabric and foundation of their belief system is being attacked...by a sound bite. No one wants to think anymore...to step back, to pause, to question. Yes, sound bites are likely to determine our politics, our world view, our religion, the very fabric of our culture, so allow me to add mine to the mix... In case there was any doubt... Yes Jesus has a bride, and he's coming back to claim her.

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