I once had a text message exchange with a friend and former restaurant co-worker about why he didn’t believe in God.
Having been raised culturally Jewish, now in his twenties, Jason would probably associate as agnostic or the ever-growing “none” category. And one of his statements was so succinctly telling (it did literally fit in the form of a text message after all).
He said: “what reason do people have left to believe when we now have the Internet?” In essence he was saying: the quest for knowledge and information is over! The questions of life can be so easily discerned from the click of a button and a simple google search!
No more need for an out of touch, out of sight, out of relevance God when we are now living in the wildly proliferated Information Age!
I thought to myself: holy crap that’s so true for people isn’t it… When it doubt, when facing a crucial intersection in life, when down on purpose or understanding go to google, not to God.
And then just look at this headline that proves EXACTLY what I’m talking about…
People don’t want to go to God to find the right candidate;
People don’t want to consult the bible to discern what makes a great leader and;
People DEFINITELY don’t wanna go to church to hear what some windbag preacher has to say… So what do we do…?
We Google it.
Google after all is not just a proper noun (the name of a search engine tech firm) it’s a verb!
You know what else is a verb and a noun? Faith. We have it and we do it.
Or at least that’s the aim… What of my greatest fascinations and really convictions is the divergence between those two things though: having it and living it.
As a person of faith, as a Christ follower I’m shocked and awed by my relative inaction and lack of faith practice and I see it as a historical epidemic as well.
From the time of the 12 disciples right on into today, we Christians seem to oscillate between flashes of brilliance and acts of outright lemming-like foolishness!
You see where we go for answers matters because we will always act on the information that we find. The article is timely once again: we Google how to vote and then… We vote… We vote Donald trump right into the highest office of leadership in the world.
Craig Groeschel is fond of emphasizing that leadership is so much based on how we think. Pretty basic really: how we think will determine how we lead. He puts it like this:
Think higher (for this determines who you become)
See broader (determines where you can go)
Care deeper (determines what you can be trusted with)
Basically the way we think determines the way we act and the way we act determines how we lead!
I would contend that we need a more developed, nuanced and overall higher context way of thinking in order to lead well and honor those we influence especially in this “just google it” era we are living in.
Take this last weekend for example, my relatives were in town from Texas (yes, very conservative politically) and we engaged in a lively political dialogue. It was fun, for me at least, because I don’t claim too many political allegiances; I’m content to consider all angles and remain in process AND more importantly I hope to give others the space to do the same.
However it was clear that my uncles angle on every topic was, for lack of a better word, shoveled.
Do you know kind of what I mean? Kinda like, ‘holy cow are you aware that every single thing that flies out of your mouth seems like a canned response that one or two news sources sold you?!’
Now am I saying that I’m smarter or better because I get my news from literally 100 different places and I don’t necessarily couch myself on either polar end of the political spectrum?
Hers what I’m saying:
Be a Learner (a life long learner)
Kinda messed up of me-I know, but I encourage you not to be “that guy” (my uncle): like it’s an oversimplified, open and closed case lined with narrow-mindedness!
Be filled with passionate convictions yes absolutely I highly recommend it… In some areas…
So long as there’s still a place for humble learning and the admission of “having not arrived” in other areas (that will, after all, only serve to authenticate our points of passion when we do speak up!)
Consider Gods voice and the truth of his word
(This approach is ALWAYS going to be more trustworthy than mere knowledge and information alone… Remember you can live your whole life, go all the way to your grave with a full head and an empty heart, but is that REALLY how you want to be remembered?)
Here’s one thing I’ve always said about the Bible: what was true for people thousands of years ago (our struggles, our emotions, our decisions and our predicaments, even our hopes and dreams) is true today.
There is nothing new under the sun. It’s just the Bible has more authoritative and exclusive truth to offer than Google or any other source for that matter. It (the Bible) is “God-breathed“… why wouldn’t you at least test it out for yourself?!
Take meaningful action on what you find
How you think determines how you act and how you act determines how you lead and how you lead determines, literally, how others live.
Don’t believe me or think that too dramatic? Look, this blog is about impact and influence. If you still don’t believe that people have the ability to change (due to the leadership of someone else) then consider this story…
My wife and I had the privilege early on in our marriage to travel the world on service “mission trips.” We shared plantains with remote villagers in the jungles of Peru, we saw poverty and a war-torn nation in Sri Lanka.
It was all learning by immersion.
(SIDE-NOTE: this by the way is one of the most potent forms of learning-when, seeking better knowledge or understanding, you venture across your yard, across your street and across the country or globe to see for yourself AND THEN make judgment claims.)
This is also why I refuse to listen to another white person wax on about their opinions or deductions about why we have a problem in inner city Chicago, Harlem or DC until they’ve been there, done that.
They could have read every academic book and listened to the most scholarly pundit but until they’ve actually sat down with someone in that place, then I’ll continue not trusting them any farther than I can throw them.)
In our travels we also saw discarded, forgotten and neglected babies and children. We knew from early on that we would like the chance to adopt one day.
We had babies of our own while getting licensed through the county for foster care and adoption and one day we got a call. Though we could have never known it then, less than two years later that baby girl would be legally our child.
Now remember my point : be a learner then act on your learning and you will change a life.
For us as leaders of a family…
we said yes.
And now a baby girl whose mom was on meth and whose dad had 27 criminal counts against him has at least the potential of a better life.
Don’t take my word for it. Try it out yourself