Listen to God; Screw the Rest

Okay I’m going to rave again, because I’m exhausted (I just finished, in nine days, a 43,000 word book) and because … well, see, I can’t even remember the other reason. That’s how fried I am.

Oh, right: And because I’m in a hurry. Doi. People to go, places to do.

So. Cue rave.

Anyone alive right now who is a Christian is ipso facto in the middle of a historically massive transformation, relative to the way their faith is perceived and done in and by the outside world.

You know why? Media.

Freakin’ media.

Media is our life-sucking game changer, and no two ways about it.

Media has so deeply woven itself into our culture, and (thereby) into our collective consciousness, that anyone today seeking to hear the voice of God is bound to hear coming in with that precious and much-anticipated voice so much raw, sparkling crap that, if I were God, I would be worried that if I did want to orchestrate my Big Second Coming, no one would give a rat’s ass about it or me unless I made sure to do it via a star-making turn in a really popular reality TV show.

Of course, being God, I could arrange for that show to happen.

Prime-time, baby! Thursdays! “Lost–and Found!” 9 p.m./8 Central.

Plus, he’d need a really cool app people would buy.

“Messiah 2.o. It’s what’s next!”

Whatever.

God, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Anyway, here’s my point: If you’re a Christian, hang on. Hang on to what you know. Hang on to what God is forever and very clearly whispering to you beneath the noise, behind the show, before the razzle-dazzle starts its jangly jingle. What God is telling you—and only you, about you—cannot be packaged, cannot be marketed, isn’t subject to a media campaign, won’t show up from Amazon, isn’t available for a limited time only.

Your game will always remain all it has ever been. It will always be between you and God—period.

You and God are co-stars in the only reality show that you (or, surprise, He) will ever really care about. And the script for that show is always written in silence.

Tune into that blessed collaboration, and forget the rest.

Screw the noise; and screw every source it comes from.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Anonymous

    Hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

    Thanks for the well-timed message.

    SH

    • Anonymous

      I hope the skin of your teeth … fattens up. But in a non-disgusting way, of course.

  • Anonymous

    P.S. Writing a book in nine days? Crazy amazing. Congratulations!

    • Anonymous

      thanks.

  • Marcelo

    First of all, you should fry your brain more often! Uh, in your present state I should hasten to add that I am kidding. Don’t do that. Really. (Phew!)

    This is simply brilliant, John, bloody brilliant. Thanks for this. I really needed it and I’m not ashamed to say that my eyesight got a little wet, shall we say. Had to blink a couple of times to read the last lines.

    Now go get some sleep!!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Marcelo! But no sleep for me quite yet. Will be up until probably two this morning, doing some other work. THEN much rest will happen.

  • A’isha

    I really like this. It could be that it’s the only time I’ve ever read “Second Coming” and “rat’s ass” in the same sentence. But, seriously, you’re onto something. It’s like trying to listen to God and all this static gets in the way. I wonder if back in the “good ol’ days” people found it easier to hear God’s voice.

    • Anonymous

      I’m not big on the whole, “Back in the olden days” thing, but … yeah. I think the less media, the more … private our thoughts, basically. And the more time we get to/have to spend alone with them. And so .. you know.

    • Ace

      I definitely find it helpful to shut off the TV and go read a book or take a walk now and then.

      The media is insipid, especially the “news” media which has turned into an absolute 3-ring circus over the last couple of decades. News has never really been all that invested in actual truth but there at least used to be SOME standards. Not so much anymore.

      I blame cable TV for starting the trend. Ever since CNN’s 24-hour newsfeed took over and spawned dozens of clones competing for ratings and advertising revenue, it’s just gotten worse.

  • Suz

    Excellent post!!!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Suz!

  • Don Rappe

    I hope the internet counts as medium. It seems a little more populist to me.

    • Anonymous

      It is a refreshingly democratic medium, isn’t it? For now.

  • Diana A.

    Love this, love this, love this! Thank you!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, DA!

  • Shadsie

    You sound a bit manic. Put down the coffee and get some rest! And, wow, you’ve pretty much put all those people doing NaNoWriMo right now to shame!

    I second the thing about the Internet being medium. I don’t watch reality shows (well, Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs – Discovery Channel type reality shows), but I do know what LolCats are. The idea that I’m a part of something simply by existing is pretty cool.

    • Anonymous

      Is it just me, or would “You sound a bit manic, put down the coffee!” be insulting to anyone?

  • Murf

    Now that, John, is a pretty good rant. My compliments, sir.

  • ms.glove

    So…does that mean no pod casts or live streaming radio show for you? I was sorta looking forward to that…a refreshing voice of reason and sense in this noisy and media driven world.

  • ms.glove

    So…does that mean no pod casts or live streaming radio show for you? I was sorta looking forward to that…a refreshing voice of reason and sense in this noisy and media driven world.

  • Mindy

    You, friend, should rant and rave more often. Brilliant. Just simply brilliant. Christian or not, we should all just remember to tune out now and again and let ourselves and our thoughts just BE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john10423 John Gragson

    there’s a phrase, i can’t remember whether its origins are in Scripture or not, “the still small voice of God”. there is a lot of noise in the world. in this day where we keep hearing that Christians need to become (or worse, where they DO become) part of the racket, this is a well-spoken message.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      1 Kings 19:12 (King James Version): “And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

      • pearloftheprairie

        If I’ve learned one thing this year it’s: still small voice = gut instincts. If Jesus lives in you, you can trust your instincts, because they come from Him. And listening to your gut keeps the noise out.

  • Jennie

    Writing a book in nine days seems like nothing sort of a miracle … I am impressed.

    • Anonymous

      I am too, kind of, actually. Although … actually, last year or so I wrote a 60,000-word book in less than two weeks—and that one got some really great (and prominent) reviews. So I’ve done it before. But it’s not pretty. It’s not a fun way to live while you’re doing it.

  • Serene 216

    The wise and frazzled John Shore wrote: “You and God are co-stars in the only reality show that you (or, surprise, He) will ever really care about. And the script for that show is always written in silence. Tune into that blessed collaboration, and forget the rest.”

    AMEN :-)

    If you can say, John, what book have you just finished? Your novel?

    In any case, bravo, and rest well when the time comes.

    • Anonymous

      I can’t say; it’s a ghost job. I have one more of that sort of book due in a month or so, and then, finally, I’ll be done with that work, and with the start of the new year will be able to get back to my … memoir thing, which I’m hoping to have done by mid-Spring 11. No more ghosting for me! Yay!

      • Candace

        I can totally see where that “Yay!” would come from :-)

        BTW, Serene 216 is me. The first part of my email addy defaults in and I forgot to change it to “Candace” on that post.

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ allegro63

    not to long ago, and something I should have done long ago, I realized that there are really only two opinions that matter in the universe, God’s and mine.

    God apparently adores me, is patient with me, picks me back up and gets me walking again, and wants to see only the best for me. If he thinks that highly of me, then maybe I need to up my own estimation of myself. His opinion of me is primary, mine is secondary and does frequent checkups on the primary opinion. Everyone else just has to pick a number.

    It is amazing how liberating that can be, even though I have yet to master it.

  • Susan G.

    Great post, John. I have to laugh – the only time I think I heard God’s voice he sounded just like…James Earl Jones. I’m not kidding. “Susan, I am your father.” No, He didn’t really say that, but He might as well have. What He said was about how He wanted me to manage an inheritance I had just received (amazing how fast He gets back to you when you put a pile of coin on the table and say, “What would YOU like me to do with this?”). But He really did sound just like James Earl.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      Not like James Mason?

    • Diana A.

      God does have a sense of humor–something for which we should all be grateful.

  • Anonymous

    “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

    No one…not even media.

  • Shadsie

    I seem to have made a post that got deleted. I’m very sorry if what I was saying when I was tired and addle-brained and trying to be “cute” was taken the wrong way. I was trying to joke. I am very sorry.

    For some reason, rereading the blog post, I was reminded of a really stupid episode of Family Guy – that is, before I stopped watching it. There was this episode where the main character, Peter Griffin, finds Jesus working at a vintage record store – I mean, literally found Jesus as in Jesus is a character on that program. Jesus was all “Hush-hush, no one knows I actually came back and I want to keep thing quiet for a while.” Peter gets all excited and announces him to the world. This lauches Jesus’ TV/rockstar/celebrity career. The ways of fame wind up turning Jesus into a jerk who doesn’t acknowledge Peter anymore and has debauched parties where he wakes up in pools of his own drool. Peter takes him aside, helps him to realize what a jerk fame has made him and he decides to return to Heaven or something. I only watched that episode once and was pretty disgusted buy it so I may not be remembering everything correctly.

    I don’t know whether Family Guy was getting at the idea that “fame corrupts – and can corrupt anybody” or the idea that “this world just isn’t ready for Jesus yet and/or does need him anymore.” Considering that Family Guy is written by a anti-thiests who have decided not to be politically correct in their portrayls of religion and religious people anymore, I tend to think it’s more of the latter. I actually swore off watching the show not after all the anti-religious stuff got big, but after I saw Brain the dog being a crybaby about getting an unintended audience for a book he wrote – it kind of struck a personal *urk!* in me.

    It’s just… I guess, in our media saturated world, most *would* expect Jesus to come back in a way that Family Guy portrayed, instead of the more personal, individual and quiet ways we believers should be looking for.

  • http://jamiewrightcr.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    So, so, so good!

    Now, I’m going to tweet this and cross my fingers that even one person filtering through the rest of that dung pile will find it, click it, read it, and say “amen”.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for this, Jamie; and thanks for sharing it with others.

  • Bunny

    Oh, if only we could keep this mind set permanently….what a benefit it would be. Thank you for cutting through the crap!


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