So, usually when I see something by George Carlin I pass it by. But this caught my eye.
The following open letter from George Carlin is very deep for a man whose humor was often shallow. But as I read this, one question kept coming to mind, “Could most of these things be said about people who call themselves Christians today?” And a second “Is any of this me?” I mean, aren’t we caught up in the same system Carlin is talking about. I am sure not all of it pertains to you and me . . . or does it. And what about those sections where we are willing to say they pertain to us?
How often we point our finger at the world only to find the proverbial three pointing back at us. So here is wisdom from the late George Carlin. I am only adding part of it for brevity's sake.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We . . . spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Wow that was radical. How about that one line: “It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.” That one hit me right in the gutt!
The Jesus we say we follow said some pretty radical things for his day. If we would live them out that would be pretty radical today. We definitely would not fit into our “North American cultural norms.” But think about this. I don't think we would fit in the cultural norms of the typical North American Church."
But hey, as long as I prayed that prayer and have my ticket to heaven these things are optional, aren’t they!
In the church we worry and fuss about buildings, budgets, worship styles and strategies to find more people and more money. We do this so we can have bigger buildings, budgets and better worship styles to get more people. Sooner or later (if we have the tenacity to allow ourselves) we begin to realize Jesus never talked about buildings. He never mentioned budgets. He really wasn’t concerned about worship styles (except to worship God in spirit and truth). He gave us one commission “Go make disciples!”
His life, especially with the 12, was the only strategy he left behind. Too bad he didn’t know about strategic planning and S.M.A.R.T. goals. Maybe, just maybe, he purposely omitted anything like that. His message was simple: Leave the world and its ways behind, follow me and live according to what I have taught you—the way of the Kingdom of God. Oh, and by the way, Do It My Way!”
Ok, Ok I know the last part was Frank Sinatra. Yet I really don’t think I am pressing it too far to think it could have been Jesus who coined that phrase.
One question to ponder. . . Did you see yourself in George Carlin’s portrait of our culture—any part of it? If so, can you really be living in the culture of Jesus—the culture of the Kingdom of God?
This blog site is the new home where you will be able to look inside the head of Jim Warren—that my friend is a very scary place. I know. I live there.
I hope to bring you thoughts about my journeys through life, in the church, in ministry and in relationships with youth. I will share stories and ideas. Some readers will laugh, some will cry but most will through up their hands and say: “There he goes again! Can’t he leave well enough alone?” Some may even throw their computers or at least their “hand held devices” across the room.
The answer to the question, “Can’t he leave well enough alone?” is simple—“No I can't leave well enough alone—to tell the truth neither could Jesus!”
I do hope you enjoy the ride through my head.
It can be quite a trip!
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