The first was, “the key to writing a great speech is to come up with a great title. Then drive a speech under it.”
The second piece of advice was his “Three rules of Public Speaking” –
1) Speak clearly.
2) Be concise.
3) Be seated.
So here’s today's title:
Microwave Culture, Crockpot Faith.
Isn’t it true, that we live in a microwave culture – a culture where we’ve been conditioned to expect instant results and instant solutions?
It’s reflected in how we eat: in the last 75 years, restaurants have gone from almost exclusively waiter-based dine-in experiences, to drive-in, to drive-through. (In those same 75 years, American obesity has skyrocketed, but that’s another point for another epistle, another time: I’m trying to be concise here!)
Our microwave culture is reflected in how we gather and use information: when I was in 9th grade, writing a term paper involved several trips to the library, familiarity with the Dewey Decimal System, browsing stacks of shelves, hand-copying notes onto index cards, writing first drafts by hand, and hiring a typist.
All that took about two weeks.
Now my ninth-grade daughter accomplishes that and much more, through Google and MS Word. In about two hours.
Our microwave culture is reflected in how we communicate: two-page handwritten letters went the way of two-paragraph emails, which are going the way of 20 character IM’s.
My "Dear John," [yes, when you’re named John and you get a breakup letter, it really does start out "Dear John..."] letter from ninth grade was two pages long, perfumed [that was cruel] and – best I can recall – started out with a long list of all the fun things we’d done together, moved on to a fair, but painfully detailed description of the ways we had begun to argue and fight, and ended with a gentle but firm "Please don’t take this the wrong way, I still think the world of you, but I think it is better that we go our own ways a while…"
“L SRY, FB single”
I’m not saying these changes are all bad. Or all good.
Like most things, there are trade-offs.
But this I know for sure: faith – faith in God, faith in God’s ways – is Crockpot.
Faith – at least true, abiding, deep, reliable "I can handle anything because I have the Peace of God" faith – does not come instantly. It stews, marrying the flavors of prayer, patience, good works, and grace in a slow-cooker.
Unfortunately, over the years, we’ve allowed our microwave culture to influence the way we worship God together on Sundays and educate our children and ourselves in the faith.
So, at St. James', beginning with the season of Lent, and throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be addressing that.
And making some changes that will recognize the slower, more silent, gentler – but ultimately more nutritious and delicious – nature of Crockpot faith.