On Pondering…


I had planned last night to write the second part of my look at how the Church can return to being attractive, a trait that the early Church had in spades. {See part 1 of “The Rules of Attraction (Spiritual Edition).”} What stopped me was a very simple truth that seems lacking in today’s society: I needed to think a bit more about what I wanted to say before I said it.

I have some good ideas for the post’s second part, but they are not as developed as I would like. Plus, I think the topic of winsome attractiveness of the Church is an important one that has only been addressed on a surface level (think “seeker sensitivity” here).

And that’s an issue in itself. The very act of pondering something, anything is passé. Life is Twittered and blogged so that every act is right there in your face within seconds. “Ponder? Who has time to think?”

I want time to think. I believe thinking matters. Rushing headlong into anything and everything seems to be the American condition circa 2009, and it’s largely responsible for the mess we’re in. Let me think about that...“Just Do It” makes a fine mantra for the slothful, for that indolent fellow who can’t seem to rouse himself from sleep, but it’s a lousy way to approach the most important issues of life. “Just Do It” simply can’t abide “Let me think about that….”

The American car manufacturers put on their sad sack faces, hands out to Washington. Decades of “just get us through this quarter” contrasts with the Japanese model of the 50-year plan. Detroit stopped thinking—didn’t have time for it. The Japanese, however, saw that NOT thinking would be the end of their success before it even started. Better for them to consider how to be the best and continue that thinking through subsequent refinements over decades than to always be reacting, tossed around by the whims of the market, with no foundation. As a result, in time, the Japanese successfully cleaned Detroit’s automotive clock.

During a job interview years ago, a hiring manager scolded me when he asked a thoughtful question and I responded with “Let me think about that for a moment.” His instant reply: “Hmph. We don’t have the luxury of time here. This job requires fast answers. You obviously aren’t the right kind of person.” (Seriously. I waited for him to append “…for us” onto the end of his final sentence, but he never did.)

That company is out of business. Fast answers obviously didn’t equate to good, thoughtful ones.

Reactionary thinking drives the Church in America. Sadly, that mentality has made us frivolous and irrelevant in the eyes of many Americans. We come off as just as clueless as everyone else even though we have the answers to life’s most important questions. The problem is we checked our watches and stopped thinking about those important questions. Worse, we joined the dangerous pack mentality of “just get us through this quarter” thanks, in part, to all those spurious “run your church like a business” books that cluttered the Christian bestseller lists.

I noted for years that the Church was woefully unprepared for an economic meltdown because no leaders in the Church here were pondering how to lead through tough times. I kept hoping that someone with a louder voice than mine would sound the same alarm, while providing some common sense responses. Obviously, I hoped in vain. Now we have millions pounding on our doors looking for answers and handouts and our own pantry is bare.

Why? Because we failed to take time to ponder the important questions of our times.

So there’s no followup today for Monday’s post because I want good answers to the issue. On select topics, most extroverts can cough up in an instant what passes for depth in a shallow society. I don’t want to be one of those people because I want what I say to have lasting, even eternal, value.

7 thoughts on “On Pondering…

  1. Peter P

    Let me ponder this for a while before replying……

    Great post Dan.

    The instant, buy now, culture that has developed has taken away our ability or desire to ponder and we need to get it back.

    Many in Christian circles are loving Tozer and the like who suggest we take ime for silence and for practicing the presense of God etc – something which is only becoming fashionable again because we don’t take time to ponder, to wait upon the Lord.

    Thanks for the reminder Dan

  2. Where I worship…the pastor always talks about the tought times (even when the economy is good).

    The Law. That things do not work out the way we planned, or hoped, That sin either from ourselves or from others (or from the devil) is at our throats constantly.

    This honest assessment of ourselves and the world around us, should ‘kill us off’ to any hope in ourselves or in this world.

    This is good ‘law’ preaching, and ought be done as a setup for the handing over of the gospel…which will bring us (again and again and again) back to life (new life) in Christ Jesus.

    This needs to be done, in a relevant fashion, every Sunday. It’s not always east to do, but that is the job of the preacher…to kill us off to the self…and to hand over the gospel, that Christ might go to work on us and in us.


  3. Peyton

    Ouch!! I should have done some better pondering earlier. Dan, I’m sorry for having spouted off tonight, rather than working through all that you were saying.


  4. Our “Now” culture has lost the ability to reflect and respond. Instead, we react. I am reminded of the Pacific NW tribal people whose elders based community decisions on the way the outcome would affect the generations to come. We are so short-sighted as individuals and as communities. I wonder if some of the short-sightedness of the Church might not stem from the belief in the imminent return of Christ. Have we been conditioned to do it all now (and at any cost) because the days may be short? Perhaps that mindset has continued to afflict the Church even when it is no longer looking for Christ to return at all.

  5. Pingback: Liquid Community » Questions Deserve Time

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