Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Antidotes to Contemporary Stupefaction

1. Read old, challenging books.
2. Talk to people in situations with no background noise.
3. Pray through the Psalms.
4. Read the Book of Ecclesiastes multiple times until it sinks in.
5. Talk to older people and really listen to them.
6. Sit in silence, doing nothing for short or long periods of time (but not in a yoga posture).
7. Thank God for what cannot be taken away.
8. Write a letter (not an email) to a friend or family member.
9. See a worthwhile film and then talk about it with a group of people. Don't use the word "awesome."
10. Drive in silence--no radio, music, cell phones, etc.
11. Listen to John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" until you get it. But don't accept the theology of the liner notes.
12. Fast and pray for a few days (without telling anyone who doesn't need to know).
13. Pray written prayers from The Book of Common Prayer.
14. Read historical confessional statements such as The Thirty Nine Articles or The Westminster Confession of Faith or The Athanasian Creed.
15. Do not interrupt people when you talk with them. Do not finish their sentences. Maybe they are looking for just the right word.
16. Weep with those who weep.
17. Stop watching television for one week. Note what happens to your soul.
18. Listen to a classic book on tape when you are driving.
19 Buy someone a book they wouldn't buy for themselves and ask them to read it.
20. Pray for strangers as they pass you by.
21. Take communion on a regular basis.
22. Look for opportunities to share the Gospel with strangers in creative ways. (I've done it in a public steam bath several times.)
23. Listen to Mars Hill Audio interviews, hosted by Kenneth Myers.

Now, dear readers, please add a few of your own to his incomplete list.


pgepps said...

Numbers 3 & 4 are a recent and an old friend of mine. As for number 6, separate your meditation (on God's words--see number 3 & 4) from your exercise, but don't confuse your exercise with someone else's meditation, either.

24. Speak in full sentences at drive-through windows and cash registers.

Aaron Beitler said...

A few I might add:

1. Go for a long walk, someplace beyond the noise of the city, and ponder the natural order.

2. Ask yourself How should truth feel? And get a solid answer.

3. Take a ride in an old automobile, preferably a pick-up, and revel in the ontological teamwork of piston, driveshaft, and tire rubber.

Brian said...

Great list... thanks.

(Also to be noted with the TV... turn of the cell phone, turn off the computer, turn off the email...)

Douglas LeBlanc said...

1. Stay off your computer all day on Sunday.

2. Leave your cell phone off whenever possible.

I'm much better at the second than the first, and largely because so few people know my cell number. I'm able to limit my cell use mostly to calling my wife when I'm traveling out of town.

Ken Abbott said...

A corollary to #18 but opposed to #10: Learn a foreign language (or brush up on one you once knew) while you drive.

Paul D. Adams said...

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8, TNIV).

Be intentional about putting this discipline into your minds and applying it to your lives. Rather than merely abstaining from watching TV or spending time on the computer, this discipline, rightly applied, will become the filter through which all other activities are purified.

sjbrungard said...

Your lists are indispensable - just the kind of humor with a definite point that I like.
Sandra Brungard

sjbrungard said...

Your lists are indispensable - just the kind of humor with a definite point that I love.
Sandra Brungard

david said...

Listen to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and focus each time on a different instrument...rinse and repeat until you walk around humming it :)

Doug Groothuis said...



Anonymous said...

Excellent list, to which I would add:  Once a year read the same 4 thought-provoking books, outside of Scripture,until their ideas deeply penetrate your soul.  My 4, in no particular order, are: 1) Women Caught in the Conflict, by Rebecca Groothuis2) Truth Decay, by Doug Groothuis3) No Place for Sovereignty by Robert McGregor Wrightand4) Being Human, the Nature of Spiritual Experience by Jerome Barrs and Ranold MacCauley.

Rick said...

I'm enjoying the Coltrane.

May I suggest any Brahms Symphony, and to play it loud?

Susan said...

some additions I've implemented myself (and I agree with/do all those you've listed...except #23, and I'm working on #9 and #15 ):
- Purge the home of unnecessary gadgets and electric devices that only make noise and take up space on the counters and shelves.
- Walk around the perimeter of the home in the morning or evening and greet the joggers and dog-walkers and lawn-waterers, and converse with those who (though rare) stop a moment to do so.
- Make the Starbucks in your own coffee pot at home on Saturday morning, and invite the neighbors over to share
- Hang out with people who know more about the Word of God than they do about what's on TV (difficult as it is to find them, it is well worth the search)

Vertigo said...

Park (sell if you can) your car and buy a bicycle instead. Try it for a day, or a week or a year. Your soul and body will benefit.