Monday, November 22, 2010

Alarming, Isn't It?

Here is something I observing more and more in light of an astute comment by T. David Gordon (author of Why Johnny Can't Preach): our society is increasingly alarming, and literally so. Alarms, once rare (in clocks for example), are now ubiquitous. Cell phone go off everywhere, with a plethora of "ring tones" (most of which I loathe). Hand-held devices go off; car alarms explode, often mysteriously--and we fear that. This, no doubt, contributes to our being on-edge and jittery since we are constantly alarmed. (I was relieved when no alarm went off when I went through airport security recently.)

Being alarmed is the opposite of being serene and composed. We are, rather, de-composed by these randomly, but (unavoidably) striking alarms: beeps, songs, honks, squeaks, buzzes, and more. These alarms sometimes detonate outside the reach of their designated alarm-targets. Ten years ago, a cell phone went off for a seemingly eternity during a McCoy Tyner jazz concerts in Greeley, Colorado. This ought not be! the man played piano with John Coltrane, and an unattended cell phone had the nerve of interupting him.

We all need unalarming times, times to settle into sane patterns of living. The uninterrupted and the unalarming is often where we discern reality aright (or more so that in our alarm zones). It even has something to do with "waiting on God."

1 comment:

Jacques Ellul Chest Hair said...

I (silently) agree.

Oh that this would remind us of the Lord's call in Psalm 46:10 - "to be still and know that I am God."

Notice the ordering -
(i) Be still
(ii) know that God is God.

I take it that the phrasing is intentionally ordered.
One cannot know that God is and is who He says He is unless they are first still.

Stillness before God implies submission before God. It suggests that the silent one is willing to hear, willing to slay the idols of distraction to hear the Lord.

Alarms prevent us from being accustomed to prolong silence and reflection.