Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Reading out loud on a train journey

Now I don't know about you but one of the things I would never do is read out loud when sitting on a train. There are of course those who don't need a mobile telephone because surely they are shouting loud enough to be heard by the other person without the need for assistance, but that's a different story.

Consider this scenario:
There you are sitting on a train and the person opposite you suddenly looks up (you probably don't know them, or if you do, not that well) and starts reading their book out loud, what would you do? Would you:

a. Move,

b. Tell them to shut up,

c. Start sucking your thumb and get comfortable because it's 'story time', or

d. Would you put your earpods in and turn up the volume on your digital music device?

Well I don't use the train that much so that's not something I'm really going to experience but I do have to endure a parallel to this in the number of time that I might go to a social media site and find someone I know (generally not that well) has posted a whole gobbet of a book they are reading onto the page. Often it is some trite tosh from one of the big haired, well-meaning, well-heeled American televangelists, you most likely know what I mean (and if you don't, one recently went a bit like this:

"Be of good cheer for God hears and sees and He is here and you are not alone in your struggles so keep yourself firm and stable for God has your deliverance planned. What you are experiencing now is only in the now but God has you placed in the eternity of Hos being and your being and His are one. . . . "

Now, I wasn't experiencing anything until I read that and then the clouds appeared and the growing sense of 'being read to' crept up on me and so, like those who greet their neighbour with a loud shout in the morning, I was niggled and frustrated. So I hid them author and continued.

Then, on Christmas day, another well meaning person posted today's reading and began to shout about the naming and circumcision of Jesus! Now I don't wish to be churlish here but I was actually enjoying a Christmas morning and the cord had not long been cut when there we were naming and circumcising Him! Then, to place a cherry on the cake, the self same person sent me a passage which saw Jesus marking up the road to Golgotha!

'Blimey' (thought I) 'Can't I enjoy the birth of Jesus, the Christ-child, for just a few hours before I marvel at the gift of life he has given me through the Cross? Can't I marvel at the gift of life that is Jesus and be thankful to the Father for this outworking of His love?

And of course the answer is a resounding 'NO" because the phone wobbled and there the same person was again  this time with:

'The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion To judge the mountain of Esau, And the kingdom will be the LORD'S.' (Obad 1)

Got to be honest, by now I was thinking extremely black thoughts - so I put the phone away and continued being both blessed and (hopefully) a blessing.

But here is a simple plea for 2013:

If you are reading a book and enjoying it, then I am pleased for you - I don't need you to read it to me!

If you have a Bible passage that is doing something in your life, then I am happy to hear it, but unless you are going to contextualise it and put flesh on the situation, the passage and the ways that it is meeting your needs - then don't just post the blessed thing because it more than likely means nothing to me and does nothing for me!

And if you ignore these two simple requests you might just find that you get a response that sits badly with the place you are in.

A 'for instance' - recently out of the blue someone posted:

'The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.' 

(ps 34)

And appeared to be most upset when they received the response, 'Well that's good news for QPR supporters tonight then!'

If you read out loud you will have to expect contextually ambiguous responses - 2013 is the year of them and gentle warnings:



Bob said...

Forgot one option - find the book on one of the free libraries, look up the last few lines, write them on a bit of paper and present to your fellow traveler with the words "I read it already, and this is how it ends"...

Anonymous said...

Some people also post bits of the daily office ;-)

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Think the 'looking up a book' bit is an excellent response for which I am now hoping I get an opportunity to try.

As for Daily Office - it's awful when people force it on to people, that's why it's there (unbilled) for those who might seek it out - mind you, it originally appeared because some of those I engage with on their journey of exploration wanted something of a 'cut down' nature to get them into the routine. These days I merely post it after I';ve done it and the two act as a support for the act :-)

Happy New Year people

Anonymous said...

I think it is fair to post Bible passages and even bits of books when there is a reason but I too tire of the many bible passages that just appear to be churned out by some people. After all, if a passage has touched you and you would like to share the what, how, and why, that is encouragement.

To peppershot passages into the void is almost bordering on viewer abuse.

ps I enjoy the daily office - i use it over my coffee break to connect with God - keep it going

Ray Barnes said...

Sadly, this is but one of the prices we pay for the 'privilege' of engaging in social media.
As we are told so often if we dare to criticise a TV production, "There is an off button".
I know these 'attacks' by the (I hope,) well meaning, are because they want to share some of their insight.
Somehow it doesn't seem fair to reply, been there, read that, felt as you do, but oh isn't there a temptation to do just that?

Jude said...

There are some particularly awful "passages" that come up on Facebook created by some soppy sentimentalist and offered as the daily message from God. Not only do they lack any context at all, but they are shockingly unBiblical as well. The deity supposedly being quoted is clearly a figment of somebody's imagination and I cringe when I see those words being passed off as those from our Creator. A great deception from the father of lies.