I usually get the call every Thursday night. Gordon is checking in to see if we are meeting on Friday morning as usual. These meetings with my men’s accountability group are the highlight of my week. We have been getting together for a few years now and I try not to miss it unless I am out of town.
This week was no different and our time together was great. Driving home from Gordon’s house, I could not help but think about how blessed I was to have these guys in my life.
As I pulled into the driveway and hopped out of the car, I thought something was amiss, but I could not tell what it was. Coming into the house, I noticed the lights were off, but thought that maybe Deb had not gotten up yet. As I flicked on the light switch and nothing happened, I realized that the electricity must be off again. For some strange reason, we seem to have an inordinate number of power outages on our campus. Over the years, all it takes is a good storm for the power to go out and sometimes it can be out for hours. This might be because we live in a forest and tree branches and entire trees seem to come down whenever we have high wind and rain. Living on a mission headquarters campus, I have wondered if this was God’s way of helping us to empathize with our fellow CLC team members around the world who experience intermittent power outages on a regular basis.
Once a month our CLC USA team joins the WEC International team (we share the same mission campus) for a time of worship, devotions and prayer on the first Friday. With the lights out, I wondered if things would go on as planned. I walked up the hill with a flashlight and discovered that the WEC team had improvised and were just getting started with a time of truly unplugged worship. Despite the fact that we could barely see each other in the room and the only words for the songs were on the laptop at the front, nobody seemed to mind. We sang familiar worship choruses and enjoyed focusing on an audience of one. Our devotional, sharing and prayer times were rich.
Then it hit me, we rely so much on technology that we barely know how to function without it. Ironically, you don’t need much technology to read a book or Bible and a candle works just fine to give you enough light to read by. Truthfully, however, as I finished the worship experience, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that my battery operated phone connected to the internet via 4G was working just fine too. So that’s the world we live in. It took the lights going out for me to see the reality of my conflicted and easily distracted heart. As much as I enjoy reading, the first thing I thought about was access to e-mail and the internet.
Making the choice to read a book, especially a real physical book, is becoming more and more counter cultural by the day. Choosing to read at all sometimes seems like living without electricity in a culture that values chatting on the internet more than meeting people in person. Interestingly, there are still plenty of places around the world that still value the experience of reading a book from cover to cover. When a getting good education is the solution to ending an endless cycle of poverty in your family, reading and books become precious. When learning to preach in a place where no seminaries exist is the passion of your heart, finding a simple Bible commentary is like finding gold. When no one in your country has ever heard of Jesus and if they have they think he is just a prophet, finding a book that tells you the truth can change your life forever.
Maybe I need the lights to go out more often for God to get my attention and for me to return to my first love – Jesus and the great books written by His literary saints.
Check out this great video about THE BOOK.