To think is to reflect, contemplate and then assimilate those reflections and contemplations into some form or fashion of an idea. Yet It seems to me that the average man or woman does not take the time to think, reflect, or contemplate much of anything. I have passed by restaurant tables (and circles in the church lobbies) and overheard conversations that are intent and emotional and yet the substance of the conversation is shallow and empty. Who made it to the final four? What do you think of this or that college team? How are the favorite teams looking this year? Or perhaps the conversation is more about the entertainment industry of this sitcom or another, that new show, or perhaps the personal feelings of the latest movie. And finally there is the conversations that border on gossip of what this friend said to that friend or how this friend is now dating that friend who is the X-mate of this friend and so goes the chatter.
Though I have nothing personally against such conversations nor do I abstain from engaging myself in such dialogue. The unfortunate thing is that there seems to be no balance, or little that I can see. We have the typical Facebook chatter of shallowness but no balance of deep meaningful conversations that move beyond the surface level of our own existence. Even in most sermons of our modernistic church world there is little depth to be found in the presentation from the pastors behind the pulpit. Often the very men and women who are to bring some semblance to our chaotic world and anchor us into deep spiritual truths find their fodder for their messages in the latest sitcom or in the underdog sports story to the final four. Don’t get me wrong, I believe wholeheartedly in contextualization and in making contemporary analogies, part of my dissertation will be focused on this very subject, however, there seems to be a disconnect a lock of focus on deep spiritual ideas or of any attempt of making sense of the many contemporary philosophies that are swirling about our shallow-Facebook-chattering world.
Just a quick survey of my average daily news feed. Out of 25 updates from friends, colleagues, and those pseudo-friends there is a myriad of interesting chatter. There’s a video of a dancing cow, a rant of a young mother regarding her child’s wardrobe, a picture posted of the morning routine of drinking coffee, (granted, coffee in some areas is considered a very spiritual experience J), and there was a video of Obama and Kim Jong-un playing at an outdoor concert. In the midst of all this frivolity someone is requesting prayer for their grandmother in the hospital. Hitting a deeper note, someone is asking for God to intervene in the human trafficking blight that is across our land sharing the story of the arrest of men and the rescue of several young women. And then back to more funny videos.
We cannot deny the fact that we live in a Facebook-hashtag-microwave-hot-and-ready-now society. Has the continual barrage of shallow speech deaden us to the truly important conversations that we should be having? Can we in today’s society really stop to ask the question that the philosophers of old would ask? Why do we exist in this world at all? What is life all about? Have all the really good questions already been asked and answered so that we cannot come up with any new questions?
In William Raeper and Linda Smith’s book A Brief Guide to ideas: Turning Points in the History of Human Thought, we get an overview of the epic questions and the thinkers who stopped and took the time to grapple for answers be they mathematical, philosophical, religious, psychological, relativism, pragmatism, or relativistic. All fields had giants that took the time to think. And in their thinking they turned the course of history. Where have all the great thinkers gone? Has the tsunami of Facebook rabble overwhelmed our senses that we fail to take the time to dig deep and give our fellow human meaning to this superficial existence? May it be said of us the same that was said of Immanuel Kant, “He was indifferent to nothing worth knowing…He incited and gently forced others to think for themselves.” For as Raeper and Smith exhort us religious people, “For religious believers…to talk about religion is to discuss truth and ultimate realty.” Let us be about speaking truth and ultimate reality for we live and move and have our being in Him.
 William Raeper and Linda Smith, A Brief Guide to Ideas: Turning Points in the History of Human Thought (Oxford, England: Lion Publishing, 1991), 250.
 Ibid., 271.