In his book, he relates an entertaining anecdote from the airline industry. A baggage handler broke a musician’s $3,000 guitar, and the musician spent nine months working through the airline’s labyrinthine phone system to no avail. Finally he wrote a song about it, put it on YouTube and got more than 1 million views. The airline’s stock price fell 10 percent, costing shareholders more than $180 million, roughly 60,000 times the value of the original guitar.
My own reflection on this important piece by Alan Jacobs:
For many years, I’ve tried to address the problem through teaching the Bible and theology. I still do so, but I am now convinced that though biblical/theological illiteracy is still a big problem with so-called evangelicals, historical ignorance is equally eating our lunch.
There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue. The level of unapologetic conjecture I’ve encountered lately isn’t just frustrating, it’s retrogressive, unprecedented and absolutely terrifying.
There are many fine worldview books available. I’ve read my fair share.
What makes this one unique is that Poplin weaves her own story throughout this compendious book. Poplin has experienced many of these alternative philosophies not as some detached academic, but as a real participant. Her wide-ranging reading and commentary offers fresh analysis.
When I used to teach at a Christian, high school, I put the following equation on the blackboard during the first day of class. I called it “The Tragic Equation of American Christianity.” It does not just hold true for high school students!
In big, bold letters I wrote A+B+C+D=E.
I told the students that each letter represented a word. At first, they were quiet and reluctant to guess. I helped them with A which stands for anger. For B or boredom, a student guessed correctly. When that happened, the proverbial dam broke. These students definitely resonated with my equation.
The rest of equation looks like this: Anger+Boredom+Cynicism+Disillusionment=Empty
I’ve been spending some focused time as of late pondering why so many Christians resonate with this equation. I regularly have conversations with Christians who candidly admit to things like disillusionment and boredom. For the most extreme, we have the new moniker of Dones, those who are “done” identifying with a church, yet still self-consciously holding on to Christian beliefs.
I had lunch with a friend last week where we talked a bit about why many church attenders simply want some inspiration for their week, but are apathetic about engaging with God’s Word and uninterested in His mission. Among other things, these folks don’t appreciate how much they are missing out. It is a great joy to see your feeble, fallen self used by God for His glory.
I interact with many Christians who have little curiosity about growing in their understanding of the Christian faith. There’s really no need because they are not involved in ministries that require resources beyond their natural abilities. They are plenty capable of living their lives in their own strength, or so it seems for now.