Psychics, Fortune Cookies And Bibles
I’ve never called a psychic hotline. I’ve wanted to several times. I’ve wanted to call and give a fake credit card number, then wonder if they knew I was going to do that. I’ve only seen a few different psychic type things on T.V. on those late night commercials. You know the ones…. with the Jamaican lady that says things on the commercial that relate to you sitting there in the dark at three in the morning. Somehow she knows that I am about to make a “large financial decision” and that an “old friend is coming back into my life”. She knows that “new things are on the horizon” and will tell me what it is if I call and give her my credit card number.
Fortune cookies are the same way. They are just general enough that they leave you feeling like something amazing is about to happen. Something “big is in your future”, all you have to do is “persist”. They tell you that you are about to “embark on something exciting” and get your mind reeling on what that could be. It gets you excited. Psychics know what they are doing. Fortune cookie writers know what they are doing. They are selling you nice feelings. They are telling you things that are general enough to leave you feeling good and then cashing your checks.
I grew up in a grounded Christian home. I went to church every Sunday, sometimes on Wednesdays, and even brought my Bible most times. Even now there is rarely a time where I hear a Bible verse and don’t recognize it as something I have heard before. I have heard all the stories, and even understand several of them. I know what verses to think about to be encouraged and I know what verses to think about when I am acting wrong. And then I stop and wonder if these verses have become like “fortune cookies” to me.
Now before anyone freaks out, this thought just hit me yesterday and I haven’t really thought through it all that much. The thought hit me when I was flipping through the radio stations in the truck yesterday and it landed on the local Christian radio station. Some well-know artist was reading a Bible verse to encourage the listener (me). It was a simple verse and there was no context included. It was only two sentences, and left the listener (me) inspired and ready to tackle any hardship that came my way. This well known musician must know what the listener (I) am going through and knows exactly what the listener (I) needed to hear. Am I being marketed to? Am I being handed neatly packaged good feelings that are sitting on top of the bill for my dinner? And worse of all is the Bible being used in a general enough sense that there’s no way to feel lost and hopeless?
Christian radio stations, and church marketing people know we want to feel good the same as psychics and fortune cookie writers. They know what we want to hear and to keep us coming back to the buffet. They know what’s going to keep us on the phone just five more minutes at $3.99 a minute. But what happens when we see through the fake Jamaican accent? What happens when the good feelings that come from the inspiring thought fades and we are stuck with reality that there is no exciting future prospect? And what happens when the radio is off and we are back to feeling completely abandoned? That concerned me today.