I am disturbed. Not really news to you? Just ask my wife—she’ll support this confession. But, regardless of my mental health, I am still disturbed. People are becoming more and more illiterate, or more correctly, faux-literate.
The literacy about which I am disturbed concerns reading, simply the act of reading. People simply don’t read anymore—notice the size of the Tribune or the Times? How about Time or Newsweek?* We’ve become a homeostatic amalgamation of bullet-listing, logo-induced information consumers. You see it on the web, in The Church Bulletin, and in our printed media.
Why am I disturbed? We need to read—words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books. People have become addicted to bullet lists, cute narratives, and adorable jingles, and have become—functionally illiterate, or worse faux-literate. To wit, we dumb down ideas to simplistic lists, not simplifying ideas, and create deep pits of ignorance. We create cute little stories which tickle the ear, but leave out nuance, substance, and essence. Our adorable jingles clang throughout the social intellect, creating a cacophony of competing sounds.
What’s this got to do with Bible study? The Scriptures are also composed of words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and books. The Scriptures have also been reduced to bullet lists (e.g., the “A, B, C’s of salvation”). The Word of God has been relegated to milk-based narratives, good for initial growth, yet toxic when fed to the milk-addicted (c.f., Hebrews 5:12-13).
The Bible’s truths have been turned into adorable, but misleading jingles—e.g., “once saved, always saved” or “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” The security of the believer is more than a jingle. The grace of the Lord God Jehovah is the only thing which keeps us out of hell itself—it is the power of God unto salvation, not a catchphrase for Madison Avenue.
Some edgy ideas have been articulated here; ironically, I doubt few will read them. We’ve become a people who don’t read.
*Ironically, Newsweek went out of business shortly after this was written.