I sleep soundly these days and mostly it’s because of a small device called a Sound Machine. It looks like a tiny alien spaceship that landed on my bedside table. When I turn it on, I can select from several sounds that are guaranteed to soothe me into serenity. There’s the sound of the ocean, the rainforest, a summer night, even the sound of a heartbeat. Me? I prefer the waterfall because it’s one long series of uninterrupted “white noise”.
You’d be surprised how effective such “noise” can be to the insomniac. Somehow it diffuses other noises that can impede sleep – noises like the gentle purring of a husband’s soft palate vibrating with every breath or the precious sounds of grandchildren scurrying about and calling out in the pre-dawn hours. It’s amazing. I even have a travel version of this machine that can drown out sounds through any paper-thin-wall in any hotel in the world. That’s when it really comes in handy.
Even when I’m awake I seem to have a filter on outside noise. I don’t watch or listen to talk shows and I’m usually skeptical of even national news shows. I’m just cynical enough to wonder if what they’re reporting has a biased slant. (That’s what I get for being a journalism major.) So most of the time my skepticism leaves me uniformed and disengaged.
However, last week, as the news of the uproar over Chik-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy’s response to a question on his opinion of same-sex marriage, I thought maybe I needed to turn off the white noise (figuratively) and really listen to the sounds outside the perimeter of my bedside.
I’m hearing a lot of opinions on both sides. Social media sites have been astir with critique, judgment, and even angry threats. But no matter your opinion on the topic, this incident should be an indicator of what’s really on the minds of the American people. I personally stand with Mr. Cathy on the subject of gay marriage, but that’s not what this blog post is about. It’s about white noise – which I now define as ceaseless rhetoric.
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th American president, once said, “Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.”
So, I invite us all to turn off the white noise (which may be the noise coming from our own mouths) and listen, read the biblical truths that we often quote but can’t remember their source or what they mean…then act. Do something. You decide what that looks like.
I was reminded today in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4:“ For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
P.S. Not long ago I was a part of a panel discussion on worship trends, when somehow the topic turned to how this whole country is going to you-know-where in a hand basket. The discussion got a little heated until one of the less verbose panelists finally spoke up and said, “I understand your concern and I share it, but it doesn’t look like God is too worried about it”. That was the end of the discussion.