UNderstanding the Longing of our Communities
Part 2 of 4 - The Longing for Guidance
In November 2016, I introduced this series of discussions around the question ‘what is it, our communities are longing for’. In November’s we considered the first desire, ‘Longing for Meaning and Purpose’. This is a fundamental need for us all and without that assurance, it is difficult to find lasting peace.
This second blog, will look at the next longing of our communities, ‘The longing for Guidance’.
If, when I’m driving, I get lost (of course that never happens!) and for some reason I ask a pedestrian for directions, their information is only helpful if, what they tell me is true. Giving or receiving directions or guidance can only be successful if, the information is true.
In the West, we now exist in a unique period of history, where over the last 60-70 years the principal of ‘absolute truth’ is viewed with critical and cynical eyes. It is referred to as Postmodernism. Postmodernism has now grown up and has given birth to several bouncing babies, one of which we all know as ‘Fake News’, where News channels, publishers, internet platforms and even Politician’s, do not give the whole truth, but only give limited facts about a subject, as it suits them. This used to be called lying.
One area of truth that is being massively disregarded is the Bible. We’ve become cynical and now largely ignore biblical guidance. The Bible narrative historically directed our culture, and set society’s boundaries and mind set. So, what hope is there? Does it mean there is no desire for guidance, or do we still need a moral or ethical anchor to hold us firm?
If not the Bible, then where is society seeking guidance? What are their guiding ’Scriptures’? Is it the Media, Films or Music? YouTube, Horoscopes, Fashion, Celebrity or Sport?
But if these are society’s scriptures, then who are their ‘Priests’ – who provides society with guidance and structure? We could blame individuals, but the source of guidance for our generation is more likely to be the unregulated ‘platforms’ like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google, where you and I, for example, can provide guidance on any subject we choose and it has the potential to go to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
I am not against the social media platforms. I believe used well they are amazing tools of communication, information and entertainment, but they have allowed us, as individuals and as communities, to be self-regulating, self-guiding and I would say anchorless, with few common values or agreed structure.
Although the internet has proliferated this self-regulation, it’s not all new. The famous quote by Mark Twain in the early 20th Century; ‘the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’ show that accurate information or truth has always been important.
Even though we may have set aside traditional forms of guidance and authority, there is still a need and desire for direction. The problem is we now have so many voices that we can get easily confused and even lost.
Truth needs to be proven if it is to be established as truth. The Christian Bible has been proven over thousands of years, by generation after generation. Even without faith it’s hard to counter the rich wisdom and direction it gives for everyday living, both for the individual and for society at large. It provides guidance for farmers about resting land, to the financial sector, wisdom in lending money. For husbands, it shows how to be the best for our wives, how to raise children and rich instruction for wider social care, and so on.
For those who have faith in God this book, often described as the ‘word of God’, is rich and life giving, being more than just a life style manual, it is a love letter to human kind about a Father who loves his children and guides them in living well.
We need to be more confident that the Bible has the answers for our generation, and gives the guidance we all desperately crave.
So rather than sit back and let the ‘voices’ we hear on the various internet platforms dominate why don’t we read this book, the Bible, and enhance the social media community with Gods guidance and direction. You never know who might be listening.
Jesus said ‘I am the Way, I am the Truth and I am the Life, follow Me’
So, let’s do that.