The world’s most-read newspaper got guillotined for spying on dead soldiers' cellphones. Michelle Obama is scarfing down fries and shakes like a spurned Southern mistress. A perverted French politician may be guilty of nothing more than bad aim.
The world is changing around us, but you can always count on one thing to stay the same: Americans of a certain age suck at reading the Bible out loud. They tend to be the ones who know the Bible.
You’d think the nation founded by a bunch of prudes fleeing their less-prudish rulers, creator of the First Amendment equally beloved of pornographers and cults, would excel at speaking God's Word in public, mellifluous as a Bieber ballad. Scripture is full of references to prophets, Jesus and even Satan quoting Scripture, unrolling scrolls and eating scrolls. Reading the Bible aloud in the days before G-berg, like my favorite waste of White House space in his Grammy-winning spoken word album, used to be your ticket out of sharecropping or refereeing a WNBA game.
Add 20 years of the information revolution and you have an entire generation that talks faster than Andy Dick and sounds about as coherent. This deficiency shows up most glaringly in Bible studies.
I don't doubt the sincerity of my fellow religionizers when they struggle to make it through two verses of a Gospel translated into English as understood in 1978. They talk in vague but heartfelt terms about God’s provision in their lives, care for each other and show more tolerance of others than most pagans I know. But hand them a book they’ve spent years reading on a near-daily basis and watch them butcher it worse than Christina at the Super Bowl.
“Now a man of the tribe of...Levee married a Leveet woman and ... oh wait … she became pregnant and gabirtoason when she. Saw that he was a fine child. She hid him for thirty months. Do I keep reading? Oh, OK. I got lost. (hee hee) But when she could hit him no longer, she got a paperous basket for him and coated it with tar … uh … tar and (squinting) oh, pitch! (hee hee).”
How the hallelujah did you make it through college? Are you a University of Phoenix grad?
As the Apostle Paul said, a man who can speak in the tongues of angels, but has not love, is a resounding gong. I would rather spend two hours with Rip Taylor, a gong and a decibel-activated confetti cannon aimed at my tuchus than listen to you speed-gurgle through Corinthians 13.
You are God's representative on earth, young, hipster Christian. And when you don't bother to learn how to speechify 10-point font in a medium devoid of Megan Fox pictorials, it reflects poorly on those of us who bring skeptics to our gatherings to see God’s people without the media filter.
I'm not asking for a Toastmasterization of the pews -- just some basic coordination between eyes, brain and mouth. Like your mother last night.