Dear New Hope,
What do you wish was never invented?
I got a good laugh out of an article by Joe Queenan about things in culture that desperately need to be “De-invented” because “the world would be a very different place if certain things had never been invented.” Queenan’s list of de-inventions include:
- Powerpoint, which has made simple things complicated.
- Leaf blowers.
- Smooth jazz, which should have been de-invented “5 minutes after it deposed real jazz.”
- Major League Baseball’s video review policy.
- Public Service Announcements.
- Sideline reporters at football games.
- Passwords of no more than 16 characters containing a number, an ampersand, and at least one capital letter. (Can I get an amen?)
- The banjo.
- Waiters that sing.
Mr. Queenan’s list of “de-inventions” caused me to ask friends and family what they wish was never invented.
- My daughter said: “Brothers.”
- My brother said: “TV, video games, and the democratic party.”
- Some of our pastors said: “Keurigs, essential oils, social media challenges, and ushers’ jackets.”
- Other friends said: “Facebook, Instagram, and smartphones.”
This topic has got me wired and thinking about things that should be de-invented in Christian circles. I pray you take this list with a bit of sarcasm and humor:
- The marketing madness that surrounds 100s of Bible translations. I love the Bible but, seriously, who needs over 450 English translations of the Bible? Only publishers who want to market the Bible under different names in order to make more money. We now have an absurd number of Bibles for every segment of society: Understand the Faith Bible, Life Application Bible, Worship Bible, Men’s Bible, Women’s Bible, Christian Community Bible, Easy to Read Bible, Jubilee Bible, Inclusive Bible, Spirit-Filled Bible, Names of God Bible, Recovery Bible, Ebonics Bible and also bibles that surround popular leaders like the MacArthur Bible, Ryrie Bible and Swindoll Bible. Enough is enough! Do we really need a “Trierweiler Study Bible”?
- All-in-one communion wafer with juice. Yes, we tried it once at New Hope and it was an epic fail. The sales agents say that these “recyclable communion cups come complete with the wafer sealed onto the top of the sealed juice” and promise they are “pre-filled, easy to transport, and have a long shelf life.” What they don’t tell you is that you need a 5 page instruction manual on how to open them, the cellophane wrapper creates more noise than a Chicago freeway and when 100s of people open them at once, it turns the Lord’s Supper into a comical event where getting to the body of Christ is harder than getting into the sealed tomb.
- Cell phones ringing in church. Enough said.
- You-Version Bible App. This digital Bible app has been good for some people where the printed Word is inaccessible. But in general, the digital phenomenon has caused the average person to read the Bible less and have less familiarity with the written Word of God. As a practical example, fewer and fewer of our kids and teens for the last decade bring a printed Bible with them to church or youth gatherings. Never before have we had greater amounts of Bibles available while simultaneously having greater amounts of Bible illiteracy.
- “Five songs, greeting, offering, sermon, prayer, service over.” Don’t get me wrong, I have no better order of worship to offer, but the church is stuck in an unfixable routine where we expect the same flow every Sunday.
On a more serious note, it has made me wonder about things God would like to de-invent.
- Just look at how God dealt with the complainers coming out of Egypt.
- Note that Genesis 6 says that sin was so bad that God regretted he had made man.
- Worthless worship services. In 1 Cor. 11:17, Paul rebukes the church because when they come together “it is not for the better but for the worse.” I wonder how many churches meet on Sundays in America where God would just as soon they be de-invented.
What about you? What should be on your list of de-inventions for 2019?
How about digital de-inventions? For the month of January, my wife has “de-invented” Netflix and Prime Video in our home. For 1 month, we are calling our kids back to family time, reading books and less time in digital isolation. No, we aren’t going to win parent awards for this move, but it will prove healthy for the family.
How about relational de-inventions? What relationship needs to go away? What relationship makes you worse, not better? What friend needs to be unfriended?
How about bad attitude de-inventions? Are you a complainer, a gossiper or suffering from an all-around negative attitude? It’s time to de-invent such things, repent and allow God to transform you.
If none of this resonates with you, maybe you will at least agree with Joe Queenan on his last recommendation for de-inventions: Kale.
You are loved,