Buddha (see video HERE)
I have to be honest. I didn’t know what in the world this guy was talking about.
I’m usually able to get a good sense of what a person bases their beliefs on by asking good clarifying questions and listening closely for a few minutes , more or less. Not so with “Buddha” as he called himself. I had reached out to him at a park to initiate what I hoped would be a Gospel-centered conversation. What I finally concluded was that he believes in anything and everything, except Christianity.
Buddha tended to speak in vague, religious-sounding terms to describe his beliefs, but before I could ask the meaning of any of them he would flit into another line of thought. He had grown up heavily involved as a Catholic, but seems to have become enamored with all the latest sensational stories and conspiracy theories on the history channel and YouTube. I can hardly blame him, because compared to the eye-candy of the internet, the Bible can seem slow moving and predictable in contrast.
In Galatians 1:7 Paul wrote about some of these distracting voices in his day – “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Whether for the sake of some sort of financial gain or outright spiritual warfare, there are plenty of wolves and false teachers out there trying to distract us from our main source of clear truth and direction.
I struggle with the same problem, to a lesser extent. If I try to do my daily Bible reading discipline on an online Bible, the temptation is to take what too often turns out to be extended breaks - surfing the internet, watching a trending video, or otherwise looking for some juicy tidbit of information to feed my confirmation bias and boost my ego. The Bible, on the other hand, often tells me things I don’t want to hear, or challenges me to make changes I don’t want to make.
Reading the Bible requires discipline and intentionality. I find I need to read it from a hard-copy book rather than a screen in order to keep from getting distracted. Lately I’ve been discovering the benefits of listening to an audio version of the Bible, often while exercising or doing menial tasks, and I often like to set the playback on chapter loop mode and listen many times over as a way to meditate on God’s Word.
I’d like to say I always feel highly motivated to sit down and take in God’s word, but I often don’t. With all the distractions out there, it can be especially hard to get started. But I’m almost always glad I did. After the familiarity of reading the Bible over and over set in over the years, for me probably the greatest motivator is to be able to have a fresh word or insight to share with others, especially for someone like Buddha who is can be very distracted and confused by all the competing media voices trying to get and keep his attention. But in doing so I’m also feeding myself, getting that important reminder, that new insight, or that fresh revelation that only God’s living word can give.
Thanks Buddha, for allowing me to record our conversation. It can be seen HERE at https://youtu.be/dENN6TjiiwY