on apathy and action

I like Seattle.  It is home to some of my favorite coffee shops, favorite bookstores, favorite ice cream, favorite scenery, favorite buildings, favorite people, favorite chocolate, favorite weather, among other things.

In this city, I can usually share about my faith in a nonchalant manner, and receive neither an overtly negative nor positive response.  This usually results because someone, (who sits, or stands across or beside me as we wait for some function/event, or stand in line, or share a coffee shop table, or wait for the bus) in doing their small talk duties, will ask about my background.  After I respond, they nod and say, oh, that’s nice! and perhaps inquire with a benign, follow-up question or two.

I spoke with a woman the other night.  A very intelligent, congenial, beautiful, older woman.  I remember her green eyes and dyed red hair, but  I don’t know even know her name.  She sat next to me and began to talk animatedly, as we anticipated the introduction of an admired philosopher, underneath the starry ceiling of a temple.

She began with chit-chat topics, and eventually got to the infamous “what do you do.”

Most people do not expect from the likes of me the kind of answer I give them.  MDiv student, yadayada, books, etc.  Oh, what will you do with that? they ask.  Be a nun?  (Okay, actually, that’s not fair.  I’ve only gotten that response a couple times.  But still.)

Instead, this woman was very attentive and wide-eyed as I explained my aspirations, and she was full of encouraging words as she proceeded to  relate to me how her parents had been missionaries in Japan for over 40 years, but she and her late husband were not particularly “religious.”  She remarked that in her life observations, it did not seem to matter what kind of “faith” someone claimed to have; no matter what their religious alliance is, that faith has been rendered null and void unless that person’s life reflected change.  Claiming a faith means nothing unless others can see what tangible difference it makes in your life.

Quite an accurate and interesting observation, from someone who claims no faith.   I thought she was just repeating James, you know.  But the manner and content of her communication did not relay such knowledge.  She was earnest with that statement, and she hit the nail on the head.

Then I got to thinking…perhaps…this is WHY it’s so easy to be open with one’s faith around here.  Nobody cares, because it’s mostly just talk. So, who gives a fig about what you believe?  It’s fine to be “spiritual” anyway you like….right, ’cause everybody knows you won’t truly act on it.  Laziness and apathy.  Apathy and dishonesty.  Hypocrisy.  Ouch.  In the end, apathy becomes our greatest enemy.

Something is very wrong with that picture, people.  Especially if you claim to know, love, and follow Jesus, yes?  Do others see that?

…yes?  How do you know?

…no?  Well, what in the world are you going to do about it?

I hope you act prayerfully.  If you don’t want to act, I suggest you have a good, long conversation with God about why.

And let’s keep this kind of stagnate-producing-apathy at bay.

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3 thoughts on “on apathy and action

  1. mumbo says:

    I am glad you have these opportunities for chatting and being open about your faith. The insightful statement about ‘faith showing itself by its works’ was very worth noting from someone without ‘faith?’ Yeah, I don’t want apathy tailing me either. But what about encounters where one gets ‘negative feedback’? Should we be willing to talk about faith even if we are not in Seattle where people are not as open? I had a very negative encounter not too long ago and so I wonder, am I being too blunt and ‘to the point’? Is there such a thing? Am I living what I speak? Thought provoking stuff…:)

  2. Ralina says:

    Loved this Sabrina! There really is no point to any sort of belief system if it doesn’t define who we are. I hope that this lady you spoke with will someday choose to be defined by the Great Definer, despite many of His said followers who are content to live in nothingness.

  3. Josè Pascal says:

    Surfing the waves of the web I am pleasantly stranded in this beautiful blog.

    I write under the pseudonym of Josè Pascal (a descendant of the great Colonel Aureliano Buendía).

    I invite you to visit my italinglish blog http://parolesemplici.wordpress.com/mytinbox/. I define this blog “In parole Semplici” as a “virtuacultural tin” box where they are guarded thoughts, memories, images, sounds, and simple stories. ”

    If you want to participate and for have more informations send me a letter to inparolesempli@gmail.com

    Good life and I hope to soon
    Josè

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