‘The Bachelor’ and God Talk

I was working in Starbucks one day long enough to hear two different conversations in the seats directly behind me. Same seats. Both conversations had two people, reclined in coffee-scented, leather chairs. One conversation’s main theme was The Bachelor (or The Bachelorette), commenting on who went home and who the conversation partners “could not believe is still on the show,” along with their predictions as to what would happen next.

The conversation’s tone went up and down, each person taking turns raising their voice and expressing amazing passion about the topic at hand.

The next pair’s conversation had a main theme of church. They talked about author’s they were reading and whether or not they should tithe to the church that they were going to because they were unsure about the doctrine of eschatology that the associate pastor hinted at in his last sermon.

The conversation’s tone went up and down, each person taking turns raising their voice and expressing amazing passion about the topic at hand.

I found this to be an interesting phenomenon. I came to a conclusion that The Bachelor had somehow crafted a religious response in their fan base or that religion has created a spectator response among its adherents.

Deciding which could be more accurate is not easy; one could make an argument for both and for either.

Of course, my concern is for the latter, for it speaks to the nature of belief. What intrigues me is that a spectating faith could actually separate what a person believes from how that belief works in his/her life. Beliefs become commodities that one can stack on a shelf (metaphorically), safe and tucked away until there is an opportunity to take it off the shelf to use it, like in a conversation or in a FB post battle.

Vincent Miller suggests that beliefs used to hold people; today people hold beliefs.

This is why we can have spirited conversations about God and “be there” but then “switched a gear” when the experience is over and say, “Wow. That was nice. I haven’t talked about God like that in a long time.” And it really had been a long time.

This is why we can have a conversation with someone at church with enough Church-inese stuffed into our part of the conversation so as to give the other person the conclusion that many words were used but nothing was really said.


It is why we can have a “Christian self” that runs alongside other selves that we’ve hatched into the world. Everything is fine with that set up until our Christian self bumps into another self that doesn’t get along with the Christian self. We then ask ourselves, “Selves… who am I?” And all three of you say, “Not sure.”

This is why we can say that we love someone all-the-while express acute (and not-so-acute) postures of distaste. No wonder they cannot hear us even when we say I love you in frantic, angry tones.

Have you ever asked someone to explain exactly how they see you and you would not let them out of the conversation until everything that needed to be said could be said?

Who knows… an interesting revelation about the nature of our faith could be realized.

Who knows… maybe we’d experience this amazing opportunity of conversion and repentance.

Just add Eucharist and everything will be ok.

Let’s start chatting, people.


3 thoughts on “‘The Bachelor’ and God Talk

  1. Good thoughts, Joe. For a while I have been generally down on preaching because a lot of what I heard seemed to just be a neat way of saying something. There was no call to action or “so what” that came after, at least nothing of any significance. May our words actually mean something when we speak.

  2. I’ve read that the same chemicals that get released in your brain when you are with your friends and socializing get released when you watch TV. Essentially the natural need for human interaction and contact feels like it’s getting met when we watch TV shows. We feel like the characters are our friends and sometimes we know them better than we know our real friends.
    The tragedy is that these TV friends don’t know us, don’t interact with us, and are made up. They can’t satisfy our desire for relationships but since we get a little hint of that satisfaction we just think that we need more.. So we watch hours and hours of TV which only leaves us wanting. We don’t go out with our real friends because we can’t miss “our” shows and slowly in a vicious cycle our real friends get replaced by TV shows.

    And then on the small chance we do socialize with real people, we talk about TV… something that has nothing to do with who we are or even what we’ve done. We replace our identity and deeds with vicarious/spectating ones.

    TV is almost like alcohol in that watching it with friends to supplement your relationship is okay, watching TV by yourself is perhaps not.

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