This ad will not display on your printed page.
As an Englishman, one of the biggest challenges I've faced in America is automated call centers. You miss a package delivery from FedEx, and you have to call them to arrange a new delivery time. The problem is that when you call, you aren't connected to a human being. You are connected to a talking robot programmed to recognize what you are saying in English.
Or should I say, it is programmed to recognize what you are saying in American English.
Every time I call FedEx, I end up conducting the entire conversation in an accent that can only be described as the unholy offspring of John Wayne and Judi Dench. The talking robot, who is trying extremely hard not to laugh, keeps asking me to repeat myself. For a Brit, it is absolutely humiliating. It's as if someone has implemented the whole system as payback for nearly two centuries of colonial rule.
The last time it happened, it occurred to me that this nightmarish limbo is a familiar place for many of us. Making choices and moving on with our lives seems increasingly difficult. We find ourselves paralyzed: unable to make choices about relationships, dating, marriage, money, family, and career. I want to suggest that if we feel unable to make these choices, it's not because we have the wrong accent. It may be because we're worshiping a false god.
1 Kings 18:21 describes a crucial moment of decision. It's the final showdown between the God of Israel and a false god called Baal. Elijah calls God's people to choose once and for all between the living God who delivered them, and this false god who has captured their affections: "'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.' But the people said nothing."
They seem unable, or unwilling, to make a choice. They want to hedge their bets, sit on the fence, and keep their options open. How different are we Christians in the 21st century? ...