I read a free chapter from a new book Heavy Rain by Kris Vallotton and it really made me think about some of my complaints of WHY do they do these things! I wanted to share a little of it with you to get your mind stirring and to recommend his book (link to find it below).
The below quotes from the book got me thinking about a news item I saw the other night right here in Australia where a man with a small knife was robbing someone behind a counter threatening and scaring him with this knife while at least six or more people stood around watching. It is dangerous to run head long into a man with a knife but he had his back turned, busy terrorizing the clerk and the six people could have jumped him from the back, they were close enough to do it in a couple steps. And I saw no one use their cell phone to call 911. This was all captured on the security camera. Shameful action to my mind.
In his best-selling book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell recounts the now classic story of mindless crowd-think revealed in the report of a young woman named Kitty Genovese, who was brutally raped and murdered in 1964 in Queens, New York. The most shocking part of the story was that, according to the New York Times report, 38 of her neighbors witnessed Genovese desperately fighting for her life. Though the incident lasted more than half an hour, not one of them intervened or even called the police.
This report provoked various investigations into what two scientists have termed the “bystander problem.” Their studies revealed that if one person witnesses a crime, it is likely that he or she will get involved. But as the number of witnesses grows, the chances of intervention drastically decrease.
The apparent reason for this is that, as Gladwell writes, “when people are in a group responsibility for acting is diffused.”3 This bystander problem is also called the crowd syndrome. Everyone thinks that everyone else has made the call, and consequently, no one does anything.
Former president Ronald Reagan famously said, “To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last—but eat you he will.” When we choose not to make that 911 call, we had better remind ourselves that we might become the next victim.
(From Kris Vallotton from Chapter 10) But can we learn to think a little, please? When people stop thinking for themselves, they cut off the flow of invention, innovation and advancement. This creates a stale culture where traditions and rituals lose their significance, mostly because no one can remember why on earth they are doing them.
It is time to question reality. It is important to ask ourselves why we do the things we do. Is it possible that the conditions that caused us to keep certain important traditions have changed? Has deeper revelation or new technology made the customs in which we take so much pride and from which we get so much comfort irrelevant? It is time that we transition from a stereotype to a prototype.
I have been called to be a voice, not an echo. I refuse to be reduced to a political affiliation, a denomination, a generation, a geographic location, my sexual orientation or my ordination. I will not settle for becoming a cheap imitation of another instead of an original of myself. I will not be condensed to a history lesson, nor will I allow someone’s fear to constrain my own exploits. I will not bow down to anyone’s idol or be conformed to old religious ideologies that will render me irrelevant to the Kingdom. On the other hand, it is not my desire to become a maverick or a heretic who exchanges the solid foundation of time-tested truth for the test tube of isolation. I therefore will allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, guide me and correct me. I will submit to true leadership and remain mouldable, teachable and humble. I will love passionately, live zealously, work wholeheartedly, laugh joyfully and be completely spent at the end of my life. I will walk powerfully, pray unceasingly, give extravagantly and serve God with my whole being.
It takes courage to break ranks with religious clones and think for ourselves. But we must realize that creativity, imagination and real learning are never cultivated in crowds. We also have to recognize that there are no permanent “arrivals” or plateaus in this life. Either we are growing, expanding and developing, or we are declining, stagnating and petrifying. No matter how much you have seen, experienced and learned, there is always more, always a new frontier that requires courage to explore. If you stop living on this edge of continuous growth and expansion, you risk cutting yourself off from your potential in God.
Believers who grow up in democratic countries often live under the delusion that the Kingdom is a democracy. We forget that God refers to Himself as King, not President. For example, we think that if we can rally a million people to pray in Washington, D.C., then certainly God will have to move on behalf of our nation. Personally, I love to see Christians get together for anything and I support large gatherings, but the Kingdom of God is not a democracy; it is a theocracy. When Judah was in trouble, God commanded the prophet Jeremiah, “Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, then I will pardon her” (Jeremiah 5:1, emphasis added).
The Lord does not look down from heaven and take a head count to see who is on the side of a particular issue so that He can act. Believe it or not, He is not the cosmic pollster. Can you imagine Jesus saying to Gabriel, “Well, Gabe, it looks as if we finally got a majority of believers to agree with us on that marriage issue; you can go ahead and intervene on that thing now”? That is ridiculous, yet it is the predominant mindset of the Church. God continues to say, as He has always said, “Find Me a man, a woman, a son or a daughter. Just find Me someone who is fed up, fired up and filled up.” God told the Israelites, “The eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
God is not looking for a crowd; He is longing for a person. He is not wowed by the masses or mesmerized by the multitudes. Neither is He put off by the powerless. He just needs someone to step out of the crowd and make that phone call. He is simply longing once again for a person like David to emerge from the wilderness and let the giants of life know that they have messed with the wrong guy. They have taunted the armies of the living God.
The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
Heavy Rain by Kris Vallotton
Find out about Kris Vallotton’s new book and get your own free copy of the chapter I have quoted parts of above at http://revival.ibethel.org/heavyrain-freechapter
The book can also be found on Amazon.com