Its sad to say, but one of my most common inspirations for blogging, is Jim Rome. He has a Sports Talk show called “The Jungle,” broadcast from 12-3 pm (at least on the East Coast). He spends half the time talking sports, and the other half poking fun at sports or in social commentary.
The other day, he ‘preached’ on the typical American pleasantry, “How’s it going?” His point was this: no one really cares how you are doing when they ask this question. Its just a formality like a ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ and deserves the same terse response every time: “fine.” No one really cares how you are doing when they ask that question. So don’t tell them how you’re really doing. Just say “Fine,” no matter what, and move on. People really don’t want to know what’s really going on.
But it’s not just an American issue. I spent 2 months in Mexico one summer and asked “Como Estas (how are you doing)” probably 986 times, and do you know the answer I got back 986 times? “Bien, y tu (Fine, and you..). “Bien” is what I said back. And honestly I’m grateful for their dishonest and terse response because I didn’t have the language skills to respond to anything but a ‘bien.’
But back to America (although its probably like this everywhere). Whether you disagree with the ‘ethicality’ of the attitude, it generally is true. When someone asks the question, “How’s it going,” the expected answer is a quick, “Fine.” But what about with YOU? When you say, “How’s it going,” do you really want an answer other than ‘fine?’ Or when someone asks you, “How are you doing,” do you really want to tell them how you are really doing? Do you have different responses for different people? Should you not ask how the other person is doing if you don’t really care to listen? Let me know what YOU think.
Ah, I can hear Romey now. He’s right, but it shouldn’t be that way. Christians are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. Lately, I’ve made an effort to strike up conversation as the occasion warrants when I’m out shopping at Publix or the Mall. With no effort at all I’ve found there are people who need prayer–the Mom with the son in the military, someone whose friend or family member is ill. That’s the time I’ll ask for a first name and tell them I’ll pray for that person. And, I will. Today I purchased a turquoise necklance at a stall in Westfield Mall. The sales person informed me that turquoise brings peace, or protection, or something. My comment was that I’ll get my peace from God. In a bit the clerk asked if I was a Christian. She’s Catholic, but recently visited a friend’s church and enjoyed it. I didn’t preach a sermon with my comment about the powers of turquoise, but in my simple commentGod opened at door for further sharing. Gail
Great point, Geoff. I must confess that I am guilty of not caring. I greet people all the time with “how are you doing?” and yet not really concerned about their state. And in all honesty, I don’t think I would be ready to hear their life’s story. That is wrong and I need to repent and learn to love my neighbor as I am loved by God.Tom
Thanks Tom. I didn’t bring up the thought because I’m good at it, and I think others are bad. Jim Rome made me really think that I’m more like him than I want to believe! So, you’re not the only one who doesn’t often want to hear anything but ‘fine.’