David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
September 11, 2007

We all know that the world has changed dramatically over the years, and the fast pace of its change continues today. Mother was born in 1917. Last week, her doctors put cement in her back to stabilize the area that was broken during her recent fall.

In 1917, who could have even imagined such a thing? Putting cement in a person’s back? And without anesthesia? But just imagine the changes that Mother and her generation have witnessed in 90 years. From radio to TV, from records on the Victrola to cassette tapes to 8‑tracks to CDs, from propellers to jets to space travel, and I could go on and on. I remember a man installing a new TV for us when I was a kid. He told us, “The Abilene station is going to start doing the news in color.” Talk about excitement! I remember when we bought “Pong” and were fascinated by it. But I gave up playing new video games with the boys years ago – they were way beyond me.

Many changes have been positive – take, for example, medical breakthroughs, environmental progress, and the Internet (through which we will email this article to nearly 2,000 people). With all of this progress, though, we have lost something very precious – person-to-person communication.

I hate calling a credit card company or an airline, because I almost always end up pushing “0” over and over, and screaming “I want to talk to a human being!” When I fill up my car with gas, I usually don’t even deal with a person, just a machine. I have recently started noticing that even a few churches have put a machine – instead of a person – in charge of answering the phone. Just punch a button for the minister you want to talk to!!!

In fact, it seems as if you can now live your entire life without almost any meaningful personal contact. You can pay your bills, get your groceries delivered, and fill up with gas without talking to a soul. You can even earn a living without leaving your house.


But you know what you cannot do alone? Experience love.

Oh, I realize that Thomas Merton experienced God’s love as a “hermit for Christ,” but most of us are not called to be Thomas Merton. We experience God when someone loves us in Christ’s name, hugs us, tells us that they love us, and stands by us in a time of crisis.

There is no impersonal Jesus.

Jesus usually touches our life when a real, breathing, flesh-and-blood human being loves us in His name, stands beside us when we are most afraid, and believes in us when no one else does.

When you get right down to it, that’s what the Baptist General Convention of Texas really is – the presence of Christ loving people, standing by them, and believing in them. It is universities, child care providers, and health care providers. It is people meeting the needs of senior citizens. Most importantly, it is local churches loving people personally and for real in partnership with the Living Christ. The BGCT is people loving people in Christ’s name.

But remember – love is never love unless it is unconditional and free. As free Texas Baptists, each local church can respond to the call of God to be the presence of Christ in its community and the world . . . answering God’s call to partner with Christ in their own unique way with their own unique gifts, and without fearing interference from the BGCT or anyone else. That is a special kind of freedom. It allows us to be personal in an impersonal world. Think about it, treasure it, and live it.