Recently I have been reading the introduction to Jack Kerouac’s book On The Road which supposedly defined the ‘Beat Generation’. Kerouac tried for years to find his voice, and made many attempts to write the book. When he finally got it all together it made him famous overnight, though he spent the rest of his career being asked to define the ‘Beat Generation’. Kerouac wrote his book in the 50’s. More recently they turned it into a movie.
Whether Kerouac defined a generation or simply expressed something that some people were feeling is a question worth debating. Either way, all this musing has made me wonder about the prophetic voices now in society. We live in a noisy, cluttered age, people shout at us via Twitter, Youtube, Facebook etc (and blogs like this!) Who makes you stop and think? Who brings the still small voice now? The one that will make us retire to a quiet corner and reassess. I went through a period in the zeros when the likes of Rob Bell, Don Miller (who wrote his own road trip book), Shane Claiborne and others stopped me in my tracks and made me re think life.
One of the odd things about the prophetic voices in the Bible is
that, not only did most people ignore them, but the prophets knew beforehand that MOST PEOPLE WOULD IGNORE THEM. It was almost part of the job description. It was only when I thought on the fact that here I am, thousands of years later still reading their words, and finding life in them, that I got the point. Prophets are often overlooked at the time. But their words may stand forever.
Makes you wonder who will stand the test of time? Who will be remembered in 50… 100… 200 years. Did the Biblical prophets have any idea that we would be chewing on their stuff today? And who does inspire us now?
I recall being inspired by the visionary track Voice in the Night by the Barrett Band. It’s very much of its time but worth hearing it again. I’m not sure if the likes of Ezekiel or Isaiah ever got round to putting their lyrics to music – but they may have come across a little like this… (be patient, the lyrics kick in somewhere around 2 mins 15 seconds.)
He told me, “Son of man, eat what you see. Eat this book. Then go and speak to the family of Israel.” As I opened my mouth, he gave me the scroll to eat, saying, “Son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!” So I ate it. It tasted so good – just like honey.
Then he told me, “Son of man, go to your people and speak my Message. Look, I’m not sending you to a people who speak a difficult language with words you can hardly pronounce. If I had sent you to such people, their ears would have perked up and they would have listened immediately. But it won’t work that way with these folk. They won’t listen to you because they won’t listen to me. They are, as I said, a hard case, hardened in their sin. But I’ll make you as hard in your way as they are in theirs. I’ll make your face as hard as rock, harder than granite. Don’t let them intimidate you. Don’t be afraid of them, even though they’re a bunch of rebels.” Ezekiel 3