People Know Best…Right?

People know best…right?

Recently there was a march in London – 670,000 people walked the streets of London – showing they wanted a new vote on Brexit. Nearly seven-hundred-thousand people. Surely, that many people can’t be wrong, can they?

On 23rd June, 2016, 17,410,742 people in the UK, voted to leave – so surely they couldn’t all be wrong – could they? And yet over sixteen million voted to remain in Europe. Which is also rather a lot of people. So who was right? Who had the best interests of the country at heart? Surely, when millions of people vote for something, it shows what is right – doesn’t it?

Yet, as the above example shows, clearly millions of people can vote for something that is wrong, because in the Europe vote, both sides cannot be right, which means millions of people have voted for the wrong thing. Which shows, I think, that we cannot always trust what other people think to be right. Something which has the support of the masses, is not necessarily correct. Sometimes, people are wrong. Sometimes, millions of people are wrong. (Which is a slightly scary thought when you live in a democracy – because populations can vote for the wrong thing.)

If we look at the arts, we can see more examples of what the masses think. I know of many singers, musicians, artists, who will probably never be famous, but not because they weren’t ‘good enough’. Were the Spice Girls the best singers at the height of their fame? Are the acts that win X Factor the best entertainers?

Look at the book reviews on Amazon. Some modern books have thousands of reviews. Other, great books, do not. The Phantom of the Opera has only a few hundred reviews, even though everyone has heard of it – but not many people read it. Sometimes, the number of reviews say more about the amount of time the author spends on social media, and less about the quality of the book. {Small plug here – if you have read one of my books, please scribble a review on Amazon. Even if you didn’t like it! Only 1% of people who read my books bother to put a review on Amazon, and it’s how some people choose books.}

I was thinking about this recently, as I was asked to preach at a nearby church. It’s tiny, with a tiny congregation of mainly elderly people. The service was very traditional, and several members took part, some of them with major health issues (the lady leading the service pulled her oxygen tank around with her) and I gave the talk. It was not a professional product. And yet, it was a service where I felt the worship was very real, the love of God was very evident, these were people who were sincere in their faith.

In comparison, there is a study-guide which is popular at the moment in churches. The author is a well-known American pastor, who leads a huge church. He is an engaging speaker, I imagine his church has beautiful music and up-to-date IT, and a wonderful building. But would you feel God there? Certainly the study seems to be made up of popular sound-bites and clever phrases, the sort of thing that people like to repeat because it makes them feel better about how they’re living. But there isn’t much in-depth Bible study, there isn’t much that encourages you to come in awe to the presence of God and understand more about who he is. It seems, in my opinion, rather glib.

So why does a seemingly superficial church have thousands of members and a sincere group of Christians remain tiny? Perhaps because God wants it that way. Perhaps he wants to bless those faithful Christians, and for them to have a safe place, where things don’t change, and they can worship him. Sometimes Christian churches can feel like scalp-hunters, they judge the value of something by how many people are in the building. I don’t think God does. Sometimes, people don’t know best. Sometimes the most popular is not the best. Sometimes we need to look to God, and make choices based on what our hearts tell us, not simply follow the crowd. Because sometimes, the crowd is wrong.

Thank you for reading. Hope you make some good choices this week. I’ll write again next week – I want to tell you about an author who refused to accept that “what everyone thinks is best” (which perhaps was a mistake).
Take care,
Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson has written several novels. They are available from bookshops and Amazon.
You can follow her blog at:
anneethompson.com
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