Summary: People are hungry, spiritually today. Yet often people look for a quick fix. What does it mean to follow Jesus? What does it mean to fish for people?
Bibliography: Culture Shift, lesson 8
I learned something interesting this week. Let me ask you something. Have you seen Miss Cleo on television lately? You know who Miss Cleo is, don’t you? Have you noticed that her commercials haven’t been on television lately?
It seems that Miss Cleo is being sued.
The Missouri attorney general has filed two lawsuits against a television psychic hotline for false advertising, fraud and other unlawful business practices. The hotline advertises services by Miss Cleo, who speaks with a Caribbean accent and promises psychic and tarot card readings.
“They should’ve seen it coming, whether they were psychic or not,” the Attorney General told CNN.
“The fact that they didn’t see it coming shows they aren’t psychic.”
It seems they offer 3 free minutes of a psychic reading, but then spend those three minutes getting your name, telephone number, and other information, and then place you on hold for the next available psychic until long after your 3 free minutes are up.
They were also accepting calls from children under age, and what I thought was really interesting, they even had some phone calls charged to people who were dead.
Now that’s really being in touch with the spiritual world...
But Missouri isn’t the only state interested in Miss Cleo. It seems she is wanted in Florida too. Only trouble is, no one seems to knows her background or even her full name.
Ah, the mysterious Miss Cleo.
Well finally, on Wednesday February 13, 2002, the Federal Trade Commission filed charges against television’s most famous psychic Miss Cleo, also known as Youree Dell Harris charging that Miss Cleo “cannot substantiate that she had any such national acclaim as a psychic, clairvoyant or tarot reader.”
Now I know you’re not surprised that Miss Cleo is not who she claims to be. But the truth is people flock to psychic hotlines by the thousands.
One gentleman from Tennessee explained how he became a psychic reader. He answered an add in a Tennessee newspaper for telephone counselors with no experience necessary. The job paid twelve dollars an hour. The objective is to keep the caller on the phone for as long as possible because phone call costs $5 a minute. On his first phone call he kept the caller on the line for 53 minutes for a whopping $250.
When he was trained - in the one training session he received, his trainer left him with these words:
“Remember, they’re just looking for something to hang on to, some little bit of hope. If you give that to them, they can turn their lives around.”
Hope. She is exactly right. We are hungry for hope. I think we assume that people who don’t go to church today aren’t interested in church, but the fact of the matter is, people are seeking spirituality today and they - we - are hungry for it.
When people turn to psychics, believe in the healing power of crystals and gemstones, practice the pagan goddess religion known as wicca or witch craft, its what they are searching for. Hope, meaning to life, something to believe in, hope that there is something out there bigger than us that holds the answers to this crazy world we live in.
Just as Simon, Andrew, James, and John, they are fishers too, only they fish for meaning and they do so in a much different way that the 4 gentleman Jesus called to be disciples.
Following the fishing analogy, such spiritual seekers are line fishers. They are looking for a quick fix without a lot of energy. Its more like the effort of recreational fishing. Find a shady spot, cast out a line, and hope you “catch” the answers you are looking for.
But Simon, Andrew, James, and John were commercial fisherman in their day. They fished with nets. It was hard work. If you’ve ever watched the Perfect Storm then you’ve seen the kind of life a commercial fisherman lives, it is a miserable, cold, exhaustive, hard life. I don’t know why anyone would want that kind of job. I’d find any other way to make a living.
But these 4 men were commercial fishermen.
Jesus has just begun his preaching ministry. His message he was spreading is to repent, turn away from your sins, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.
He begins to call people to live a different kind of life from their past. It is not an easy kind of life he is calling people to.
It wasn’t exactly psychic hotlines, but the culture of that day offered simplistic answers. Follow the rules and norms of society and everything will be ok. Only problem is, rules of society said that a few people would live very happy, secure lives, but most people would be miserable and struggle for survival.