On the Tonight Show, host, Jay Leno, has a frequent segment called “Jay Walking.” He goes out into the area surrounding their studio… talks to real people (only to about 15 people and then about 9 make it on the show) and after about an hour of shooting they are ready to go. Here is a sample of what Jay finds:
A Man who thought the first president was Benjamin Franklin.
A Woman who when asked how many stars were on the American Flag atop a nearby flag pole answered: “I can’t tell, the wind is moving it too fast.”
My favorite: A graduate from college still in cap and gown was asked what the Gettysburg Address was. After hemming and hawing, Jay asked her: “Have you heard of it?” She responded: “Yes, I’ve heard of it. I don’t know the actual address though.”
When asked what separates the inner ear and outer ear, one bright person said: Your brain?
Another was asked: Who lives in Vatican city? Their answer: Vaticans. Jay responded: “No, but he has a tall hat. Answer: “Abraham Lincoln?”
Shows like that make me feel smart. I love shows like that. Jeopardy, not so much. Those contestants seem to know everything. “What is the weight of a ball bearing off a Boeing 747, Alex?” “Correct!” They are smart, but that is only Jeopardy smart.
Then there is “Brilliant” smart… it is an intelligence that goes beyond remembering facts… these people have the capacity to understand things at an ultra complicated level. They can be intimidating. Particularly if they come to conclusions you don’t agree with. The atheist with his book about why God doesn’t exist has a lot of degrees after his name. You know he is wrong, but how do you reason with someone so intelligent?
Often when met with “brilliant” smart, we just stay silent. Obviously we have nothing to say.
Paul is about to step into the world of the culturally elite. He had to feel a bit intimidated as he entered Athens. But he knew he was defending the truth and to stand up for the truth is always the intelligent thing to do.
Heard the story recently of Courtney Ellis, a former graduate student at Princeton: “When I attended graduate school for English, there were many occasions when my fellow students openly ridiculed the name of Christ. To my great detriment, I stayed silent. I was quite vocal about my belief in Christ at church and with my friends, but I was terrified of what might happen to my reputation if the people at my school found out I believed in Jesus. … Most of them were just ignorant about who Jesus is. Several of them had never even met a Christian before and assumed that all Christians were the uneducated, judgmental stereotypes we sometimes see in the media. Yet, I was still afraid.
As the program went on, I began to feel guiltier for these silences. If I couldn’t be obedient to Christ in such a central thing, how would I be able to serve him in other ways? God was faithful in my rocky road to obedience—opportunities to speak up for Christ continued to come my way.
One day a fellow student asked me flat out—right before class, when many other people were around—if I was a Christian. I was at a crossroads. … I had a clear decision to make.
I took a deep breath, and, with God’s help, I said a soft, shaky, “Yes.” The student looked at me for a second, skeptically.
“Interesting,” she said. “I always thought that Christians were like circus freaks…but you’re actually kind of smart!”
It was a small step, but even the smallest step made in obedience is progress. God tells us not to fear for our reputations, because the truth will always win out.”
[More to Come]