“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
The Facebook term “news feed,” which describes the constant update of links, posts, videos, and chatter from people and pages we Like, is an apt summation of how many of us live our mental lives.
We consume information.
Doesn’t matter if it’s good information, accurate information, helpful information, interesting information, or disingenuous, fallacious, specious, and spurious information, we eat it up, mentally, all day long as if we were snacking on chips, dip, cookies, fast food, soda pop and Cheese Twisty-Os.
The half-cup of broccoli and filet of salmon that we manage to get down for dinner compete heavily against the bagged, boxed, frozen, vacuum-sealed, and canned prepared food products that, arguably, have little to do with actual food. But we have been trained to think of them all on the identical plane.
In the same way, much of what we accept as “news” has less to do with imparting actual information as it does the melding and the molding of how we think: there is analysis, commentary, interpretation, and exegesis — all concerning “news” of which we don’t, realistically, know the veracity.
A Harvest of Fear
The result — or fruit — of our passion and fascination for up-to-date enlightenment frequently looks like fear, and whether one listens to the convenient, neatly divided Left or Right, Liberal or Conservative, CNN or Fox, or even hangs onto every word of alternative news gurus or the sputtering, vitriolic radio voices, the general result is that we walk about in a state of concern for the future, anger at injustice, and, most importantly, frustration at our inability to do anything.
(It is a disturbing aspect of many alternative news sites that their primary solution to our escalating world problems of grab and greed is that we 1) prepare for martial law, 2) buy their survival kits, and 3) send them money so that they can keep on sending us updates. But at least they provide a refreshing counteraction to the standardized message of the corporate media, which simply encourages us to keep shopping, register to vote, and tune in at 11 for more of the same.)
If we allow ourselves to be — by opening our ears to all the voices that are available to us via mass media (is anyone else out there offended by the entertainment and corporate world’s lumping of billions of unique, precious, individual people into “the masses”?) — we are assaulted by more information, mis-information, and disinformation than we can possibly handle.
And whether we use 10 percent of our brain or 75 percent, in concordance with what number pop-science decides upon today, commonsense tells us ordinary, non-brilliant sorts that there is only so much material that can go swimming around in there.
When our thoughts are focused on the ever-morphing news that has a two-day shelf life (what happened with Ebola, by the way? Are the Cupcake Wars over between the Christian bakeries and gay marriage community? And what’s Bruce/Caitlyn up to these days?) we have little room to reflect upon important things, and for Christians, important things have to do with God: His nature, His words, His promises, His reassurances, His love. Reflecting upon God is the path to truth. When we recognize truth, we more easily spot the lies.
A 30-minute small group Bible study, once a week, doesn’t suffice for chasing out the buzz on our news feed, and indeed, if our brains were Facebook (thank God they’re not), deep, meditative, healing thoughts about God might not even make it on the feed. There’s too much other stuff.
Take a break from it all — the “news” will still be there when you get back — but for a week, or just a day if that’s all you can manage — walk away from social media, turn off the TV, quit obsessing on your phone, set the magazine aside, and just give your brain a break.
Don’t turn it into a spiritual thing — a self-imposed law which you will inevitably break, and thereby manufacture into a failure of sin — but consider it a rest, a reprieve, a respite, a Sabbath, if you will.
In seeking the Kingdom of God, by ignoring, for awhile, the dissonant voices of men, we breathe the air of freedom.
Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes, where I encourage all Christians to seek — most ardently and with enthusiasm — the Kingdom of God. I have a feeling that, when our feet are planted firmly within, the things of this world won’t freak us out so much.
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