Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. Colossians 2:8 (NLT)
Our attention spans are growing shorter by the day. Right now, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is getting old. We have been bombarded with 24 hour news coverage. Our television screens are filled with commentators commenting, experts expounding, oil gushing and no clear answer in sight. While, yes, this is one of the worst ecological disasters in history, it has been over 80 days now, and to be honest, we’re ready to move on to something else. We care. We’re just tired of hearing about it.
Are we jaded? Are we uncaring? No, we’re just oversaturated. Considering that we can’t actually do anything about the spill, it’s just too much to keep thinking about every day. Today, we can change the channel about 500 times and watch something else.
We’ve come a long way. I remember in the summer of 1973 sitting at the babysitter’s house with nothing to watch on all three channels (yes three) except the Watergate Hearings. No Price is Right. No Matchgame ’73. No Sesame Street. Just all Watergate all of the time. The nation was captivated by the downfall of a president. There was nothing else worth watching.
But, today, while every other nation in the world closes shop for the World Cup, we pause to consider purchasing a vuvuzela, then surf to the next channel.
In a society with a short attention span, it’s easy to be distracted by the new and shiny things. How do we center our lives on the Old, Old Story? It’s not new or shiny.
Everything new is not bad. It’s just too much. Once upon a time, news traveled slowly by horseback or by telegraph wire which would appear in the next day’s paper. Today, if the news channels don’t update election results quickly enough, then we can surf over to the Secretary of State’s website. More often than not, we read the breaking news on Twitter before we ever see it on TV or even CNN’s website.
The nature of our news has changed as well. We’re not just told what happen, we’re also told what to think about it. We don’t really have to think for ourselves anymore. The news commentators tell us what it means and why it’s right or wrong. We used to call this “yellow journalism” when opinion would bleed over into the news report. Today, we just call it journalism.
Who are we allowing to think for us? We certainly can’t think about all of the things that are thrown at us constantly. What used to be given as “food for thought” has in a large part become our thoughts. But, how much of it would be categorized as “empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense”?
No wonder it’s difficult to hear from God at times. We have so many inputs into our lives than we don’t need to hear from anyone else, including Him.
So, here’s a challenge: unplug. Probably not for the rest of your life, but for a week. If you’re headed out for vacation, leave your TV off and your laptop at home. Rather than listening to the “Great American Panel,” go for a walk and listen to our Deliverer.
It’s easy to get caught up in the thinking of this world. It’s also easy to become overwhelmed by everything that’s going on. Why not make your morning newspaper, news show, new site or twitter feed your prayer list? God can handle everything that’s thrown at us.
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