Friday, May 7

Christian "Couch-Potatoes"?!

It is one of my concerns that constant exposure to outside media (TV, radio, internet news, etc) will jade our values, cloud our ability to make rational arguments, and hinder us from operating within a biblical context. Whoever we hear or read the most will likely end up becoming OUR point of view. This argues greatly for a steady diet of Scripture and prayer! Peter writes, "For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved" (2 Peter 2:19). In his article, "National Derangement," Colson writes:
Are we all losing our minds, spending half our lives watching politics on the tube? I'm reminded of the words of Soren Kierkegaard, the 19th-century Danish philosopher. Almost 100 years before the invention of television, Kierkegaard predicted what would happen if such a thing were invented. "Suppose," Kierkegaard wrote, "someone invented . . . a convenient little talking tube which could be heard over the whole land. I wonder if the police would not forbid it, fearing that the whole country would become mentally deranged."
He was right: We are becoming deranged. We are succumbing to what French philosopher Jacques Ellul prophesied in the 1960s, the politicization of all aspects of life. Ellul foresaw the Information Age and the media's need for a steady flow of information to feed the populace. Media therefore would gravitate to covering centers of power. Politicians would be willing accomplices, because they'd gain fame and clout.
Without realizing it, an undisciplined viewership of TV will inevitably cause us to reformulate our own opinions, perhaps even conforming those opinions to that of the media moguls! I say "without discipline," for we cannot reject every bit of news lest we give way to ignorance. Colson continues,
What's the answer? First, we better recognize that politics is not the be-all and end-all. Politics is merely the expression of culture. Clean up culture—that's our job—and politics will follow.
This happened when God's people were awakened in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. England then was in worse straits than we are today, with slavery, child labor, and rampant political corruption. But along came William Wilberforce, the Oxford movement, and the Salvation Army. What followed was a great, century-long revival of Christian faith. England was not only saved in the Wesley revivals, it was stronger than ever.
I'm a bit skeptical of Colson's focus on "cleaning up culture" being the church's goal. Why do I say this? First, read his concluding remarks . . .
So we as 21st-century Christians must do the same thing. And there is no time to lose. If, as I believe, the political illusion has America by the throat, there are only two likely outcomes—revolution, which is what the Tea Party people suggest (albeit peacefully), or tyranny.
God has acted again and again through His people to change history's course. But for that to happen, the Church had better sober up, summon its spiritual resources, expose the political illusion, and begin to defend and live the Christian faith in our culture.
Why am I skeptical? It is true that the Church must rise up and be the cleansing agent in our culture. Proclaim the gospel openly. The only true solution for society's ills is the sin-freeing, life-granting truth of the good news through Jesus Christ. But, our call is not to make our culture more moral or livable. Our calling is proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all the earth and the universe whether the culture becomes more moral or not (which may be what Colson means)! 

We, as Church, are indeed the "light of the world," and the "salt of the earth." But these properties aid in her filling the earth with the glory of the Lord, not just in making our country a nicer place in which to live. Both would be nice, but only one has eternal implications. Only one inevitably worships God rightly. That, obviously, takes precedence, does it not? So, Colson is certainly right about one thing, the church had better "sober up" and "summon its spiritual resources" and expose the world to truth. Let us, then be overcome by Jesus Christ. Blessed slavery!


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