Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is It Loud In Here?

Our culture is a culture that is dominated by mass media. We have so many forms of information and communication vying for our attention that at times it is a bit overwhelming. The result is that our lives are filled with so much information, from the morning newspaper to the latest blockbuster, that it is hard to find time to be alone with just our thoughts.

Part of the reason, I believe, we have allowed our lives to be so consumed by media is that we would rather not be alone with our thoughts. Our thoughts lead us to ponder the great ancient questions of life: Who am I? Is there a God? Isn’t there more to life? Why am I here? and that would mean that we would have to start looking for answers.

The result is that many people haven’t even begun to wrestle with the big questions of life. They are more concerned about the next adventure of Jack Bauer, the newest album from Nickelback, what Paris Hilton is wearing, wether Rudy or Hillary will be the next president, and how many touchdowns Randy Moss will have this season. We are distracted from what is truly important.

Even more than that I have come to believe that all this media has drowned out the voice of God. Not only are people distracted from the questions that lead one to seek God, but with all the other voices shouting in their hearts they cannot hear the voice of God. He has been silenced, and people wonder why He hasn’t revealed Himself to them.

This past summer when I was helping at a high school week of camp I over heard some girls talking about how much they missed their iPods and couldn’t wait to get back home so they could listen to their music. Even though they didn’t have the earphones on and the music cranked it still was drowning out the voice of God. They were distracted from what is truly important.

I wonder if we don’t help contribute to this problem when we have movie nights at church and camp, use so much video in our messages, and make Christian entertainers role models for our youth. Aren’t we just adding to the “noise” that already exists in a person’s heart?

As we seek to reach out to people with the Good News of the Gospel we have to focus on two realities. The first reality is that we live in an age of mass media. That is not going to change. So instead of bashing it we have to seek to redeem it for God’s purposes. The question needs to be asked: How can we use this for God’s glory? We can’t be accepting of everything that comes down the pike, but neither can we just blindly reject. Cell phones, iPods, and You Tube videos of part of the way our culture communicates so we need to figure out how to use them to share God’s truth.

The second reality is that people are distracted. Their are distracted from the pain of their next door neighbor, the terrible conditions of the extreme poor around the world, and even from the needs of their own children. The parent who is constantly online (cell phone, blackberry, e-mail) because of their job is just as distracted as the teenage couch potato who has just played Halo 3 for five hours straight. The Church needs to think about how we can help people simplify their lives and get rid of all the distractions so they might have a chance to hear God’s still small voice as they read and study Scripture, pray, worship, fellowship, and serve.

People are missing God because their lives have become too loud to hear Him. How can we help people to hear the voice of God again?

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