Where’s the off button?

I’ve had enough.

power_switch_350Television lost its appeal years ago when I began to recognize the repetitive and predictable story lines. Canned laugh tracks, musical crescendos and commercial interruptions timed to stimulate viewer excitement, annoyed me even more. And the news programs so obviously crafted to influence my thoughts and monopolize my attention, grieve me deeply. What little news I do get, is from the internet. But the agendas of news web sites are no different than broadcast news.

Not long ago, I read this:

Cable news is a cancer. It is not even news anymore. Whether it’s CNN … FOX, or MSNBC, there is almost no news. The programming is primarily designed to keep you angry and outraged and self-righteous. Cable news also manufactures an alternate reality that doesn’t exist out here in the real world — it’s a propaganda machine designed to influence opinion-makers and most especially lawmakers … Living in the cable news ecosystem completely skews your perspective away from reality and what actually matters — like jobs and security. (LINK)

While I appreciate the author’s suggestion of jobs and security as subjects more worthy of our focus, I am more concerned with protecting the sanctity of my mind and spirit. About that, the words of Paul make an impression with me:

… take every thought captive to obey Christ … (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)

Paul uses the language of war to describe the challenge each of us faces to determine who will rule the kingdom within us. For example, in the one moment, Simon declared revealed truth for which the Messiah called him Peter (the rock) while in the next, Simon gave voice to Satan’s manipulative lie (CITE). From this we ought to recognize and actively engage the enemy in the continual battle within us to possess the entirety of our being for the Kingdom of God.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV)

The fact is, there are two forces competing for the supremacy of our thoughts. Where the Lord is renewing our minds (CITE) while standing guard over our heart and thoughts (CITE), shouldn’t we cooperate with Him by doing what we can to silence the enemy’s attempts to sway us, through his minions, the media (television, radio and internet news)?

Where’s the off button, anyway?

I hate it when someone or something tries to manipulate me. It’s nothing less than witchcraft. Lest the reader think calling it “witchcraft” is over the top, the essence of witchcraft is to influence the will of one to do the bidding of another.  As such, the media treats viewers, listeners and readers, like so many drones to be programmed to carry out the interest(s) of the individual(s) behind the message.

The net result of allowing the media to stir up my flesh, in self-righteous anger, is the disruption of communion with the Holy Spirit within me. For example, often when I check in on my elderly father who lives with me, he talks while continuing to watch CNN and I find myself asking him to repeat himself over and over, until finally he mutes the TV and we can talk, without distraction. It’s no different when the Holy Spirit has to compete with the media for my attention.

Here’s what it’s like:

No wonder we are called to be “crucified with Christ” and to “take up our cross”, in order to silence our corrupt (stained) flesh and thereby connect (commune) with the Holy Spirit without disruption! For this reason, I want to possess my mind for the Lord. Too long have I have allowed worldly concerns and wisdom to compete for my attention thereby interfering with the Spirit’s communion. Instead, I must make this my practice:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 ASV)

It’s a small step, I know, but this morning I trashed all the bookmarks to the news web sites I frequent. In doing so, I looked for web sites with “uplifting news”, for which Google returned several results. Among them, a page at the Huffington Post. Please note in the image below, that the most recent article on their “Uplifting News” page is from April 03, 2014. Notice also the sidebar on the right, with links to reports of yesterday’s tragedy in Dallas, followed by the text exchange between a young girl and the person with whom she had hoped to have a “booty call”. This HuffPo calls “Uplifting News” (good grief).

 

upliftingnews_wapo

Uplifting News (more like Upchucking News).

Whether you follow liberal or conservative news sites, does it really matter? Both are a case of “pick your poison.” Which ever you chose, it’s still poison: to your mind, your thoughts, your soul, your communion with the Spirit.

Something tells me I won’t miss news web sites one damn bit. And if you’re wondering how it is I’ll pick a candidate to vote for, I figure to give prayer a try. 😉

PS – I did Google up a few sites that looked to have genuine uplifting stories. They are (I haven’t checked these out yet – but on first blush they look promising):

Good News Network
Sunny Skyz
Good News at TODAY.com
DailyGood – News that Inspires
Good News Shared

And of course, my wife Karen’s favorite:

Godvine