Monday, September 27, 2010

The Journey, A Serious Man - Part 8

Recently, I took some time off. I decided to go on a camping trip and do some hiking in the mountains. If you’ve read any of my entries on The Journey, you know I’m on a personal mission to rediscover God and how he works in the world. Sometimes, the best place to do that is in the wilderness. I think our lives have become too complicated and often dependent on technology. God is out there, and he is speaking to us. But can we hear him through the clutter and chaos that defines our daily lives?

My goals on this trip were simple. First, take a sabbatical from today’s mass media and media culture. I would suggest this is good for all of us, especially those who work in the media. It’s amazing what getting away from the daily dose of television and movies will do for you. It can bring clarity and redirection back into focus. Another goal was to see if I’m on the right track with my ministry. Have I heard from God? Is the book, A Media Culture Crisis and my blog what God is truly saying to me? My final goal was to assess what a friend had recently told me. He called me a serious man. I believe he meant it in a good way. But what does that mean?

Taking a break from the media is essential. It’s amazing what we get used to and what we accept as normal. Do you think that the world we have created is what God had intended? Perhaps, we have made things a bit too complicated. Being in the wilderness, life seems so simple. In fact, after a few days, it seemed to be the normal thing to do. Get up early each day, eat breakfast and go hike all day. Almost every day I climbed a mountain. There’s simplicity in this routine. Getting to the top wasn’t really the goal. It was the process of doing it that brought the real enjoyment and contentment.

It’s funny how you find God along the trail. He speaks to you in every aspect of nature and creation. Out there, there are no distractions. Your mind can be completely focused on the things of God. You know what God really cares about? He’s concerned with our relationship to him. And he wants us to take care of the people around us. That includes our family, friends and even strangers. It’s really that simple. That’s what God cares about. Forget about the thousands of books written each year on theology or spiritual growth. I’ll save you the time and the money.

So why do we make it so complicated? I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t. However, I have come to understand that the media, whether by design, accident, chance or fate, has been used to distract and insulate us from the things that truly matter. And after you spend some time away from it, that realization will become obvious.

I’m a media guy, and I love the media. I know it has the ability and the power to do good. I’m not telling you to throw your television or your mobile media device in the garbage. My goal is only to offer you some perspective. Edward R. Murrow warned us over 50 years ago how television and the media can be used in a way to amuse us and distract us from the realities of life. If you ask me, I think he has turned into being a prophet.

As far as confirming what God has spoken to me over the past few months, I believe the book and this blog is an adequate reflection of what God is currently doing in media and entertainment. I’m convinced I’ve heard from God, and I’m sharing what he said with you. I hope you have found it helpful.

Finally, the title of this entry is A Serious Man. After much reflection and prayer, I would have to agree with my friend. That is exactly what I am, a serious man. I am serious about the vision that God has given me. I believe we need more serious people today. We live in a serious time with serious issues. We have accepted today’s media culture as if it is a normal reflection of the way we should live our lives. We need people to stand up and question this. We need serious people to tell us that business as usual will not cut it. We need serious people to tell the Church that a drive-by Christianity will not cut it. We need serious people to tell people of faith we must embrace a missional approach to the way we live our live our lives; otherwise, if we continue on our current course, we may very well see a different gospel preached in the future.

Whether we like it or not, this is a time to be serious and determined. So I will agree with my friend. I am a serious man. If ever there was a time to be a serious man or woman, it is now.

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