Yesterday I was having a conversation with Lexi. She often pushes me to think more deeply than I care to and yesterday was one of those days. 🙂 (Love her) I asked her if she would like to be a guest blogger and share her thoughts with all of you. She is an amazing young lady and I know God is preparing her for a future full of purpose.
I’m currently enrolled in a course titled School and Society, and it has unexpectedly been the most perplexing and invigorating academic experiences of my life. I have just completed my third book of the semester, Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. He discusses the modes of communication and how they have affected our culture. He starts with the typographic mind, follows with the photographic and telegraphic mind, and ends with the mind and society shaped by television. I have underlined many of his thoughts, but the following passage from his concluding chapter has captivated me:
“…Spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate…there is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture death is a clear possibility”(155).
He isn’t talking about spiritual devastation and death on the Christian platform, but he might as well be. We, as a society, are happily distracted every day but trivial things. Postman is mainly referring to his discussion on television, though, it can be expanded to many other things: social media, friends (that we keep simply for amusement, not to sharpen us), video games, Pinterest, etc. The Devil has been very smart to not force us away from God, but instead, he’s made it easy for us to walk away ignorantly and blissfully. He does not want to lock us up in a cage where we will inevitably yearn for God.
I so often associate the Devil with troubles: divorce, relationship troubles, death and sickness. But, by doing this I am completely underestimating his wit and deceitfulness. He would never want to do something that would bring me closer to God. Although, Amusing Ourselves to Death is not a Christian book, it has really opened my eyes to see what Satan has been doing and how he’s been tearing God away from a society. I would say tearing a society away from God, but society is too happy with the world to be “torn away”. The author says the solution, (although the term solution is too heavy, because the true solution cannot be found in the world and culture today) is found in how we watch and see the world. He says, “For no medium is excessively dangerous if its users understand what its dangers are”(161). If we watch TV (or participate in the other things similar to it), and ask questions, the spell of ignorance will be broken: What’s the purpose of this? How is it helping me? Is it trying to persuade me? Is this facilitating thinking? It is leading me astray from the more important things in life (God)? Our solution is found in the lens of God (he doesn’t say that, my thoughts have led me to that conclusion which is subject to review). Television and the other amusement are not evil; it is how they are used that makes them so. After a long day after work, it is not television, video games, or Pinterest that will relax us, it’s only God who can shower us with peace.
Postman earlier says, “I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether”(121). Christians cannot be mindless and succumb to being spoon-fed their faith. If we are ignorant about what we believe, we will be easily led astray. If our faith is strong and we have proved it to ourselves through critical thought, it is not easy to let that go. God wants us to live in wisdom and not of ignorance; and wisdom must be gained.
Proverbs 4:6-7 “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:9-11 “ Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
My name is Lexi Bryan! I am currently a 19-year-old sophomore at Missouri State University studying secondary education with an emphasis in history. My parents, though separate, have each influenced me with their passions of learning and truth seeking. They have always put importance on my individual journey and growth, opening endless opportunities in my young adult life. When I was 8, they graciously allowed me to attend Kanakuk, a Christian athletics camp that completely submerged me in the love of Christ. My intense passions include education, learning, history, dogs, traveling, people, and of course, the love of Christ.
Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York: Viking, 1985. Print.