Charter Communications vs The Teacher

charter logo and teacher in a classroomNo, this is not the retelling of a tale of unmet expectations from the cable company (that serves us locally) from the perspective of a local educator; there are plenty of stories of woe in this regard, and I’ll not be adding to them today. In this piece I am looking specifically at the recent tag-line chosen by Charter Communications intended to entice us into taking all data services from their company; namely, “Let It All In”. I’d like to look at this tagline as juxtaposed against Scripture, so that we can see how far away from an eternal God our media-hungry culture has become.

First let me say that I understand that their tagline does not imply an ‘across the board’ use of everything that comes into the home, but it does imply that we should deny ourselves nothing and pour everything into our homes that our hearts might desire. Think of all the knowledge you might have if you ‘let it all in’ and think of how much you’ll be entertained as well!I’d like to look at this from our perspective (self-health and God-focus), rather than from an external perspective (regulation and media industry). Let’s look in the mirror, not out the window. Should we trust “our hearts desire” when choosing what to consume? Should we filter anything that comes into our home, or view it all and then ‘choose what to remember’? Should we spend much of our time taking information into our minds, so that we can be informed?

Our Hearts

Our first step is to examine our hearts. This is an excellent approach each time we begin to look at a situation or decision as our internal motivations color – in a very real way – how we perceive a decision. The Bible says that, “..out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Since we see and hear so many horrible things coming out of people’s mouths (and our own), it seems reasonable to conclude that our hearts are not 100% clean and trustworthy. In addition, Scripture says, “..the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9) and this tendency toward self-deception certainly raises its ugly head when we start looking carefully at what we are thinking and doing, doesn’t it? Don’t you find yourself rationalizing a TV show, news story, or movie with thoughts like, “..it has some good things in it”, or, “..the information I’m getting from it is substantially weightier than the fact there is some skin in it”? Many Christians argue that – once saved – the Holy Spirit causes us to desire only the things of God, and therefore if we have a desire for a thing after salvation, that it must be from the Lord. The clear theological ‘miss’ aside, let’s look at the apostle Paul’s words when he says, “..fight the good fight of the faith”, “..put on the full armor of God”, and finally, “..I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand”. Paul goes on to say that he desires to do right “in his inner being”, but that sin is in his flesh and he sins even when he doesn’t “want to”. (1 Tim 6:12, Eph 6:11, and Rom 7:21)

It is clear that our hearts – even hearts regenerated by the Holy Spirit – are insufficient as a sole arbiter of what we should think, say, and do; but what does this have to do with what we “take into” ourselves?

Filter

Why can’t we just view and listen to what we want, and then ‘throw away’ the learnings we don’t want? Aside from Paul’s words on the idea that we will keep some things our “inner being” desires not to, what we watch and hear changes who we are; it changes our heart. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. Can you view and hear things without them changing you? If so, how is it that movies like Gladiator, Braveheart, and even Top Gun get our male aggression and leadership ‘blood’ moving? We are very emotionally moved by what we see and hear. Many studies have been done on the effects of sight and sound on the human brain and all of them conclusively show that what we take in via our senses deeply affects our minds. Job talked about his issues with beautiful women and the sight of them in Job 31:1 when he states that he had made a, “..pact with his eyes, not to look upon another woman”. Job knew that the right time to stop a thought from taking shape was before the stimulus reacher his brain. Keep out those things that darken your mind. Don’t even look at them at all!

Why shouldn’t we listen or see things that are not good for us? Because they will desensitize us to the things of God, those things that we need to reach closer to Him; those things that are of eternal value. In Acts 28:27 Paul is talking about the Jews to whom he’d preached and asserts that their hearts had been calloused.. and by whom? By years of listening to the Pharisees and their religion that replaced God and a relationship with him, these Jews had stopped listening to the inner voice of the Spirit and could no longer accept the teaching of Christ crucified. In that same way, our hearts will be calloused by years of listening to and watching things that are not Godly. God has not commanded us to “..listen to your iPod while exercising, the TV while eating, the radio while driving, all three while doing homework, and know that I am God”. What has His command been instead? To drive these things away from ourselves and keep nothing between us. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). Note that our understanding of God’s place in the universe is preceded by our shutting out other influences.

Informed

Oh, we love to “know stuff” don’t we? It’s not wrong to seek knowledge, but it is how we do it and for what reasons we do it that are important. Knowing what the scores are, who died on your favorite soap, and who got ‘voted off the island’ are not incredibly meaningful in the eternal scheme of things! (There are many who would argue that they aren’t even important in the earthly scheme of things).

I’d like to suggest that while being informed is important, that God intends for us something far more meaningful, amazing, and useful than consuming media to be informed. He intends for us to take Him in so that we will be transformed. In Romans 12:2 Paul exhorts the brothers and sisters not to conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds! Huge application here, and the immediate question, “How do we renew our minds”? Paul answers this in the preceding verse by saying, “offer yourselves as a living sacrifice”. How do we do this today? By having a focus on Christ before ourselves, taking every thought captive (2 Cor 10:5), and by replacing thoughts of the world with thoughts of Christ. Paul says to the Corinthian church in 2 Cor 3:18, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”. Looking at Christ, and walking toward Him is what keeps us on the path, with the continued ability to hear His voice.

Men, I challenge you today; each podcast you save, each radio broadcast you hear, every TV show and movie you watch, before you begin, read Phil 4:8 and only proceed if the media matches that description. Each time the media does not, substitute God’s word (in book or sound) and let me know if after a week you can feel a transformation taking place.

Do it, I dare you!

This entry was posted on Monday, November 15th, 2010 at 13:24 and is filed under Faith, Men's Ministry, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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