When I reach for the “off” button on my media device, it’s sometimes because I’ve heard and seen enough. We’re in an election cycle, where the airwaves are heated with rancor and partisan bickering. We’re also witnessing a dynamic change in the way people are communicating, with the advent of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube enabling every individual to become his or her own public broadcaster. This has led to the start-up of social movements around the world and the ability to quickly influence public opinion at home and abroad.
It’s easy to get caught up in this tidal flow of information, but unfortunately much of it is sensational and counterproductive. How can we navigate our way through it, and think clearly enough, so that our contribution to the dialogue promotes progress and healing? Personally, I don’t want to be a sponge, soaking up information simply because it’s there, or feel in turmoil every time I “tune in” to the news.
Ignoring the media is not the answer, because I’d like to contribute to the resolution of the world’s pressing problems. But I’m finding that this demands lifting thought above the media spin and attention-grabbing headlines and being receptive to the spiritual facts about God’s creation. These facts are found in an inspired reading of the Bible, which reveals man as spiritual and good (see Genesis 1), and as naturally drawn to God, man’s source of light. First Thessalonians says, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (5:5). As children of light we can be attracted only to the light—to goodness, to whatever uplifts and inspires thought.