Op-Ed: Overwhelmed by the Endless News Cycle? God Has the Solution
Our minds can no longer turn off the alarm. If thoughts could be heard:
“It’s 2 in the morning. I can’t sleep. But I feel so tired. No, I’m hyper. I think I’m just angry. I know I’m still grieving. Am I in shock? No, I am over it. The truth is, I can’t get it out of my mind. Maybe I’m depressed. No, I’m just apathetic — or I care too much. I just want to watch British mysteries.
“I should read more. Why did I subscribe to another true crime channel? But I can’t miss Tucker. Or the next Alex Murdaugh special. It’s 5 a.m. I need to get up. Is AI taking over? Lord, bless my family. And the MyPillow guy. No, wait — well, yes — please bless him. And our neighbors. And my boss. And Nashville. And Gwyneth Paltrow. I should include the guy she hit. No, wait, she was found innocent, I think. And the folks in that town in Ohio, where the train… Oh, Lord, I can’t remember. I’m so tired. It’s 6. Steve Doocy, where are you? I am not happy.”
Come to think of it, our thoughts these days are best left unspoken. Our minds are anesthetized by the unceasing nitrous oxide of information overload. We used to say (last month) that the news cycle was 24 hours. Today, it feels like 12. It might be less.
Our hearts were ripped out by the unthinkable horror of the Nashville shooting, just as we were sending money for the flood victims in California. The Chinese spy balloon that gently floated over the continental U.S., and above our strategic defense installations, should still be a top news story. But that was — what? — a year ago? A month? A week? I can’t recall. (It was Jan. 28 to Feb. 4, but who can remember?)
A thousand crises have come and gone since then. As our attention is rerouted to the indictment of a former president, we are horrified by the maniacal responses of trans activists on social media. All the while, we can’t stop thinking about the pastoral gospel witness of a grieving father.
It’s everything, all at once, a million miles per hour, every few hours. And we are weary.
The ever-changing, always-increasing content of information cannot be consumed by our mortal frame. The perpetual feed of information is ultimately unmanageable by minds needing to reflect and reason.
We were warned.
In “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” the late communications scholar Neil Postman wrote with prescient insight:
“Information has become a form of garbage, not only incapable of answering the most fundamental human questions but barely useful in providing coherent direction to the solution of even mundane issues. To say it still another way: The milieu in which Technopoly flourishes is one in which the tie between information and human purpose has been severed, i.e., information appears indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, in enormous volume and at high speeds, and disconnected from theory, meaning, or purpose.”
I’m feeling the reality of that incongruity. Maybe you are too. There is a solution.
The Lord invites us to a life where information is consumed at the speed of prayer. Or, in a phase, “just a little, over time, by the rhythm of prayer, in seasons shaped by the life of a Redeemer.” Read slowly: “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices” (Psalm 37:7).
Now. Breathe in the wisdom. Let it settle.
Again, “Do not fret because of evildoers” (Proverbs 24:19). And “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” And “Why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet, I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:28, 29, 33, 34).
The peace I receive, that perhaps you experience as you read and meditate on these words, is a deep-seated stream of living water. It slows. It steadies. It renews. And it’s what we need now more than ever.
Everything, all the time?
No. Just a little. Just enough. Forevermore.
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