North Highland United Methodist Church
Friday, November 27, 2020
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

August 2016

The Super-Information Era
A cartoon from the New Yorker magazine recently circulated via Facebook. But there are a couple of issues—first of all as far as cartoons go it isn’t really funny because it is true for me. Secondly, I can’t reprint it due to copyright protocols, thus here is the description of it: two people walking down a street and one says to the other “My desire to be well informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane”.
I’m not sure if I laughed when I first saw it, but it most certainly is with a chortle in a “sad -but -true sort of way”. Especially in the past few months as the political season has ramped up, this clever cartoon likely speaks for many of us.
We live in a super-information era. Whether it is legitimate news or not, whether or not it is even partially true, wise, helpful, beneficial or even civilized does not matter. It’s just there to read, hear, or hear it dissected and rationalized by so-called experts. If I spend very much time in my day “finding out the latest” I can become full of angst, fear, anger and pessimism. It is a true hazard of life in the fast age. My first inclination is to be prudent in selecting what I listen to or read – is it mostly opinion or is it fact? How much time have I spent consuming information already today? Will I feel better or worse—more or less peace-filled after engaging in any political rhetoric?
Rev Nancy Weins, who has a PhD in Christian spirituality shared thoughts on this sense of feeling unsettled and not at all at peace after following what we call “news” focused on all of the election hype. She shares thoughts for those who “desire to walk on a spiritual path”:
1) if you find yourself fearing or anxious about something you hear in the political realm, stop and visualize yourself putting it at your feet, then step away. Then recall a strong experience of God that elicits love in you (nature, a loved one etc.).
2) Explore focused breathing in and out —and with each breath out, picture the emotion and anxiety-causing words leaving you.
3) Attune your ears to those things for which you are grateful, and take moments to think on, or speak of those things.
4) She concludes: “Remember you have no responsibility for what anyone says on any political platform. I only have responsibility for how I respond to it.”
My beliefs are not in a God who will magically swoop down and make everything OK. Rather, I believe that each of us is called to pray for God’s Spirit to guide us, our actions and our responses. As one who chooses to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, I pray my responses reflect the Way of peace, care of the oppressed, and transformation of heart that Jesus taught. It seems God has always worked through people, no matter the era.
Finally beloved, whatever is true, whatever honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these. Phil. 4:8
Peace and blessings,
Pastor Lou