Today my fast from the news ends and I’m reluctant to read and watch with the same level of concentration that I had forty days ago. It was refreshing to get away from the talking points, spin, illogical debates and arguments, splinters of information taken out of historical context, hype without hope, and politics. I really, really, really enjoy politics. But only in a disciplined approach away from the banter of pundits and sophistry of powerplayers. The top news networks are successfully splitting communities and families over ideologies and constant, nauseating coverage of politics. News and politics are nearly indecipherable, which is detrimental to free speech, free press and governing. The two have nearly consumed each other and are wholly concerned with propagating rather than telling the truth. Objectivity is rejected for subjective opinions and I’ve grown tired of the whole game. Furthermore, there is nothing in Scripture nor in nature that demands I keep paying attention to this vicious coliseum of childish actors appealing to our bases desires and fear.
One could argue that I ought to pay some attention so as to relate with others, but I would respond that human nature hasn't varied since the last news cycle. Also, I could easily ask a few questions to get the gist of what’s on everyone’s mind (which usually isn’t the news).
But let’s say I exercise my right to vote (as a Canadian citizen in Canada (unless the law of the land changes and allows non-citizens to suddenly vote (which could happen here in the beautiful state of California, and is an entirely different discussion for, perhaps, another blog posting))), shouldn’t I be informed and wouldn’t the news give me the best information? Of course I ought to be informed. It’s been said that Democracies get exactly what they deserve. If that’s true then I better know what each party stands for, their track record and the various people running for office. Yet even before that I should know the functions and limitations of our current politia so as to ensure that I make wise decisions. All of this takes work and interpretation, and that’s precisely how I’ve come to understand much of the news: broadcasters are interpreting for the general population and supplementing the work and study one does to discover the truth. They have become the quick fix, which rarely works out and probably never in politics. Finally, the news cannot best inform because it functions more like a mixture of vaudeville and telegram. It’s short bursts of entertainment.
One last thought: Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Fasting from the news has not only given me room to think a bit more deeply but also to pray for peace and justice. We are all in need of both and it is the work of Christ in and through us that brings this about. Our obsession with current events cannot. May Christ be our strength.