Monday, April 06, 2009
The parable goes:
If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water,it will leap out right away to escape the danger.But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with cool
and gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling,the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.
Supposedly this is false but the lesson bears remembering. So...I wonder what are the things in our culture we have grown dangerously comfortable with?
I'm not arguing to completely remove these things. I believe in balance but also believe the church has grown numb. We are called to live alternative lives and that require alternative actions.
So let's call attention to these cultural "norms"
Cars. Sure everyone has cars but whenever I drive by a bus stop and see people waiting I feel like offering them a ride. If they are headed in my direction why not use the extra seats? But this would creep most people out. We need to also remember the sheer amount of time and money that get thrown into automobiles. As Adam has pointed out before, cars are not an investment, they loose money.
Professional Sports. I love sports and follow the pros but how can we justify men (a few women?) who make millions of dollars playing games. Professional sports are pure entertainment and built upon the foundation of profit. This January the Washington Redskins let go of 20 employees because the economic recession. One month later they signed Albert Haynesworth to a record 7 year $100 million deal. Does this strike anybody else as wrong?
Television. The average American home has the TV on for 8 hours a day! What? That is insane. The statistics from that link are appalling. While teaching today a co-worker complained to me how she had a busy night because she had to watch the Cubs game, Dancing with the Stars, and the National Championship B-Ball game. The worst part of this saga is that she doesn't have a DVR! Call me crazy but I don't think that when God created us sitting in front of a screen for 8 hours a day was part of the purpose.
Internet. Ah, the world wide web, I couldn't write this post without you. So I am indebted to your resources but will still criticize. The internet, actually the personal computer pushes, people into isolation. Okay, I know you can connect with people across the world via e-mail, Skype, and Facebook but how many people's lives are truly enriched because of the Internet?
Think about it another way, can you go one day without using it? Probably not because a majority of communication relies on it. We need to ask if it is shaping us into the people we are called to be. I don't think the Web is the Antichrist but I also don't think it is the savior of our problems.
I got more but your attention span is probably already fading. ( I know mine is....and I blame the internet for that problem, it is rewiring my brain) :)
A huge detriment with these "norms," is they destroy community. They promote individualism and venerate us, the consumer, as the center of the universe. Isn't it interesting that consumption was a disease in the 19th century and today it is a way of life. I think we would do well to recover that 19th century definition.