Finding a more ancient path than the internet of least resistance
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:16–17
We were recently in a meeting where the group was talking about various things that affect our worldview. Someone mentioned their distrust of mainstream media. It was interesting because of how this itself has become mainstream recently. ‘Oh, I’m not getting my worldview from mainstream media.’ I’m afraid I feel as though this is a red herring in the grand scheme of it all. I don’t particularly care about the quality of it all (honestly, what is most annoying to me is the quality of advertisements these news outlets push, I much prefer to be advertised according to my digital double, while many sites simply sell smut). But through it all, the angst against mainstream media in a discussion about worldview that affect us individually suggests that we’re not even thinking about ourselves. We only have eye for that thing that I find problematic out there.
What shapes my worldview? I’d suggest that it is a lot more simple than mainstream media. I’d suggest that we are most shaped by our own desires, the pride of life, and the world we currently inhabit, not the one we enjoy attacking. In other words, my worldview is more shaped by my desires and fears than the mainstream media. If we were to think about how every person’s worldview has shifted since Covid came on the scene, I think it’s mostly been in funky ways according to what we care about most. So some have an unhealthy and disproportionate desire for freedom, denying any authority, even those appointed by God. And maybe some others have so much fear that it is giving them physical problems.
This is where we ought to be careful: we have to ask, where should we be going? These past few years have been especially reactionary years where we have not been pursuing things constructively. Perhaps you reacted to governmental overreach of authority or perhaps you reacted by trying not to get Covid at various times in the past few years for various reasons (like us before Emmett was born). But most of this isn’t constructive, and this is a huge problem. I think what we must start to do (and always have to recommit ourselves to) is to pursue spiritual growth constructively- so that our worldview is ever more being shaped into the likeness of Christ. I think we have to do this constructively because in the end the media we consume is mostly tailored to feed our desires and to keep us coming back for more. Even if you don’t listen to mainstream media, you might listen to some other media which still isn’t true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, worthy of praise. There isn’t much constructive about them or how we use them. They aren’t building anything that will last. We actually have to find a more ancient path than the internet of least resistance. And that is found in cultivating a love for God. We’ve got to seek to kill our evil desires and the pride of life, and I think the ancient path is found in love. Augustine said, ‘And the more we are cured of the tumor of pride, the fuller we are of love. And if a man is full of love, what is he full of but God?’
And where do we learn to love but in the context of the body of Christ? We don’t learn to love by sitting at home with our favorite people. We learn to love by encountering the other in the pew, the fellow in the congregation who gets on your nerves. You learn to love as you meditate on the truth of God in his word. It’s so easy to love a God that we imagine in our heads. But as we are exposed to scripture in the weekly gathering, we’re straightened to see a glorious, discerning, good, and just love. It’s a love like no other, but it is the only love that is purely love, untainted by pride and the desires of the flesh. In pursuing this love, we are putting ourselves in a position to shape our worldview with Christ, and walk in a Christ-centered path.