Week 1 Friday

“Information Overload”

Today’s scripture selection: Isaiah 1-6

Key verses: Isaiah 5:20-21

     Never before has it been so easy, for so many, to collect opinion and fact about virtually any subject.  And entertainment – some good, some bad, is just a swipe away.  It’s all available at the touch of a button.  Not long ago I was at a fast food restaurant catching a quick lunch.  I watch amazed as two sisters – toddlers – sat at an entertainment station touching the computer screen before them.  They didn’t look old enough to read.  But they sure knew how to play the colorful, fast-paced game that flashed before their eyes.  And what about the young men and women we see every day, multi-tasking – talking on their cell phone; while downloading music to another device; and watching a movie on a third.  Does anyone even read that funny looking thing called a newspaper anymore?

     In such a world, information is processed so quickly, opinions formed so fast, there is little time or interest in asking one very important question.  “Is it true?”  Even in the glut of information gathering, true wisdom is a rare commodity.

     That’s why the biblical prophets still have much to say to us.  Theologians can argue about whether or not their message speaks primarily of the moral and political situation in their own day, or days still to come.  But one thing is certain.  Nestled in the warnings about idolatry, cruelty, injustice, and insensitivity to God’s will is cradled something precious – a way out.  It is a word of hope and grace, often delivered in a pill we find hard to swallow.  It’s not easy reading.  But, many who take their daily dose of knowledge from the internet or the television would be wise to listen to these ancient words again.

     “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”  Tell that to the countless self-appointed experts who fill our airwaves and our heads with their ideas minute by minute of every waking day.

     So I’m glad that as we make our way through the scriptures this year, those pesky prophets will be there, clamoring for our attention.  We would be wise to listen to what they have to say.

Turn off the TV; silence the cell phone; the email and latest reality television show can wait.  Open your Bible and learn something that the world just doesn’t offer.  That’s true wisdom.

 

Prayer: Lord it can be so confusing – so many experts – so many opinions.  Help me to always compare what you have to say about life with what others have to say.  Help me to listen, even when one of your prophets makes me feel uncomfortable.  Show me the way of wise living, even when others choose another way.  AMEN.

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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