Informed but Ignorant

So we launched our CLC USA Twitter account this week to add to the plethora of information already available in our ever more mobile and data-hungry world. It seems that minute by minute more information is being made available, and yet true wisdom and discernment are decreasing at almost the same rate. How is it possible that we can have so much information and still learn so little?

As an American, this really hit home as I was checking out my regular source for news these days—MSNBC.com—and realized that a major world story seemed to be missing from the home page. To be sure that I was not entirely jumping to conclusions about the story’s priority, I checked the BBC news home page, and as I had suspected, it was their lead story. This situation about the growing crisis in the Ivory Coast over a disputed election had conveniently been ignored by the evening TV news broadcast on NBC as well. Even ABC’s nightly news program, which is still called World News, seems woefully oblivious to significant events that are happening in various parts of the globe.

The reality is that we live in a world of information overload, and the real power brokers these days are the dissectors and presenters of this information. It used to be that people believed what they read in a newspaper because it “had to be true if it was in print.” In the 1930s a radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ book War of the Worlds was presented as a series of “news bulletins.” It sent many people into a panic as they believed that earth was in fact being invaded by aliens from Mars. Far too many people today still believe that most events on “reality” TV are actually real and unscripted.

Into the mix of all this data, the Internet has added vastly more information than we’ve ever had access to before, and yet we live in a world of more conspiracy theories and misinformation than ever. Unfortunately, as sinful human beings, we get caught up in all this at times, and even Christians end up forwarding erroneous e-mails without checking the veracity of the data.

Recently, the speaker at our annual ministry banquet referred to CLC as “the keepers of the scroll.” He reiterated the critical role that Christian retailers and publishers have in making the truth of the gospel widely known and available. This reminded me of the crucial role that scribes, monks and librarians in generations past played in making sure that the Scriptures were painstakingly copied from one form to another and then stored safely for future generations.

In a world in which information is instantly available, I think that we as believers—and especially those involved with the written word—have a vital responsibility much like Philip’s with the Ethiopian eunuch. This knowledgeable Ethiopian had information right in front of him, but he did not understand what he was reading. Through Philip’s eyes he came to discern the truth for himself and finally understood what was written on his scroll for the very first time. How much more do we as Christian retailers and publishers have the same obligation?

I believe that people are longing for some explanation for the seemingly random events of their lives. When I first understood the story of the gospel many years ago, it was as if my eyes had been opened for the first time as well. No longer was the Bible full of just interesting stories, but it became a part of my history and the ultimate story of God redeeming a people to Himself across the millennia. Now as I hear about the incredible discoveries scientists are making every day, I am overwhelmed by a God who could create such complexity and yet so much harmony—the pieces actually do fit.

Hopefully as we begin to tweet and continue to develop new forms of communication, we will do so with an eye and ear to making sense of what God is doing in our world, taking the time to notice what’s really important in the midst of all the clutter.

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