Intentionally Informed

While sitting on campus I overheard a conversation that surprised me. My fellow students were not spouting heresy (though this is possible!) but instead talking about a large ministry one of them had never heard of. “How do you not know about that…” is what as going through my mind – after all these are not “normal” people, they are seminary students…

The overheard conversation had me thinking about information and how we intentionally interact with it to gain useful knowledge. Now this instance is not that questionable and I am a bit of a geek when it comes to influential movements so I can’t expect everyone to care much about this type of information but what if a North American worship leader has no idea who Hillsong is? Would we be concerned? (Even if they are a psalm only worshipper…)

Seth Godin posted yesterday on the same issue from a business perspective. We are sadly wasting so much of our time in pursuit of pure entertainment with no learning…

Many people in the United States purchase one or fewer books every year.

Many of those people have seen every single episode of American Idol. There is clearly a correlation here.

Access to knowledge, for the first time in history, is largely unimpeded for the middle class. Without effort or expense, it’s possible to become informed if you choose. For less than your cable TV bill, you can buy and read an important book every week. Share the buying with six friends and it costs far less than coffee.

Or you can watch TV.

The thing is, watching TV has its benefits. It excuses you from the responsibility of having an informed opinion about things that matter. It gives you shallow opinions or false ‘facts’ that you can easily parrot to others that watch what you watch. It rarely unsettles our carefully self-induced calm and isolation from the world.

Of course the point here is not TV. Instead it is how we pursue knowledge and information. How do we properly balance learning into our lives? I don’t have all the answers but I do like being challenged by the idea that I waste an awful lot of time when I could be adding value to myself and benefit those around me.

Are you doing anything unique to increase your knowledge? And as Christians, how should we balance facts (general information) and faith (bible, etc)?


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