Option Overload

I finally broke down and bought a “smart phone” two years ago so one of us would be! It was an opportune time, because my grandchildren were getting old enough to teach me how to use it. I grew up in an analog world, and I struggle to keep up with the digital makeover of western civilization. My Ford hybrid came with satellite radio. I pushed a button on the steering column and a voice said, “Say a command.” Really! I said, “Fox News.” The invisible lady said, “Turning to [blank] news.” Suddenly I’m hearing some sex therapist talking to her client. Then I look at the channel indicator and it read, “Sex news!” Satellite radio has a whole channel dedicated to sex. When it comes to voice recognition it pays to enunciate!

Information technology has conditioned us to seek whatever we believe will satisfy us. I have no idea how many channels I have on my Direct TV, or satellite radio, but it’s in the hundreds. We have option overload, and we look for that which best serves us. Going to church becomes like going to a super market with a list of items that we want. If that class, program or church isn’t meeting our needs we go elsewhere, but that eventually leads to nowhere. When we choose only that which suites us, then self remains the final standard. When that happens we don’t go to serve, we go to be served, and we quickly exit when the server demands something of us. We end up loving things and using people instead of using things to love people. Augustine said that world history reveals a struggle between two kinds of love. Self-love to the point of hatred for God, and love of God to the point of self-renunciation. The love of God is the hope of the world and the redemption of self.

Dr. Neil

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