Thursday, August 03, 2006

Staying the course

Vindicate me, O Lord,
    for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord
    without wavering
Psalm 26.1
How many of us could say that? Maybe not many.

How many of us would want to be able to say that? Sign me up! What does it take to get there from here? Well, to follow the psalmist's example, here's what I could do.
  • Ask the Lord to "test me" and examine me (26.2)
  • Walk in his ways, being aware of his ever-present love (26.3)
  • Avoid hypocrites and the wicked (26.4-5)
    yes, even if they're rich or famous or could help my career
  • Participate regularly in praise and worship and fellowship (26.6-8,12)
  • Trust God (not only in airbags and seat belts) for protection and safety
That doesn't seem too hard. I think for me the thing is to sustain my motivation, and to not be distracted.

Some years ago, as I read to the kids from the Bible, one of them asked me why it was that people today don't seem so interested or conscious of spiritual forces: "Is it because we have a lot of TVs and stuff?" I think it is. I read recently about a survey that showed young people spending more time surfing the internet than watching TV. Regardless which you consider to be a bigger waste of time, both have the ability to distract us.

And by distraction I mean two things: First, to get us thinking about celebrities and beauty and action and buying stuff -- arguably a set of thoughts that take our attention off our spiritual lives -- but also by the nature of the medium (and this especially because of a web browser's interactive paradigm), which reinforces the illusion that we are in control of our experiences and our world.

This second kind of distraction I find troubling, because even as I post these messages, which I hope are edifying rather than distracting, I'm aware that the medium detracts from spirituality.

That said, the Lord can bring good out of anything. May this be so in your web browser and in mine.

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