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I was interviewed by Joyce Meyer on two of her TV programs recently because she wanted to discuss the media and how it bombards our daily lives. She was particularly interested in how we can protect our hearts and minds (and our families) from the onslaught of violence, sexuality, and generally coarse behavior we often find on TV and in the movies. I always enjoy being with Joyce, and although our view of acceptable movies doesn’t always match, I find her really sincere and concerned about what Christians are consuming on a regular basis.
One of the issues we discussed is how in an age where the volume of information is enormous, why our lives reflect so little change? She started thinking about it after hearing different people talk about reading all her books or listening to her teaching tapes, but they still have so many problems. I also find it true in other areas. People who are the most educated sometimes have the most problems. We’re drowning in information, and yet the culture as a whole seems to be more coarse, violent, and sexual than ever.
More than that – I look at audiences for Christian media programs, and I think we’ve raised a generation of junkies. The truth is, we’ve created a generation of Christians looking for a magic bullet. That’s why people travel thousands of miles from conference to conference just to “get a word,” find “fresh oil,” “get the glory,” or “catch their blessing.” They’re looking for the easy way out.
Christians today have become addicted to the feeling. We’ve forgotten how difficult living the Christian life can be, and in our pursuit of prosperity and a nice Mercedes, we’ve lost touch with the years Paul rotted in prison, Peter’s horrific upside-down crucifixion, and William Tyndale being strangled and burned at the stake for giving us the remarkable gift of the English Bible.
Living the Christian life is hard. We’ve got to do more than simply listen to the latest teaching tape by our favorite evangelist. We have to live it out on a daily basis. It’s about choices – making the kinds of choices (sometimes hard ones) that create a life worth living.
Joyce’s frustration was right on target and we had a great conversation about it, and I’m going to continue writing on the issue. Want to get out of debt? Stop sending your money to a Christian TV telethon and start controlling your spending. Want to be healed? Lay off the French fries. Want to be closer to God? Pray, read the Bible, study to show yourself approved…
Yes – God can work miracles, but I don’t think he exists to make up for our lazy living.
Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Their Credibility and How We Get It Back.” Find out more at www.philcooke.com.