Do you watch the news? I mean, do you tune in at the beginning of a newscast, whether local or national/international, to catch the latest? If so, you willfully expose yourself to more violence to your soul than a crotch-grabbing, f-bombing football player. Indeed, you only saw him (if you saw him at all) do that one time, although the media has gladly bombed you with repeated exposure to that very brief incident, thereby violating you, the viewer/reader, numerous times, whether you wanted to experience it again or not.
What’s more, the football player only did it that one time in a matter of seconds, but the news comes at you every day, many times a day, with their portrayals of the world’s degradation, projecting a sense of dark chaos, hopeless fear; every day, beginning at 4:30 a.m., then moving on through 6 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and on to 12 noon, 4:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. Then they put you to bed at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m., with the same bad and sad news that can’t possibly lead to peaceful rest.
What gives? Oh sure, the newscasts throw in some weather and a little sports (wherein you get to watch and hear about the football player’s transgressions over and over) to lighten the load, and maybe end with puppies and kittens so that you believe the world isn’t as bad as they’ve just spent most of their newscasts telling you it is. But why do the networks and other media outlets show us without end the violence and accidents and tragedies and corruptions and violations from beginning to end, front to back? Why do they believe that that is what we want to know? Do they believe we need to see it? Do they believe that we should see it?
What is it about us that wants to slow down along the many roads of our lives and stare at the gore of life? Do we need to know that the rest of the world is imploding into its handbasket of hell like ours is? Maybe it’s that we need to know that our handbasket isn’t as bad as theirs. Perhaps we just love the distraction that spectacles offer.
I don’t know.
But I do believe that when we choose the spectacle, we lose our perspective. We fail to see the larger picture of hope, grace, joy, and love, gifts imbued in the God-designed life that can raise us out of our darkness, that can save us from ourselves, that can redeem life in the midst of all that seeks to pull us down into the despair of the world’s ways.
So, when you see a young football player do and say something that is not edifying or socially acceptable (which he knows he should not have done or said), what do you believe? I believe that I’ve seen worse. But I also believe that’s not the only word about him, or OU, or football, or us, or the world, or life. I think he made a mistake. He thinks so, too. Did we when we made it more of a spectacle than it was?
Even more, I believe what the worshiper wrote in Psalm 27:13: “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” And if that’s what I believe, I believe I’ll be able to join God in making the world what God hoped it would be: a world worth seeing.
So, what do you see?