Something unprecedented happened last week. Something that many will take issue with. Something that may never happen again. Are you ready? President Obama said something with which I actually agreed! I try not to be too political in this post, but when something of this magnitude takes place, it is worth writing about.
On May 9, President Obama gave the commencement speech at Hampton University where he told the graduates, “You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations–none of which I know how to work, information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.”
If you follow the news, you know that he took a lot of heat for that statement since he got elected on an unprecedented use of technology, AND he gave the Queen of England an iPod with his speeches, AND he once talked about how many Michael Jackson songs he had on his personal iPod. Regardless of the controversy, I still tend to agree with the premise of his argument.
We are living in a day and time where our minds are under a constant barrage of information and entertainment and much of it ranks rather low on the “truth meter.” President Obama and I would probably disagree on who sets the “truth meter.” While I am certain that he was referring to the “spin” that occurs in politics, the truth meter to which I turn is the Word of God.
Typically, we depend on others to help us filter truth. We look for movie ratings. We set our televisions to “filter” out the shows that our children shouldn’t watch. We even pick our children’s video games based on the rating on the box. As Christians, we must make sure that we only determine truth by the standards set forth in the Word of God. We do not want to fill our minds with things that are not honoring to God, even if the MPAA says that it is appropriate for children over 13.
Paul gives a wonderful truth filter in Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.”
We have choices that must be made every day about how to fill our mind and there is no shortage of filling stations. From satellite radio to the BlackBerry on your belt to the Wi-Fi at the fast food restaurant to 24-hour cable news, President Obama is right, “information can become a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment.” We must make certain that in our embrace of information that we do not forget who the Author of Truth is. And we must always make sure that the information we consume passes the test of Scripture found in Philippians 4:8.
I remember as a child riding in the car and looking for a gas station. I always thought it was odd that my dad would not put certain brands of gas into his car. He would drive past one station to go to one further down the road. He said that they were not as good as other brands and they didn’t run like the preferred brands. Now, whether or not that is true, I can’t tell you, but the principle applies very well to this situation. There are a lot of choices out there of things to fill our minds, but only a few pass the test of Scripture. In our “plugged in” culture, what are you filling your mind with? Would it rank high on the truth meter of God’s perfect Word?