Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Daily Me

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country
and your kindred
and your father’s house
to the land that I will show you.”
Genesis 12:1

Faith is about the journey, rather than the destination.

Abraham hears God call him to go. He must leave everything that is familiar and journey toward a place identified only as “the land that I will show you.” The promise is that God will be there. God will go before him and show him this new land.

Faith means change; journeying from the comfortable to the uncomfortable.

In a New York Times column this morning, Nicholas Kristoff writes about how with the rise in the use of the internet as a source for news, people increasingly look for (and find) information that confirms rather than challenges their assumptions. He writes:

Nicholas Negroponte of M.I.T. has called this emerging news product The Daily Me. . . .

That’s because there’s pretty good evidence that we generally don’t truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.

One classic study sent mailings to Republicans and Democrats, offering them various kinds of political research, ostensibly from a neutral source. Both groups were most eager to receive intelligent arguments that strongly corroborated their pre-existing views.

The church has always been tempted to forget the journey in favor of the comforts of a settled certainty. We are tempted to worship unchanging doctrines and traditions, rather than listen for the voice that calls us beyond all of that into the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable. But at its best, the church has been the place where we can embrace the uncertainties of life because we are grounded in the belief that God will be there with us. Rather than looking for “The Daily Me,” we are looking for new ideas and insights that challenge our self-understanding.

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