Tuesday, November 8, 2016

LETTING GO AND SERVING GOD: HOW THINKING WE'RE SOMETHING MEANS WE ACHIEVE NOTHING

Have you noticed the reports about our present generation of young people and their lack of self-confidence?  I have met some who show no such lack, indeed some are very impressive persons.  Yet there does seem to be a problem and the causes are not yet clear.  Perhaps it the greater and earlier exposure and greater dependence on technology, a technology that is more personal than before.  I grew up with TV my parents waking me to watch Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon.  Many of my childhood memories are around TV but the TV was a family possession firmly under my Dad's thumb.  We didn't have a record player until my teens.  Play, when I was a child, was usually outdoors with whatever toys you had or even ones made up: a stick became a machine gun, ploughed-up ground or a building site was alien terrain to be explored.  The spread of technology has brought many benefits but I wonder about the downside: the isolation it can bring (parents may trade the security of knowing where their child is for that child's own secure sense of self), the dictatorship of Facebook, the erosion of social skills.  Gaming is a subset of that technology.  How does it erode or narrow our imaginative capacity?  How much does the modern media (gaming, film etc) degrade our imaginative lexicon or gallery?  Perhaps too our society is so information saturated that we know too much at a superficial level and too little at depth.  I wonder how many of our children and young adults are as familiar with our nation's stories as were previous generations, with her music (beyond the tired and trite ballads), with her art and culture? Perhaps decades of telling our youth that they can be anything they want to be has left them afraid to be anything at all.  Perhaps not telling them the hard truths of life (you have to work hard, life is not fair, failure is common, you are limited in many ways and eventually you will die and  be forgotten) means that even a little contact with reality is a cold shower they cannot bear.

Knowing who we really are and who we really are not is of vital importance.  Our age overvalues the individual while conspiring to deprive him of access to true depth.  So we have more 'rights' but in a context where the pursuit of God is sneered at.  You may be anything you want but do not seek to be religious or holy.  The truth is we do not matter.  We are here for a short time and then must face God and Judgement.  We are nothing, nobodies.  We do not have to exist and one day we will not (at least here on Earth).  So what's there to risk?  Now is the time to cast our cares on the Lord and discover the power of Providence.

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