I am currently reading ‘Love Your God With All Your Mind’ by J.P. Moreland. A lot of his recent points hit hard. I have been so frivolous with my time and effort for my entire life. Moreland talks about the ’empty self’ and how it is taking over today’s society. He provided seven traits of the empty self:
1) The empty self is inordinately individualistic.
2) The empty self is infantile.
3) The empty self is narcissistic.
5) The empty self is sensate.
6) The empty self has lost the art of developing an interior life.
7) The empty self is hurried and busy.
Moreland continues: “If a person is sensate in orientation, music, magazines filled with pictures, and visual media in general will be more important than mere words on a page or abstract thought. If one is hurried and distracted, one will have little patience of theoretical knowledge and too short of an attention span to stay with an idea while it is being carefully developed. Instead, there will be a rush to get to the bottom line, an overemphasis on practical application and how-tos, a Reader’s Digest approach to sermon evaluation or reading selection.”
We, even Christians, skirt from difficulty. Yes, we say we would suffer persecution for Christ by verbal derision and ridicule, but what about denying ourselves every day? What about bettering our minds and bodies for the glory of the kingdom? Moreland called me out when he discussed how when people finish dinner or get home from work, they will plop in front of the TV for three hours because ‘they are too tired to do anything else’. Instead, get off your duff and practice some physical exercise! Even a walk, which is what Moreland suggests, will rejuvenate the mind and body. Then, after you get back, sit down with an intellectually stimulating book for thirty minutes to an hour. ‘Passive ruts’ are what he calls our tendency to be coach potatoes and reading unchallenging books. He couldn’t be more correct! I tried it out today. I didn’t surf the web, I didn’t reach for the television remote. Instead, I thought of all the things I could get done today, and did it! And glory be! I got those things and so much more done! I didn’t become tired at all, or get a headache, but instead I have felt rejuvenated and accomplished, assured that I have helped to strengthen my mind and body.
Moreland’s very next point is about developing patience and endurance. Just because some people are better at sitting still and concentrating for long periods of time does not mean that those who tend to be more fidgety get the write-off! “A life of intellectual cultivation takes effort. And it can be painful. The mind is like a muscle: it needs to be stretched beyond itself…If you are fidgety and have to get up every fifteen minutes, you must get control of yourself. And gaining such control will require self-denial, suffering, and endurance.” Just because some kids will have to spend more time developing these abilities does not make them ADHD/ADD/OCD or any other combination of a drug-scrounging individual.
A note of my own stemming from this chapter: I HATE VIDEO/COMPUTER GAMES!!!! I have never witnessed such an incredible waste of time and money! They teach kids to shoot guns, to develop calloused consciences, and to shut down their brains for long periods of time. I have watched as someone has played a war game where a member of their own team was in their line of site to the enemy, and the player has gunned them down so they could have a better shot at the enemy target. After all, its just a computer simulation. It’s not real. Bullshit. It’s real in the mind of the player. The only game I have ever seen a use for is DDR, for physical exercise. For me, that one game is not worth having to buy the system, the game, the pads, and find (or more like waste) the time. I never want to have a video game system or a pc game in my house ever. “But I play them when I need to disengage from life, or am having a hard day and need to get some stress out.” Whoopie…I wonder what people did when there weren’t hundreds of ways to attain neural euphoria. They went for a walk, they built something, they read an entertaining book. Something active, something constructive. Not passive and mind-slogging.