Years ago, I knew a nice guy named Ed. I respected him as a somewhat older, kind Christian who was also a thought-provoking teacher. I remember feeling surprised, upon sharing something from a Christian magazine once, when Ed mentioned he had long since unsubscribed from Christian publications. What was he missing?
I have a good friend now who grew up not experiencing television, and she plans to perpetuate not associating with televised aspects of culture. What is she missing? I mean, the home of my youth limited television, too, and I should surely limit my current viewing more than I do, but it seems that anyone who doesn’t watch TV would be missing something important, right?
In the last 3-4 places I’ve resided, I’ve decided not to have a newspaper delivered to my home, and I do pretty well not even checking online news very often. Various ones, including my parents, fill me in from time to time, but I’m less than interested in being subject to the same old news, week after week. Doesn’t matter whether it’s the biased Rachel Maddow or the probably-as-equally biased Sean Hannity. I’m not convinced that either of their “reports” would add anything of real value to my life. The relatively balanced USA Today, and more in-depth NPR radio news are sometimes appreciated, but I submit that I do just fine without reading or listening too much.
What I am I really missing? Do I need the news? Some would say “yes,” and I recall a man in the church of my youth who would often begin our assemblies by bringing attention to a national or global event. Being informed was a different enterprise several decades ago. I actually think that leader was doing a good thing, but I don’t think media brings quite the benefit to the person that it used to.
More broadly, now: what is it that I might be afraid of missing if I stop checking this, or if I don’t (re-)subscribe to that? What is it that anyone and everyone really, truly needs in order to be in touch with life? To live life?
The individual friends referred to above seem to be pretty well-adjusted (perhaps more so than I am). For my part, I’m having less and less guilt over letting even Christian subscriptions expire — even when they’re cheap or free! I let the Wineskins magazine sub expire several years ago, and I only read every third or fourth piece of communication from the World Bible Translation Center/Bible League. Parents Magazine can be helpful, but when the issues stack up, I wonder just how much so. I don’t know for sure, but I think I can survive just fine without the Christian Chronicle and Worship Leader, another recently expired subscription.
Maybe, just maybe, I can mine more life-giving riches out of the ancient scriptures if I don’t have as much stuff coming in.