Each generation bears an urge not only to describe the current state of things, but also for that description to shape in fullness what things will become.
The essential trick of the current age is to convince people that the basic unit, the cohesive force of life is information. This is a simple lie that the age works furiously to demonstrate. For us, the cohesive force of life has always been and will always be relationships. Humans can never be and will never be satisfied with mere information, in spite of whatever cyborg future scenario the prophets of TV and print insist upon. These projections of humanity as mere information relayers and retrievers are silly fumes produced by a generation inebriated by its own apparent success. It’s a present and a future only possible viewed through its own lens, that is, the shallow surface world of “information”. The story it tells can only be true in its own context–digitality, virtuality, apartness–and becomes more and more irrelevant as it approaches life and death and the experiences that touch those things.
The fact that our channels, our devices, for accessing this particular type of information draw us away from actual human bodies and lives is an important but not sinister one. In fact, it reinforces the concept that this worldview requires a peculiar context in order to be true. In this context, the full consequence and truth of particular information, as borne out in the mind, body, and spirit of human beings through a span of time, is shielded from us. When he taught, Jesus was careful to lay out spiritual laws basic to human experience as it is in the timeline that God has allowed for it. Two major and inter-related laws, for example, are the laws of “sowing and reaping”, and “knowing a tree by its fruit”. Both laws suggest that the ultimate end of a thing, whether thought or deed, is borne out in the complex of mind-body-soul negotiation through time. A judgement or opinion you form when you are 15 bears fruit in maturity much later, say, when you are 30, and only then can you know in fullness what the quality of the judgement or opinion truly was. It’s not new to say that, in this culture, as entertainment and information continue their weird alliance, truth has become increasingly obscure. In the past, information at times has brought news of the truth that we could recognize, but now there are completely different rules. Now we are accustomed to judging truth by statements of truth. This age of information at its heart seeks not to relay any piece of the truth, but only a novel statement. We have not been brought to this point suddenly or arbitrarily, but unavoidably, by hopeless theorizing and a total disconnect from the source of life, severance from the deep history of mankind, that is, the past record of God’s dealings with men.
PREMATURITY AND THE IMMATURE
This is the age of the rhetorician, where the cheapening of truth has transformed revelation into a matter of style. Or, to put it a different way, the rules of truth-telling have changed in such a way that everyone agrees that in this war of competing worldviews, the winner is the one that is most appealing on its surface. And inevitably, you watch, the winner places the human self at the center. For it is a matter of tacit understanding that all views are equally true or untrue, and failing some objective means by which to judge the thing on its own for what it is, the human aborts the reasoning process and seeks only to gratify himself.
Such a thorough twisting of reality is only possible in an age where summary statements of experience outpace the living of them. We are babies and ignorants aping the language of the old and wise. Christians, we are also part of the culture and not immune. Think to yourself: how many times have you come up to an experience in God, and instead of actually experiencing whatever thing has crossed your path, merely drawn the lesson you think you would have learned from it and then walked away? There is no such thing as church history as distinct from world history or vice-versa: there is only the sweep of the Lord God as he orchestrates human history to its invevitable end, and waves thereof in the distinct cultures. What plagues the consumer public in the United States of America plagues the Christians therein, and what plagues us all is this: the insistent cheapening of life in all forms, a timidity forced on the people, and an absence of light. We are treated to prophets of no experience and revelation born without suffering. Where is the high cost, the proof of the value of truth? Where are those willing to first wager their lives on their conclusions before blurting them out in the marketplace?