My wife and I had a week off and we weren’t sure where we wanted to go. I looked at cheap flights but couldn’t find any that were cheap enough to suit me. So, we looked closer to a home, something within a three or four hundred miles radius, a place where we could get outdoors and do some hiking.
We finally settled on a place in the Appalachians, a university town with state parks surrounding it. Then I looked at the weather forecast: five straight days of rain. So, we started looking again.
On the day we were set to leave, we still had “no particular place to go.” (You need to be at least as old as me for that line to resonate. If it’s like, “ringing a bell” with you, let me know.) We followed the better weather, started south, and spent the night outside of Louisville.
We ended up hiking in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and in various state parks around Kentucky. But that meant we moved from place to place, staying in hotels that were near to hikes.
We weren’t staying in the Hyatt Regency either, but in Comfort Suites or the like. That meant there was free breakfast (did I mention that I am cheap), and each morning in the breakfast room FOX news was playing. I have seen very little cable news in my life, but for fifteen minutes each day I sat ten feet from a TV and couldn’t help but hear the broadcast.
A disclaimer: I characterize myself as a conservative (though I realize that not everyone would), but I was aghast by what I saw. The morning “news” was not news in any real sense; it was propaganda. A statistic or fact would be stated (for example, the number of would-be immigrants at the border) followed by five minutes or more that were dedicated to the goal of making the current administration look bad and hurt its party’s prospects in the next election cycle.
I said that I have spent very little time watching cable news, but five years ago I was in cardiac rehab and spent time on a treadmill in front of a television on which MSNBC “news” was always playing. It was the same kind of thing – propaganda – for the same kind of purpose.
I am telling all you this because of how much it disturbed me. I know that there are followers of Jesus who spend more time with FOX News and MSNBC than they do listening to the words of Jesus and his apostles. They are choosing to be discipled by the wrong master.
I said that I characterize myself as a conservative, but I know and love Christians who would characterize themselves as liberals, and I am saying this to anyone, conservative or liberal, who will listen: It is a mistake to spend more time with “news” media – FOX, MSNBS, PBS, NPR, CNN or whatever – than you spend with your Bible. If you are going to be discipled, be discipled to Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20), not to people who want to use you for their own ends.
If you spend five minutes a day with your Bible, spend less than five minutes with news media. If you spend an hour a day with your Bible, spend less than that – half of that – with news media. Mind your mind and the information you take into it. Otherwise, you will never “have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).