I love music, but I do not like the radio. I, like so many others, adore my iPod. I am extremely picky with what music I listen to, so radio stations and sites tend to not work with me. Most people (in my generation) don’t really listen to the radio as much anymore (unless you count Pandora as ‘radio’ as well). A friend of mine recently made a great point about why iPods and the like are superior: radio stations find the most amazing songs everyone is listening to and kills them in about a week. Then nobody wants to hear them anymore. Exactly! Plus iPods are just delicious (in the musical sense, of course)…
With our own computers and iPods and iPhones we can use tools like iTunes, Pandora, YouTube, and even radio stations to hone in on the songs we like. And that’s what we do. It’s nice, because instead of listening to a bunch of random songs where you only enjoy one or two, you can make playlists or online radio mixes with a bunch of songs you generally like with that special single you’ll put on repeat. And we keep downloading or streaming those singles we really enjoy. We listen to them throughout the week until they sound like a Sylvester Stallone movie, then we download one or two more different ones. The cycle continues, but, like the guy who bought Diamond Chex thinking they looked different than regular Chex, if we stop to think about it we are basically doing exactly what the radio station does. The only difference between a professional DJ and a personal DJ (you), is control. And maybe salary.
We are funny creatures. Our technological culture has given us the ability to individualize everything, which means we want control at all levels possible. But if you ask someone if you can trust ‘people out there,’ any rational person who knows anything about intentions and history will say ‘no’ or at least not most of the time. What’s odd is that we justify our need for control, deeming ourselves a trustworthy human amidst all the other untrustworthy ones. That sounds a bit circular in logic. But how ridiculous! Of course I know myself better than anyone, and so each of us would say in our minds. Why, then, do we spend a good chunk of our lives either searching for who we are or what our purpose for simply existing is?
What a confusing conundrum we have here. I think it’s safe to say we don’t have it all together, though we like to grasp control over our possessions and life in an effort to do it our way (which implies we do have it all together). That’s not really what God has in mind for you. In fact, there were Jews during Biblical times who thought they had it all together, too. They thought they had all of the Old Testament laws and commandments figured out. These guys were the Pharisees, and they ended up directly murdering the Guy we Christians call Jesus Christ. During his time here on earth, Jesus actually called the Pharisees blind leaders (Matthew 15:14) and evil (Matthew 12:34), amongst many other things. Again, the sort of thinking exemplified by the Pharisees was not what God has in mind for humans. What God has in mind is for his kids to get our joy and fulfillment from him, not some cool gadget we can customize our background on.
If you are unfamiliar with the Gospel, Jesus resurrected three days after his death on the cross. By rising from the dead, Jesus established that he is God. If death’s power was something he annihilated, then he obviously has everything under control and has a much better grasp on reality than we ever will. Afterall, he is the reason we have faith. God is not some deistic being that sits high-in-the-sky, just watching us Americans do our thing without him. He came into human history as the man Jesus Christ to show us what it truly means to live. See below, and trust Jesus with your life.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2.