Sensationalism. You gotta love it right?
Today I got to see “Six Life-Saving Coin Hacks!” which consisted of using a quarter as a screwdriver and as a means to secure one’s skirt while riding a bike. Thank goodness, my life is saved. I also was informed that the recipe for cheese-stuffed something or other was, and I quote, “all that was right in the world.” Which was very helpful since I was wondering exactly what all was right in the world.
These ridiculous claims reminded me of a time when my oldest was much younger. Her dad had gone downstairs to use the treadmill and told her not to interrupt his run unless it was very, very important. About 10 minutes in, she came running down the steps, phone in hand, a look of urgency on her face, yelling up a storm. Quickly, he stopped the treadmill only to hear her say, “It’s really, really important Daddy! We may have won a CRUISE!”
Whenever I see these hyped up ads (or fake news stories, as the case may be), I can’t help but shake my head and think, “What are these people thinking?”
And then…then I see the number of likes, shares, clicks and reactions, often numbering in the thousands. Thousands of people read an article that claimed to contain “THE” newly-discovered and unbelievably easy path to permanent weight loss. Thousands reacted to and “clicked Next to find out” what caused that unbelievable sore on a person’s cheek.
So, what are these people thinking? They are thinking that sensationalism works. That for some reason we are drawn to these ridiculous claims and unbelievable manipulation like a moth to a flame. And they are right. Even the New York Times had an article about it this morning (and I was writing mine before they wrote theirs 😉 ).
Now the bigger questions is “Why?” Why does this work?
I truly think the answer is that it’s simply because we were created by God to believe. We were gifted by our Creator with an imagination, the desire to dream, the gift of faith and innately, deep inside all of us, is the compulsion to believe. The Catholic Church, in their catechism, puts it this way: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.”
We were made to experience more…so we look for it!
And children, bless their hearts, live for it!
Watch a child play. Listen to their stories. Tell them they may have won a cruise or mermaids live around the corner. They are full-fledged bought in to life! And their spirits soar when they learn a new thing or experience a new reality.
But we get older, and we “know better”, and our spirits soar less often. I saw an illusionist recently who put it this way: “I used to do shows and people would say ‘Wow!’; now people just grab their phones and say ‘How?'” Our imagination is jaded. Our belief is held at bay. But somewhere, deep inside of us, we still wonder…and that is why thousands click on sensational links…because they are still looking for more.
Is it any wonder than that Jesus, when asked about the kingdom of God, says this:
Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me. – Mt. 18:3-5
And here’s the thing – the kicker – WE HAVE THE TRUTH!
It’s not sensationalism. It is reality. We have the most incredible, most amazing, most outstanding truth, that is beyond our wildest imaginations and deepest dreams, that is without depth and without end….and we couch it in dry lessons and boring devotions and wonder why our children can’t / don’t engage (and why it’s a pretty common thing to see adults nodding off in church on Sunday morning).
Honestly, we need to just proclaim it. Talk about it. Magnify (make bigger) the Lord! Talk about it when we sit and home and when we walk along the road, when we lay down and when we rise. We need to sit under stars and dream about our great big God. We need to let the Scriptures well up inside of us and share them with each other is all forms of songs, hymns, and spiritual songs, making music in our hearts, worshiping our unfathomable Creator.
Like David, we need to say:
I’m ready, God, so ready; ready from head to toe, Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune: “Wake up, soul! Wake up, harp! Wake up, lute! Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!” I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness. (Ps. 57:7-10, MSG)
Because, all sensationalism aside, we really do have the life-saving truth that truly is all that is right in the world.
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About this Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family and Seedbed